East Coast vs. West Coast Closing

In real estate, when buying or selling property, everything is done in anticipation of the finale, known as the “close” or “closing.”  California closings are very different from closings back east.  For people who move to the west coast expecting a closing like they have on the east coast, they are in for a bit of a surprise.  On the east coast, this is the day 60 to 90 days after the contract is signed where a half dozen people come together in a room, in addition to the buyer and the seller.  These include real estate agents and lawyers representing the buyers and sellers as well as individuals representing the buyer’s lender and the sellers’ bank.  Documents are signed, checks exchanged, and any issues are worked out.  At the end of the day, buyers and sellers feel like they have been through a process where things come to completion.

On the west coast, the closing day is a bit anticlimactic.  In California, the “close” occurs when the deed transferring title to the new owner is signed and recorded at City Hall and the keys are handed over to the new owner. (All of the signing and money exchange takes place during the week before the close at the title office.)  For some, especially first time buyers who may find the process of buying a property a little overwhelming, the California close can be a bit of a letdown unless their agent makes it a special day.  I enjoy making a ceremony out of the closing for buyers by taking my clients out for drinks and appetizers where I hand over their keys and celebrate their purchase with a toast.  In this way, the new buyers don’t feel letdown and stay excited, which is important because they have a big move in front of them.

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