What Not to Do When Your Home Is in Escrow - Home & Texture
Homeownership Things Not To Do in Escrow

10 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Your Home Is in Escrow

Make sure you close on your home as smoothly as possible.

June 4, 2024 at 10:10 PM PST
Homeownership Things Not To Do in Escrow

10 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Your Home Is in Escrow

Make sure you close on your home as smoothly as possible.

June 4, 2024 at 10:10 PM PST

So, you’ve finally found your dream home and you’re in escrow—congratulations! This is the home stretch, the final lap, the last hoorah before you get those keys in your hand. But wait! The journey to homeownership isn’t over . . . yet. There are still a few things you need to be mindful of to make sure everything goes smoothly. To help you out, here’s a list of what not to do when your home is in escrow.

Woman with key
Photo Credit: Kindel Media

1. Don’t buy a new car (or a yacht, or a spaceship).

Sure, you’re excited about your new home and thinking about how you’ll roll up in style, but hold on! Major purchases can significantly impact your credit score and debt-to-income ratio, which your lender is monitoring like a hawk. Imagine your lender’s surprise when they see a shiny new debt added to your profile. Spoiler alert: it’s not a pleasant surprise. So, as much as you’d love to cruise into your new driveway in a brand-new convertible, it’s best to wait until after you’ve closed.

2. Don’t quit your job to start a yoga retreat in Bali.

We get it—escrow can be stressful, and the idea of a peaceful yoga retreat—or whatever your aspirations entail—sounds like a good idea. But now is not the time to make any drastic changes to your employment situation. Your lender wants to see stability in your income, and a sudden career change (no matter how zen) could jeopardize your loan approval. Feel free to plan your yoga retreat as a celebratory trip after closing, but until then, keep your day job and maintain your current income flow.

3. Don’t start renovations before you own the house.

Pinterest boards and HGTV marathons can give you some serious renovation fever, but resist the urge to start planning any projects before escrow closes. Even if you’re super eager to knock down that non-load-bearing wall, you technically don’t own the house yet.

4. Don’t ignore your lender’s requests.

Your lender will probably ask for a lot of paperwork—bank statements, tax returns, explanations for that mysterious $200 deposit from Aunt Nicole, etc. It might feel like they’re asking for your entire life history, but it’s all part of the process. Ignoring these requests or delaying your responses can slow down the entire escrow process. So, channel your inner Virgo and get those documents organized and sent over promptly.

Couple looking at swatches
Photo Credit: Gustavo Fring

5. Don’t go on a spending spree.

New home, new you, right? While it’s tempting to start buying furniture, décor, and all the latest smart home gadgets, try to hold off until after closing. Just like buying a new car, running up your credit cards or draining your savings can affect your loan approval.
Create a wishlist, pin your favorite items, make that vision board, and once you’ve got those keys, shop till you drop.

6. Don’t let your home insurance lapse.

Securing home insurance is a major step in the home-buying process, and your lender will require proof of it before closing. Don’t let this fall through the cracks. Without insurance, you won’t be able to close on your new home, and all your dreams of cozy nights by the fireplace will be put on hold.

7. Don’t keep secrets from your real estate agent.

Your real estate agent is your ally, your confidant, your home-buying advocate. If there are any issues, changes, or concerns, communicate with them. Maybe you’re having second thoughts about the inspection results or you’re unsure about a clause in the contract. Whatever it is, speak up. Keeping secrets or withholding information can lead to misunderstandings and delays. Your agent is there to help guide you through this process, so keep them in the loop.

Woman signing papers
Photo Credit: RDNE

8. Don’t skip the final walkthrough.

The final walkthrough is your chance to make sure the home is in the condition agreed upon in the contract. Don’t skip it or rush through it because you’re too excited. This is your opportunity to ensure all repairs have been made and that nothing has changed since you last saw the house. Take your time, be thorough, and bring a checklist if it helps.

9. Don’t neglect to read the fine print.

Reading a contract may not be the most thrilling activity. But reading the fine print is essential. Understand what you’re signing and what your obligations are. If there’s something you don’t understand, ask your real estate agent or a lawyer to explain it. This is one document you don’t want to skim-read.

10. Don’t panic.

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t panic. Escrow can be a nerve-wracking time, but remember that you’ve got a team of professionals helping you through it. Keep calm, follow the steps, and before you know it, you’ll be unlocking the door to your new home. Think of escrow as the final chapter in your home-buying story. It might have a few plot twists and turns, but it’s all leading up to the ending where you get the keys to your new castle. So, take a deep breath, stay the course, and get ready to enjoy your new home.


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