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Lacy Williams
REALTOR®, CSP, MRP, CLHMS, Associate Broker
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What To Do Between Contract and Closing


Once you have signed a contract to purchase a new home, there are several steps that need to happen between the contract and closing:

  1. CLOSING ATTORNEY: You should choose a closing attorney if you did not already do this when your agent wrote the contract. Your Realtor can give you a recommendation. I recommend that you use an attorney whose specialty is real estate. Once you let us know who your attorney is, your Realtor will email the attorney’s office all of the necessary paperwork.
  2. CONTRACT CONTINGENCIES: The normal contract has three contingencies: your loan, the appraisal, and the inspection. Each of these contingencies is described below.
  3. LOAN: Your preapproval letter does not require you to use that lender for your mortgage. The contract specifies that you must apply for your loan within 7 days from contract acceptance. This means that you shop for your lender, choose your lender, and pay whatever loan application fee they charge and sign the paperwork within 7 days. It is important to have a lender that is easy to reach and that has a track record of closing on time. Your lender will require a great deal of paperwork from you. Please make sure that you respond to your lender quickly. Your Realtor can recommend a lender that is easy to work with. I recommend Movement Mortgage ( as they can close a loan from start-to-finish in 7 days and they are easy to work with. Contact at Movement Mortgage is the following:

    Laura Stevens, Movement Mortgage

  4. APPRAISAL: Your lender will order an appraisal. The appraiser will contact the listing agent and arrange to meet the listing agent at the house. If the appraised value is less than the contract amount, The contract gives you a chance to renegotiate the price but the Seller is not required to lower the price. If you wish to request a price reduction, you must notify the Seller in writing within 5 days of receiving the appraisal. If you and the Seller do not come to agreement in a certain number of days specified in the contract, either party can void the contract. If the appraised value is less than the contract price, you can still purchase the house but the lender will only lend you an amount based on the appraised value. For example, if the contract amount is $110,000 and the house appraises for $100,000 and if you are putting 20% down, the lender will lend you 80% of $100,000 or $80,000 and your downpayment must be 20% of the $100,000 ($20,000) plus the additional $10,000, which is the difference between the contract amount and the appraisal. In this scenario, your total downpayment would be $30,000.
  5. INSPECTION: Your Realtor will schedule the inspections for you and you will pay for all inspections (except the termite which is described below) at the time they are done. The contract specifies a certain number of days to complete the inspection and give the Seller an addendum requesting repairs or credits or both. The inspector will find many things with the house especially with an older house. The repair and/or credit requests should include major items that are structural, health or safety issues. I recommend that you start with a whole house inspection. You may also have roof, chimney, HVAC, structural and other inspections. I recommend that you do a radon inspection as we do have radon in the greater Richmond area. Once we have done the inspections and have the reports from the contractors, Your Realtor will work with you on the inspection addendum requesting the repairs or credits.
  6. TERMITE INSPECTION: The Seller will arrange and pay for the termite inspection. The termite inspection must be within 30 days of closing. Any active termites must be treated by the Seller.
  7. ASSOCIATION DOCUMENTS: If you are buying a condo or a home in a newer subdivision, there are Association documents that specify what you can and cannot do. These documents also have association budgets and dues information. The Seller will deliver a current copy of the documents to the Buyer. Once this is delivered, VA law gives the Buyer a certain number of days to review the documents. If there is something that the Buyer does not like, the Buyer can rescind the contract and receive a refund of escrow deposit and obtain a Release of the Contract. The number of days for the review is as follows:

    a. New Condominium Projects: 10 day review period
    b. Condominium Resale: 3 day review period
    c. House Resale: 3 day review period

    Please make sure to read through the documents thoroughly and call your Realtor if you have any questions.
  8. UTILITIES: You should connect all utilities on the date of closing. Utility phone numbers are included below. If your new house has oil heat, the Seller will get an oil company to measure the amount of oil in the tank and you will pay the Seller for the prorated oil as part of your closing costs. In the city of Richmond, trash pickup is included in your taxes. But in the counties, the homeowner arranges for private trash pickup. In the counties, it is usually best to contact your neighbors and find out who they are using as many private companies only work in certain areas.
  9. REPAIRS: If the inspection addendum specifies that the Seller will do repairs, the Seller should give the Buyer invoices for repairs performed by contractors prior to closing.
  10. INSURANCE: You will need to get insurance for your new home and get the closing attorney the information including the policy number. Your Realtor can give you recommendations on insurance companies.
  11. WALKTHRU: You should schedule a walkthrough with your Realtor before closing, usually the night before closing. The purpose of the walkthrough is to make sure the Sellers have removed all of their belongings from the house and to make sure that there are no obvious things that have broken since the inspection.
  12. DOWNPAYMENT: Your lender can tell you what you will owe at closing. You will receive a credit for the escrow deposit that you made at the time of contract. You will need to either wire the money prior to closing or bring a cashiers check made out to the closing attorney. If the lender is unable to tell you the exact amount in time, get a check for the amount of the latest estimate that the lender has given you.
  13. CLOSING: You should schedule a time for closing at the attorney’s office. You will need to be present at closing and bring your ID or other form of identification. If you are not able to be present at closing, you may set up a Power of Attorney for someone to do the closing for you. Be sure to contact the attorney weeks in advance if you need to do this.
  14. QUESTIONS: Please let Your Realtor know if you have any questions about anything.

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Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 10/01/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 10/01/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of CVRMLS (last updated Sat 10/01/2022 1:07:48 AM EST) or Bright MLS (last updated Sat 10/01/2022 12:54:25 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Joyner Fine Properties may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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