You are right that most closings have some glitch. It can be something as simple as not having sufficient copies of a document, which is easily fixed. On the other hand, the problems at the closing can be so serious that the house is not sold, the mortgage not signed, and in the worst scenarios, the buyer and seller head into court.
There is no way to eliminate all problems, but buyers can protect themselves by doing a few things.
• Hire a real estate attorney to handle the closing. A buyer’s attorney prepares the buyer for the closing, reviews and explains documents, is at the closing to advise the buyer about the seriousness of any problem, and can sometimes resolve the problems on the spot.
• Follow instructions about what you should bring to the closing to the letter. If you are asked to bring a certain document, make sure you have it with you for the closing. Do not wait until the night before closing to gather all the documents you need to bring.
• Follow exactly the instructions for the amount of money you should bring and the form it should be in. If you are required to bring a cashier’s check, do not think you can substitute a personal check. This is a very common problem that can stop a closing until the buyer obtains the proper form of funds.
• Expect delays at the closing. It is a rare closing that does not go longer than the length of time allotted. Do not schedule other appointments on the closing day. Take the entire day off work to deal with the closing and your new home.
• Ask if you can get the closing in the morning on any day except Friday or the day just before a holiday. This is insurance for those problems that require more time to resolve. A morning closing allows the rest of the afternoon to fix the problem. A closing during the week gives you the next day to fix the problem.
• Do not schedule your movers for closing day. It is very costly to the buyer to have that 18-wheeler full of belongings idling outside his or her new home for hours while closing problems are dealt with.