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You’ve almost reached the finish line: closing day for your new home. Finally, there’s relief in sight! If you’re like most military families, it was a long journey to find your new house, pack up the old one, and make the PCS transition to your new duty station. After closing, you’ll undoubtedly feel a burden lift, but you’ll also have some anxious feelings about getting to know your new neighborhood.
Read along to help you navigate closing day and learn how to feel comfortable fitting into your new community.
Review Your Property and Documents
About 24 hours before your closing date, you and your agent will walk through the property and note anything that needs attention according to the sale contract. If all is well, your closing can go ahead, but if there are issues, it may be delayed. Your agent should also ask if you have any final questions and ensure you have the appropriate documents available for your upcoming closing appointment.
Use this resource for your review: Home Buyer Walk-Through Checklist.
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Pre-Plan for a Remote Closing
Depending on many circumstances, including COVID regulations, deployments, an OCONUS location, and more, you could manage closing from afar. But, you’ll need a team of pros that can handle the additional skills required for virtual meetings, e-signatures, scheduling, and general tech-savvy. Talk to your real estate agent to see if your closing should be done in person or managed remotely.
What to Expect on Closing Day
On closing day, depending on your state, you and some combination of real estate agents, attorneys, lender representatives, and the title company will be in attendance, especially if you have a traditional closing meeting.
There is an abundance of documents to read and sign. Keep in mind the transfer of property ownership is a detailed process, and sometimes the meeting can run long. It’s probably not a lunch hour kind of errand. And, if you have closing costs to pay for, today is the day, so come with wire transfer proof or cashiers’ checks. Personal checks cover small unforeseen payments.
You’ll also need:
- Photo ID with the person’s name going on the title and mortgage
- Copy of homeowners insurance
- Copy of the sale contract
- Home inspection reports
- Financial documents relating to your loan
When every document has been signed and every expense paid, you’ll receive the keys to your new home.
Possible Closing Complications
To save yourself some angst, expect that there will be a few hiccups. Hopefully, big financial problems were uncovered by now, and unwanted surprises like a complicated title search were fixed already, but there could be minor problems like misspellings on documents, someone’s unexpected illness, or an accident that forces everyone to reschedule.
More Reasons Closings Are Delayed
If closing day didn’t already have i’s to dot and t’s to cross, you might encounter some unexpected bumps in the road.
- The seller owes fees or fines to their Homeowners Association.
- A homeowner in foreclosure.
- A self-employed buyer whose lender wants more financial information or a bigger down payment.
- Staffing issues at any of the related offices.
- Military life hiccups.
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Make the Most of Move-In Day
You may feel as excited as a kid at Christmas when you arrive at your new address and open the door to your very own house. After a victory twirl in an empty room, dance your way through this important checklist.
- Make a copy of your closing documents. The original copy of your important paperwork could be tucked in a safety deposit box at your bank. Meanwhile, file the copy you’ve made with other important papers in your home.
- Change the locks. For your safety, it’s a good idea to replace the door locks and update the garage door and alarm entry codes. You can’t know who else has an extra set of keys from the previous owner.
- Plan where you’d like to add updates. Before your household goods arrive, think about any paint color changes you’d prefer. While you have a blank canvas to work with, measure your windows for curtains and your walls for décor. This is also a good time to switch out any outdated light fixtures.
- Schedule a deep clean. If you’d like your bathrooms sanitized and your kitchen daisy fresh, it could be worth your while to hire a cleaning company.
- Update your contact information. Now that the home is yours, you can submit a change of address with the postal service form. Also, you’ll probably need to alert your employer and any other important businesses.
- Last but certainly not least, update all of your online delivery companies with your new address. There’s nothing worse than hunting for a package delivered to your old address.
Need home decorating inspiration? Check out Easy DIY Kitchen and Bathroom Updates.
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Settling Into Your New Home
Like most military families, as soon as you land in the neighborhood, your kids will most likely canvas the area searching for friends to play with! Even if you’re not the most outgoing person, it’s good to check in with your new neighbors, especially before your dog runs into their yard or your enormous moving van clogs up the street.
Sometimes a PCS (especially your first PCS move) and a new house intensify the upended feelings you and your family experience, which can make fitting into your new neighborhood a challenge. Give yourself some time and breathing space, and when you’re ready, use these tried and true techniques for getting to know your community.
Exercise Your Mind and Body
- Find a new gym.
- Meet up with a running or walking club.
- Try a child-friendly stroller exercise class.
- Investigate local churches and their groups like Bible studies, men’s and women’s groups, and even yoga.
Network at Work
- Chat up office mates.
- Attend happy hour outings.
- Sign up for industry-related conferences and classes
Use Base Amenities
- Try youth and adult sports.
- Sign up for your base’s Youth Sponsorship program or similar “Buddy” or “Mentor” programs.
- Visit base parks and recreation services.
- Check out books from the library and sit in on their reading times for kids.
Take Your Child's Lead
- Join or volunteer youth groups
- Hold a neighborhood lemonade stand for charity.
- Bake treats together and drive the "reverse welcome wagon" by delivering treats to your new neighbors.
If you think about it, closing day is really an opening day to your new life post-PCS move. There are plenty of good times ahead! By preparing for closing day activities and communicating with your real estate agent, you’ll have the confidence it takes to get through the last steps of your transaction. After that, you can focus on making your new house a home and your next neighborhood your new village.
Get more information on making an offer on a home and closing day with our free guide below.