Real Estate 101: What is a Closing?

Whether you’re single, married, just out of college or entering retirement, you’ve probably faced the decision to buy a new home or sell your current one. If you’ve made the choice to say goodbye to rentals and hello to home ownership, some questions may arise on the journey to finding your dream house. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Our realtors and community of experts have pulled together the most common questions, topics, and obstacles that people face in buying and selling property, and we are here to give you the answers. In our Real Estate 101 series we’ll uncover essential aspects of the home buying and selling process so you can be well prepared for the best experience possible.

Our first topic of discussion is all about the closing process. What is a closing? How does it fit into the big picture? We’ve pulled in our friend and colleague in the Athens real estate community, Rhett Burruss, Attorney at Law, to help us answer your questions and calm your worries.

What is a closing?

Buying a new house or selling your house for the first time can seem intimidating–and for some, even frustrating–so let’s start with the basic terms and vocabulary.

The simple (and literal) definition in terms of real estate:
A closing is the final meeting of sellers and buyers to execute all documents of conveying the property from one party to the other.

Essentially, the closing is the end goal to keep in mind even in your first steps of the hunt for a new home. It’s the day when all the documents are finalized and you officially become new owners–or in the case of selling, saying your final goodbyes to your property. Closings confirm that all agreements made and transactions taking place are in writing and reviewed by all parties.



What does the closing process look like? How does it fit in?

As defined above, a closing is essentially the finalization of the home buying or selling process. We’ve laid out a general, basic timeline below:


Hold up, wait. What is due diligence?

According to, the period for due diligence is the “process lasting a few weeks before you close the transaction. During this window of time, buyers are often told to ‘do their due diligence’ on the home they soon hope to own.” This includes home inspections, which can reveal previously unseen details about the property.

It is extremely beneficial to have an agent that is experienced in both buying and selling, and well-versed in details such as home inspections or any obstacles that might arise.


On the day of the closing…

Generally, all agents, buyers and sellers are present for the closing on a date previously decided upon. The attorney assists buyers and sellers in executing all required documents to convey rights (right to build on, renovate, add to, or improve the property) and interests (how you take care of the property after the transaction).


What if I can’t attend my closing?

If something comes up that prevents you from attending your closing, there are alternative options to complete your transaction.

1.) Documents can be sent to an attorney near you to be executed in the form of a “Mail-Away Closing”
2.) You can appoint a specific power of attorney to attend the closing and sign the documents on your behalf.


What to know before you sign:

  • Make sure you have a real estate agent well experienced in the buying and selling process who can help you maneuver the closing of your transaction
  • If you’re financing your property (using a lender for the purchase), be sure to provide the lender with the items required for loan approval in a timely manner
    • “This is one of the most common reasons why closings are postponed from the original closing date.” – Rhett Burruss
  • Golden Rule: always get a home inspection
    • Buyers can pursue obtaining a home inspection at any point in the buying process. However, it is recommended that buyers obtain home inspections before the due diligence period expires.
    • “Should the home inspection show any major issues with the property, buyers are then still in a position to renegotiate or terminate the contract.” – Rhett Burruss


Thank you to our trusted resource, Rhett Burruss, Attorney at Law, for insight in Real Estate 101: What is a closing?

“What I love most about being a real estate attorney is that it’s what I call ‘happy law.’ The people I work with are excited and expectant for a new season of their lives. If all goes well, then we have smiles all around, which is the most gratifying part of my job.” – Rhett Burruss

We hope you feel more confident in the home buying experience and the closing process than ever before. If you have questions about your specific circumstance or would like insight from our team of experts, please give us a call at 706.705.2661.

Looking to buy, sell or invest in the Athens area? Contact us! We’re happy to help.