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Real Estate Closing Process in WA State and What to Watch Out For

What happens on the day of closing in WA state? If you’re from an Attorney State like NY or MA, you’re closing happens with the buyer and seller in one room with their attorneys. At the settlement appointment the buyer and seller may sit in the same room, paperwork is signed, keys are handed over and you shake hands. You’ve already walked through the home with a fine tooth comb and made sure the home is still in good condition.

WA state is an escrow state and has a different closing process. There are no attorneys involved in a typical sale. Buyers usually sign loan paperwork 24-72 hours prior to closing with an escrow representative -without the seller present and without an attorney present. The day of closing is fairly uneventful in that the buyer and seller simply wait for the property to record at the county at which point an exchange of keys occurs.

One common complaint about WA state closings is the walk through process. In WA state buyers have the right to do a pre-closing walk-through ONLY if the seller must perform repairs following the inspection period. If no repairs are negotiated a seller technically does not have to allow a buyer through the home again before closing takes place. To the buyer’s advantage, the seller is still contractually obligated to keep the property in the same condition as when buyer first saw the property. But you can see how one scenario requires a greater leap of faith than the other. In short it’s a good idea to have your agent to include a clause in the contract allowing you a pre-closing walk through if no inspection repairs are negotiated.