Do You Get The Keys to the House at Closing?

Buyers often wonder: “Do you get the keys to the house at closing?” You signed all the paperwork. So, you get the keys right away, right?

Not so fast. Signing your documents is just one part of a closing.

The Road to Homeownership

You save for years to buy your dream home.  Finally, you have enough to make a down payment on a loan.

So, you start looking for your dream home. You wander through too many houses to even count.  All of the layouts, floor plans, landscaping, architectural designs have all blurred into one.  Yet you still can’t find your dream home.

Discouragement sets in. You start to think, “hey, maybe this apartment living is not such a bad idea” Wild thoughts such as “maybe my parents will let me move into the basement. After all – I’m sure my wife will not mind sharing a bathroom with my dad.” start to creep in your head. You feel like you will never find your dream home.

The Dream is Realized

Then, just when all hope seems lost, there it is – your dream home!  This home has everything you wanted.  The house is perfect, in great shape and in an excellent location.  You love it, your wife loves it.  Even your dog loves the big backyard.  And, wait for it, the best part is, the house is in your price range!  And, even better, the sellers are very motivated to sell.

So, you make an offer. The Seller accepts your offer.  Yes!  Fist pump in the air!

Your lender approves your loan. You find a real estate closing attorney. A closing date is set. 

Life is great! Soon, you will be a home owner!

Closing Day

The night before the closing, you and your wife cannot sleep. You are so excited about your new home. So, you toss and turn, dreaming about how you will decorate your new home. Oh, the parties you will host!

You both get up early, go have a celebratory breakfast and show up at the closing attorney’s office fifteen minutes early.   When the closing attorney asks if you want coffee, you are both too excited to drink anything.  All you want to do is sign and get those keys.

You go into the closing attorney’s conference room.  You patiently listen to the closing attorney’s explanations. All the while, you are silently thinking, come on, let’s get to the signing part.  You sign what feels like a million documents.  The closing attorney congratulates you two. Your real estate agent congratulates you. Why even the office staff congratulates you both. Everyone is so happy!

Where are my Keys?

This is great you are thinking.  But, then, you ask “so where are the keys?” 

Imagine your surprise when you are told that you cannot have the keys until the deed is recorded and the loan proceeds have been disbursed.  “But I have the moving truck out front! Bubba and Bobby from We Can Move You Now are waiting!  What are we going to do while we wait for a couple of hours for the deed to record?” you sputter.

Your real estate agent smilingly suggests you go have lunch.  “But, we’re paying Bubba & Bobby by the hour.  They are waiting outside,” you gasp.  Your real estate says “I know, you can take them to lunch too, while you are waiting.” 

The Closing Reality

All too often buyers are shocked to learn that they may not automatically receive the keys to their new house once they sign all the closing documents.  You see, signing the documents is just one part of the closing process.

A closing attorney has to make sure the Seller has signed his or her documents. The attorney then makes sure the Buyer has signed all of the necessary closing documents.

Next, the closing attorney must make sure all necessary funds have been deposited in the Trust Account.

Then, the attorney must submit the Deed and Deed of Trust to the appropriate county register’s office for recording. The recording process can take a few minutes up to several hours.

Once the attorney receives confirmation that the documents have recorded, the attorney next needs to issue out checks. The closing attorney must make all necessary payments. Then, you receive the keys. You, Bubba and Bobby can start moving into your new home.

“Key” Takeaways

So, before you line up that moving truck, talk to your real estate agent and closing attorney about when you will be receiving the keys.  Granted, unless you are closing after the Register of Deeds has closed for the day, you should realistically get your keys the same day as closing day.  However, it may be a couple of hours after you have signed before the Register of Deeds records the Deed giving you possession of the house.  So, you may want to give yourself a day or two after closing before moving into your dream home.