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Home Buying Basics Step 4: You’re Under Contract? Now, What?

First of all, congrats, you have come so far! There was the pre-approval for a mortgage, you found your agent, you shopped for your dream home, and now you are officially “Under Contract”. But what does that really mean? When a home is active and under contract, it means that a buyer has made an offer on a home and the seller has accepted the offer, but the sale is not yet final. The time between now and closing day is crucial for you as the homebuyer as this is the time to do your due diligence.

While the home is under contract, there is a list of items that must all be met before anything is finalized. You, the homebuyer, must secure financing, insurance, complete a home inspection, and more! This may seem like a lot to tackle in a short amount of time, but we are here to provide you with an overview of the 10 steps to take after going under contract. 

Under Contract to Close in 10 Steps

  1. Contact your agent.

Great, your offer is accepted! Your agent will contact you regarding the next steps and recommendations for who to call for everything on your list. Your agent will be your right-hand during this time as they can make your next steps easier by offering you recommendations on lenders, inspectors, attorneys, insurance agents, contractors, and more.

2. Complete your mortgage application & send necessary documents to your lender.

Depending on whether or not you are financing your home, one of your first few steps would be to complete your mortgage application. Also, you will need to get all necessary documents to your lender as they will need to give you the final ‘okay’ to close. Your lender should provide you a list of documents that they may need, including W2’s and other tax-related items to verify your income.

3. Set an official closing date with your attorney.

In some places, there will be a specific closing date in your contract, but in others there may be language like “on or about” when describing the closing date. Whatever the situation may be where you live, it is very important to confirm an exact date with your attorney to ensure that they have time on that day to finalize everything. Also, your attorney will need advance notice of the specific date in order to prepare their forms ahead of time.

4. Schedule the home inspection.

You may think the home you bought is perfect in every way, but that does not mean you should skip the inspection. Home inspections can shed light on issues that may have been overlooked and need to be addressed before signing on the dotted line. Some things to look out for are issues with the foundation, roof, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and more. We encourage you to schedule a home inspection sooner rather than later so that there is plenty of time to conduct a thorough inspection and make any necessary updates.

5. Get some quotes on homeowner’s insurance.

Now that you are under contract, you may proceed with shopping around for homeowner’s insurance. It is important to find an insurance agent that you work well with and an insurance plan that covers everything you need it to. We recommend getting quotes from a few providers as there are a variety of factors that may affect your monthly payment. Once you accept a quote, it is important to forward this information to your lender as you may have to pay the annual premium at closing.

6. Sign any necessary loan documents.

Typically, your lender will send over several pre-closing documents for you to review and sign. Definitely review these documents in-depth as you will need to make any notes or changes prior to closing day.

7. After inspection, appraisal comes next.

Getting your home appraised is an important item to accomplish during the due diligence period. The home appraisal is the bank’s way of figuring out if the amount of money they are lending to you is more or less than the value of your home, and that you are not over-paying for something. Appraisals may take 1 to 2 weeks on average to get back, but your lender should send you a copy of the appraisal for your records once it’s completed.

8. Set-up the utilities.

Several days before closing, you should make the necessary utility arrangements. We would recommend contacting the listing agent to see who the current providers are for the property, then you can decide if you would just like to transfer or search for new providers. Utilities that may need to be turned on include electricity, gas, water, cable, internet, phone, etc.

9. Get documents and funds in order.

Closing day is just around the corner, so now it is time to make the last-minute preparations as far as gathering documents and preparing funds. Your closing attorney will inform you of what to bring to the closing and how much money will need to be wired to the designated attorney. Be sure to transfer said funds within 24-48 hours of the closing day to ensure everything goes smoothly and confirm with all parties once the transfer has been made.

10. Time to Close!

It’s finally here – Closing Day! Be prepared to sign all of the closing documents, finalize any outstanding items and receive your keys. Congratulations you are officially the owner of your new home.

Stay tuned for the next post in our Home Buying Series, Move-In Day!

Are you ready to make a move in or out of the Charlotte, NC area? Contact your preferred Dickens Mitchener agent today. If you don’t already have an agent, our Director of Relocation Catharine Pappas can pair with you one to get started on your homebuying journey. Contact her at 704.661.2402.