From Contract to Closing. Buying Your Alexandria VA Home Part I: Paperwork
When all of the terms of your offer have been accepted and all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted, then the contract is considered ratified.
The date of ratification is very important because it is when all of your time frames begin. As your Alexandria VA buyers’ agent, I will provide you with a timeline once we are ratified so that you will know what we have to accomplish and when.
Missing a deadline is never a good thing and can have serious consequences, so one of my most important jobs is making sure all the moving parts stay on track and we hit all of our target dates.
Once you go under contract, several things start to happen simultaneously, so be prepared for a flurry of initial activity. It won’t be this way all the way to closing, but be prepared for requests for paperwork and documents throughout the process – and be prepared to respond quickly in order not to delay settlement.
One of the most important things to determine at the very beginning is how and when you and your agent are going to communicate as well as submit paperwork once you are under contract.
The paperwork does not end with ratification; there will be paperwork associated with the home inspection, financing, appraisal and, if applicable, the termite inspection. There are a number of situations that may arise necessitating the execution of an addendum.
There are many ways to handle paperwork and we can discuss what is the most efficient for you:
- Electronic signature software (I use DocuSign, which is extremely user friendly) can be a flexible time saver if you are comfortable signing documents this way;
- Faxing documents is also an option, although if an offer goes back and forth via fax too many times, it becomes illegible so a clean copy may need to be rewritten at some point;
- Scanning and emailing is great if you have a scanner and are proficient at using it.
- If you don’t have a computer or access to a scanner or fax machine, then you may want to scope out the closest Kinkos or Office Max location, where for just a few dollars, you can send and receive faxes.
The important thing to note is time is of the essence when we are in the process of executing the contract, so be sure to give some thought as to what works best for you in terms of sending and receiving paperwork so you will be prepared to respond quickly when it becomes necessary.
At the same time, your lender will be burying you in requests for documents such as:
- tax returns, W2s, pay stubs
- copies of leases if you own rental property
- bank statements (and this is a continuing request as they may need to be updated during the process)
- asset statements for investments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds
- asset statements for retirement accounts, such as IRAs, 401Ks, TSPs
- gift letters if you are receiving money toward the transaction that will not have to be repaid
- any other information he or she needs to get your loan underwritten
Responding to your lender in a timely fashion is also critical, so you will need to be prepared with paperwork easily accessible, but you will also need a way to get the documentation to the lender.
From Contract to Closing Your Alexandria VA Home. Part I: Paperwork