photo courtesy of Menage a Moi
I was preparing for a closing yesterday with a client...
My client is a First Time Home Buyer and we've had some interesting moments looking for homes. We've seen good and we've seen bad. As we went through the house on our final walk-through to prepare for the closing the next day, the client had quite a few questions. This particular client really had a desire to understand what was going on as he was purchasing a home and I had a blast with him. I like questions. It gives me a chance to talk about something I know well and to help someone grasp concepts that I once didn't understand either. I was a first time home buyer once too.
His last question to me, as we were getting in our cars, was a simple one. What do I need to bring to closing? He had already received a list of items from the title company, but he wanted to make sure. I answered the question, parroting back what the title company had said; a drivers license (or other form of photo ID) and a cashier's check in the amount given to him by the title company.
Pretty simple list really. Of course, I added, "A well-rested hand." Closings are one signature after another and it can actually become a bit tiresome after awhile. We laughed, got in our cars and drove off.
On my way home, I thought of something else I should have told him - especially based on what I knew about him. Bring your questions and concerns. Closing time is the point where most people shut off and sign the papers. You're so close at this point, I've seen people glaze over and just sign whatever was put in front of them.
Not this client...
This client wanted to understand the process. Wanted to know what he was signing. He listened to every word and occasionally paused to ask a question or ask if he was correct the way he understood something in front of him. I loved watching it and the closer (Sherri Reidel of Independence Title) was great at explaining everything. We were also joined by the client's lender, Scott Cummins of Cornerstone Mortgage, who is a great guy to work with. What made this so interesting to me, was the interaction that happened at the table. Instead of just signing everything in front of him, the client asked questions, we all shared stories from our experiences, and we all bantered back and forth about real estate and real estate theory. It actually became a discussion and not just a closing.
My client commented on how great it was to have both of us there and I definitely think he learned more about the real estate process than most people do when closing. To me, that's an amazing thing. Education. A smarter consumer. A better relationship. Next time you go to closing - go with an open mind and a desire to learn. You'll walk away better prepared for the day you sell the home and buy a new one.
Special thanks to Sherri and Scott for being a great team to work with and to my client for helping me remember my first time buying a home and how overwhelming it was. I learned a lot today too. Tomorrow, I am better prepared to take on new clients than I was the day before.
This is a post in a series on real estate education to help define some of the finer points of contracts and the process of buying and selling real estate in San Antonio, Texas (it's Texas real estate, so if you live outside of Texas, these articles may not apply to you). You can read the previous posts; "Realtor® Speak 102: What are all these charges on my HUD-1 Settlement Statement?," "Realtor® Speak 102: Who's paying for the survey?," "Realtor® Speak 102: Does that come with the house?," and "Realtor® Speak 102: What if the house burns down?" or check out my ongoing series Realtor® Speak 101 at RErockstar.com.