So after months of searching, you’ve finally found your dream home! Congratulations! However, it’s not over just yet – don’t expect to be able to just write a check and call it a day. There are still a lot of things to do before you can close on your dream home. The following are the steps that are involved with closing on a new house:

  • The offer – The first step is obviously to make an offer to the seller. Once you’ve decided on a house, it’s best if you move as quickly as possible. You don’t want another buyer to beat you to the punch. There’s no guarantee that the seller will accept your offer, but it’s usually a good rule of thumb to offer around 8 to 10 percent below what the seller is asking for. This will provide you with a little bit of negotiation room. Just don’t go over what you budgeted for, no matter how much you love the house!
  • The deposit – When you make an offer, you should provide a deposit of around 1 percent of the purchase price. The seller’s lawyer or real estate agent will hold that money until it is closed. If your offer isn’t accepted, the deposit will be returned. If it is, the deposit will go towards your down payment.
  • Meet the contingencies – The contract will typically have a number of contingencies that you will have to meet before you can close. These often include obtaining an acceptable house inspection as well as securing your financing. You’ll usually have 10 to 14 days from the time you accept the contract to get an inspection and 30 days to secure financing.
  • Get a home inspection – You’ll want a professional inspector to take a look at the mechanical and structural condition of the house. You don’t want to buy a house that might have a bunch of expensive issues, after all.
  • Signing the contract – The contract is a legally binding obligation to purchase the property as long as the contingencies are met. It contains the final selling price, the date of closing, the property's description, the possession date and any other contingencies that are applicable.
  • The settlement sheet – This document is required by the Department of Housing and Urban development and includes all the financial information concerning the purchase of the house. A copy of the settlement sheet must be given to both the buyer and the seller.
  • The closing documents – Once the contract and settlement sheet have been drawn up and signed, you’ll still need to complete some paperwork. This includes a title search, the title insurance and an application for your homeowner’s insurance, which is required for obtaining your mortgage.
  • Closing costs – Don’t forget that you’ll have to pay a number of closing costs, which include the appraisal fee, a loan origination fee, a inspection fee, a credit report fee, your mortgage broker's fee, the cost of your title insurance, taxes and the document preparation fee.​
  • The settlement – The settlement is the final step of the closing process. It describes how much you owe on the property after the down payment as well as the transfer of the title on the date agreed upon.

These are the steps that you’ll have to take in order to close on your dream home. Remember, you’ll also have to make some practical arrangements, such as setting up your utility service and making your first mortgage payment. Once all of this is done, you’ll finally be able to move into your new home!