• Tales of a Hoboken Homeowner {Part III}: Closing Is For the Birds

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    I hope that the titles of these posts don’t deter you from buying a home. If they do, you really need to get your priorities straight…because you shouldn’t be taking my word thaaaat seriously.

    Anyway, some of these things really do suck, so I thought I should be honest about them instead of sugar coating them {which is how I imagine motherhood to be at times — not all snuggles and cute Facebook pics — there’s a grocery store meltdown in there from time to time}.

     

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    After going through the closing process, I must say we survived to tell the tale. Our closing process was a bit longer than we would have wanted, but at least it happened.

     

    Here are some of the things that go into the process and food for thought:

    Home Inspection. You should always be there when the home inspection is going on. It’s great to mention any concerns to the home inspector {things like vermin worries or a loose pipe or leak, etc} so he can look through the apartment and confirm or deny your worries. We had a relatively clean bill of “health” for our building, which was comforting…but if it’s not clean, you are allowed to either make the seller fix it or GTFO {I’ll let you decipher what that means}.

     

    Work Being Done on the Building. Make sure that the seller is willing to pay for it. Don’t budge on that. You don’t want to get financially roped into something that could hold you hostage from taking your next vacation or buying a new couch because you didn’t stand strong. Our building was having a bit of work done while we were going through the closing process, and we refused to go through with the closing unless we were assured {in writing} that there was no money owed by us besides what the seller was paying the management company for ongoing maintenance items.

     

    Appraisal. This is done by your mortgage lender to make sure your property is worth about what you’re buying it for {and for how much they’re lending you}. If there’s a major price discrepancy {on either end — too high or too low}, it’s cause for discussion and a potential pull out of the process. Usually, however, the appraisal comes in right at the amount that you’re buying the property for {ex: our appraisal was literally $1000 more dollars than what we were paying for it}, which is kind of hilarious to me….I feel like in 2002, this property was NOT worth that. It just moves with the market, and from what I can see {from knowing some real estate appraisers and hearing how it works}, it seems to be “conveniently” right around the amount that you’re buying it for. Just sayin’.

     

    Liens on the Property.

    Before you buy a home, you must make sure that no one else has ANY stake in the property. Your lawyer usually does this- he will order a title search, and the title search will show if anyone else has tabs on the property. Not sure if you knew this, but Hoboken was once an island, with water around all four sides of the city. My lawyer explained to me {in lots of legal jargon} that there is sometimes a “Tidal” Lien {I may totally be screwing this up, correct me if so} that they have to work out before closing. This happened with our property, but luckily it was a quick fix that the lawyers handled. Phew.

     

    Lender Woes.

    Let’s face it, it’s a lot of work to get a mortgage. I would say that I spent about 10 hours (minimum) getting documents, statements, and signed letters together. My fiance even had to write a signed letter about why his first name is not what it says on his credit cards {he goes by his middle name}. I had to write one as to why he gave me a certain amount of money {which was actually rent check reimbursement} in November and show the actual check and statement. I would say about 5-10 signed letters later, we were good to go. Just know, it’s a PAIN. Make sure you have patience, and try to get all of your accounts in order several months beforehand.

    Ca$h Money Issues.

    Newsflash: You won’t know the exact amount you’ll owe at closing until 12-24 hours beforehand. Major tip: GET ALL YOUR MONEY IN 1-2 PLACES BEFORE THAT TIME {but consult your mortgage lender first so they know what is happening – they are very strict about this}.

     

     Set a date. Once closing docs are in place, the appraisal is in, and the mortgage lender is ready for you {and both sides are satisfied}, it’s time to set a date. This is not as fun as setting a wedding date, but still fun, nonetheless. This is the day that there’s a lot of build-up and hulabaloo for a very anti-climactic hour or so. I can’t tell you how much I rushed around, stressed out, and went crazy to make sure my funds were ready to be transferred, a certified check was able to be written, etc…only to go to the meeting with the lawyers, shake hands, get my keys, and part ways. It was QUITE anti-climactic. Either way, we still got drinks at the Cuban after:

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    Next up: Moving in Hoboken Round Two { Part IV of this series}. If you need some moving tips in the meantime, check out my post from last year about things I learned when moving in Hoboken.

    Missed Parts 1 & 2? Here they are:

    Tales of a Hoboken Homeowner Part I

    Tales of a Hoboken Homeowner Part II

     

    Disclaimer: This experience is personal to my actual home and situation. Closings can be quite different (either less hectic or more hectic) than this one, and everyone’s lender, realtor, and lawyer can really differ from situation to situation. That being said, since I’ve been through the process, feel free to ask questions! Email hobokengirlblog@gmail.com. xoxo


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hoboken Girl. She started the site to discover and share the wealth of things happening in Hudson County. Her roots in the area extend to her maternal grandparents, who owned two textile factories in Weehawken and North Bergen. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event/volunteer project or editing her life away, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog + rescue pup, or watching the latest murder doc on Netflix with her husband.


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