Home Closing Steps: Contract Ratification, Money, and More

Home Closing Steps: Contract Ratification, Money, and More

  • Jennifer Young
  • 02/28/22


In the home buying process, a real estate contract is “ratified” once the buyer and seller have both agreed to terms, but have not completed the final execution. This takes place after an offer has been accepted and earnest money has been exchanged. Once the contract has been ratified, it can still be canceled before the final execution. Between contract ratification and closing, the seller will take care of any contingencies agreed to, and these other steps will take place. Some of the details vary by state—your Nest agent can help clarify which applies to you and your purchase.


  • Earnest money deposit. Earnest money is a term for money paid by the buyer of a home to the seller as a way of confirming their serious intention to purchase the home.
  • Inspections (home, pest, radon, septic, well) as needed. Buyers should line these up as soon as possible after contract ratification and should plan on attending if possible. Your agent will review the results with you and make suggestions for repair requests by the home inspection deadline.
  • Loan application. Buyers need to formally apply for a loan with their lender, essentially committing to work with the chosen lender through the rest of the process.
  • Home appraisal. An appraiser will examine the home to give the lender a formal statement of its value. Check with your lender to see if pre-payment for the formal home appraisal is necessary!
  • Settlement agent. Select the attorney you’d like to handle the final legal paperwork with and let your agent know so they can be in contact.
  • Loan commitment. Once the lender is satisfied with the terms of your loan, they will issue a commitment letter that your agent will deliver to the listing agent.
  • HOA paperwork. If you’re buying in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, your agent will help you go through the HOA paperwork so you know if any additional steps are required.
  • Homeowners insurance. Set this up early in case your insurer needs to inspect the property.

This part of the home buying process can feel stressful. Having a trusted agent by your side to explain and guide you every step of the way is imperative. At Nest, we have the experience, materials, and tools to help our clients go through this phase as unruffled as possible.

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