Blocks & Lots

What happens at a real estate closing?

The fact that there is a closing means that all of the hard work has been done. The lender has approved a loan, assuming there is a loan. If there’s no loan and the purchase is all cash then the process is even more straight forward as there will be fewer documents to sign. The closing is the time for your attorney to shine or the notary to earn their money. Here’s what to expect:


As a buyer, your job is to sign the documents that are presented in front of you. Expect a deluge of paperwork and your hand to ache. These will all relate to the sale of the home and the mortgage. Your attorney or the notary will explain what they all are as you sign them. Reading everything at the closing can be overwhelming and extremely time-consuming. The documents are usually e-mailed to you prior to the closing to review anyway. 

Settlement Sheet

The Closing Disclosure (also known as the Settlement Sheet or HUD 1) should have been prepared a day or two before closing. It will give an itemized account of the closing costs and the money that the buyer has to bring to the closing and the amount being disbursed to the seller. Last-minute items such as the water and sewer bill pay off are often added on the day of the closing which can change the numbers slightly.


The property title is signed over from the seller to the buyer, transferring ownership. This is accomplished by the buyer and seller both signing the deed. It is not necessary for two parties to be in the room at the same time. The main documents will include:

  • Property deed
  • Bill of sale
  • Transfer tax declaration
  • Mortgage agreement and note
  • Closing disclosure (this details all the financial details of the transaction)

Who will be there?

Those present at closing in New York will usually be both the buyer and seller’s attorneys and the title agent representing the bank. Often a buyer and seller’s sales agent(s) will also be present or show up towards the end to collect their commission checks.


  • If there is a mortgage, the bank’s title agent would have issued a check either to your attorney’s escrow account or will present it directly at the closing table. If there is no mortgage, then the buyer is expected to bring a cashier’s check for the difference after the down payment.
  • The seller will receive any proceeds earned from the sale once the existing liens have been paid.
  • The sales agents will collect their commission checks
  • The attorney’s fees will be paid

What happens at the end of a closing?

Usually, the new owner is given their keys. Their attorney’s office will agree to e-mail over all the signed documents or mail a hard copy or both. The attorney’s office will agree to file the deed with the city, registering the sale and new ownership of the property.