Closing is the final step in a real estate transaction. When a sale closes, escrow pays all fees, costs, taxes (pro-rated through the closing date) and liens against the property; records the deed from the seller to the buyer; and releases the balance of the buyer’s funds to the seller. Upon closing (technically, upon receipt of recording numbers showing that the deed and any deed of trust have been recorded) the buyer is the new owner, likely protected by a policy of title insurance.
Worried about your schedule on the closing date? Don’t be, at least here in WA! The process differs around the country, but in the Pacific Northwest you’ll actually make an appointment and sign your documents a few days before the actual closing date.
If you have a lawyer on board, you’ll get a copy of your closing documents a day or two before you have to sign them. This gives you the chance to review and get any questions answered. While the documents are generally form and non-negotiable, it’s always a good idea to read and understand a legal document before signing it. For sellers, you’ll have to review a couple dozen pages; for buyers, it can be well above 100 pages. Having an attorney on board can be a real help.