When Do You Get to Cash In the Big Fat Check After Closing?

The day you receive the funds from the sale of your home is like Christmas morning — times 100. You’re ready to cash out a huge investment and dreaming of that big, beautiful check.

When will that day come, how will you get paid, and who’s got your money?

To find out all of the details around reaping the rewards of your home sale, we asked Deborah Smith, a top Detroit area real estate agent who has sold over 65% more properties than the average agent in her area, “when does the seller get paid after closing?” and dug into those final closing logistics.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Closing day is payday, and in most cases, you’ll be able to collect your home sale profit as soon as the ink dries on the final documents.
  • Pick a Monday through Thursday closing date during local banking hours for the speediest payment. Close on a Friday, and you may have to wait until Monday to receive payment.
  • The fastest and simplest way to receive your funds is with a paper check. Alternatively you can opt for a wire transfer within 24 hours of closing.
  • The check should reflect your net proceeds, or the total amount you take away from selling the home after accounting for your mortgage payoff, fees, and taxes as outlined in your seller’s settlement statement.
  • You’ll receive your funds from the escrow or title company involved in the closing.

The buyer and their agent will be required to attend the closing to review and sign the packet of financing paperwork.

However, it’s not always necessary for the seller to show up. In the event that the listing agent can prepare to have you sign the deed and transfer documents ahead of time, you might be able to skip the meeting altogether. (Talk to your agent about what they recommend for your situation).

And that’s all! But, before you can walk away with your big fat pile of money, you have to get through closing.

That process is a whole lot easier if you know how much you’ll walk away with (so your check amount is no surprise), and plan to close on the right day. With Smith’s help, we’ll help you get through all the steps up until the point when you hold that hard-earned cash in your hand.

The Complete Guide to Selling a House

Looking for advice throughout your home sale? We've collected tips from the nation's highest-performing agents and compiled a stress-free walkthrough of the entire selling process.

Before you get paid: Get through closing

Negotiations, the home inspection, more negotiations, the home appraisal, even more negotiations—this is everything you’ll have to go through (plus some!) to receive your home sale proceeds.

The closing process can drag on, but every homeowner has to get through it to make sure the deal is fair and square.

Once you accept an offer and open escrow, you have to get through the following tasks in order to get paid:

  • Review and clear the title
  • Home inspection
  • Negotiate repairs and credits
  • Home appraisal
  • Offer renegotiation
  • Pay off hanging debt on the property
  • Final walkthrough
  • Sign final documents at the closing table

There’s tons of paperwork to fill out and organize for the transaction to close.

Depending on your local laws, you will either sign the closing documents before the buyer signs them, or go to the final closing and sign them on site. Your real estate agent can tell you what’s legally required on your end.

“On closing day, the seller can expect to sign what we call the closing documents,” says Smith.

The real estate closing documents that you’ll sign to seal the deal include:

  • Tax documents
  • The deed
  • The bill of sale
  • Title company disclosures
  • Settlement or closing statement

Your real estate agent will bring the closing documents that you need to sign. But there are some things that you’re on the hook for as well.

To make it through closing quickly and get paid on time, don’t forget to bring these things to the closing table:

  • Your photo ID
  • Receipts of repairs made after the inspection
  • Keys and codes for doors
  • Any paperwork that your real estate agent tells you to bring

Closing costs: Deductions from your profit

Sorry to burst your bubble—if you sold your home for $300,000, you aren’t going to get paid $300,000 after closing. There are fees (also known as closing costs) that come with selling a home. Let’s break it down.

Here’s what you should deduct from your home sale price:

  • Your outstanding mortgage balance
  • Agent commissions (typically 6% of the sale price – find out the average rate in your area with our Agent Commissions Calculator)
  • Property taxes and other unpaid bills
  • Title Fees
  • Escrow/Attorney fees
  • Local fees like HOAs

For more information, visit our cost guide breaking down all the fees associated with selling your home you can expect to pay.

The amount that’s left after those deductions is what you’ll walk away with when you close the home sale. According to Smith, you can refer to your closing statement to see a breakdown of the fees you owe.

Collect your profits and call it a day

When everything is signed and sealed, you’ll be able to receive your home sale profits from the escrow or title company.

Typically, you can receive the funds through a check or wire transfer. But be careful — if you close the home sale on a Friday, you might have to wait all weekend before you see a dime.

“If you close on a Friday, then you’re waiting until Monday to do everything. So I like to close Monday through Thursday anytime between 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard so that you’re closing within banking hours,” Smith says. “And if any issues come up, we can resolve with the lender while they’re still open.”

According to Smith, the fastest way to get the money in your hands and get out the door is by a good, old-fashioned check.

“So if they’re taking their funds via check, they can take it with them at the closing table,” she says. “If they want funds wired to their bank account, that’s typically within 24 hours of closing.”

Lastly, make sure you’re moved out so you can move on when you get paid.

You and the buyer will agree on the date when you have to be out of the house so they can take possession, a firm deadline that’s written into the closing documents.

So if you agreed to be gone by the same day you close, you better be 100% out before you sign the closing documents and collect your home sale proceeds in good faith.

Header Image Source: (Andrey_Popov/ Shutterstock)