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Residential real estate closing checklist for buyers and sellers

The sale of residential real estate can be a stressful process for both buyers and sellers. Many steps need to be completed to prepare for a smooth closing. 

Make sure you understand all aspects of your purchase and sale agreement. If you don’t understand any of the terms listed, ask for clarification. In many situations, it can be helpful to hire a lawyer to review the sale agreement and advocate for your best interests at the closing.

It is also essential for both buyers and sellers to have a clear understanding of what to bring to a residential real estate closing. The following provides a guide, which can vary depending on your specific situation.

Closing checklist: Buyers

  • Picture identification – Massachusetts driver’s license, passport or other type of photo ID
  • Funds for closing – Have cashier’s check or proof of wire transfer with you for the exact amount of money you need to close
  • Proof of insurance – Bring a homeowner’s insurance binder showing the first year premium paid
  • Good faith estimate – List of estimated closing costs that your lender provided to you – ensure they match up to actual costs
  • Closing documents – Review this information, including closing disclosure, promissory note, deed and mortgage documents, before the closing and bring them with you as a reference

Closing checklist: Sellers

  • Picture identification – Massachusetts driver’s license, passport or other type of photo ID
  • Keys to the home – Include all necessary keys as well as access codes for alarm systems
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detector certifications – You can obtain these from your local fire department
  • Signed deed – From you to the buyers – your attorney can help draft this document
  • Title V inspection report – A passing report for septic systems, if applicable
  • Final utility statements – Final water reading and final statements for all utilities
  • Real estate tax document – Copy of the final real estate tax bill that was paid
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