Buying a home or refinancing a home mortgage remains one of the most important
financial decisions one will make in a lifetime.  There are very few personal decisions one
can make which involves such an important investment, both in terms of economics and
in terms of psychological well-being.
It stands to reason that the average consumer hopes that the process of purchasing a
home will be a pleasant experience.  Of course, we never wish our experiences not to be
pleasant but when the stakes are so high, we would especially like the process to go
smoothly.  Why not remember our first or subsequent home purchase as a great
Unfortunately, for many the experience is stressful, rushed and anything but pleasant.
There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is our unfamiliarity with the
process.  Many of us know much more about purchasing and financing cars than we do
our home.  And at the end of the process, we schedule the settlement in a way which
places the odds against the smoothest closing experience.
The day of closing is the day in which the papers are signed and we take ownership of
our new property.  There are a myriad of details which must be taken care of to make this
day happen.  There are also a myriad of papers which must be signed the day of
settlement (or go to escrow in some states)—many of which the average consumer does
not understand.
Imagine this experience.  You walk into your settlement and a stack of papers is placed in
front of you.  The settlement agent explains what each paper represents—in thirty
seconds or less.  You stare at one paper—The Promissory Note—which seems to
obligate you for over $300,000 for thirty years.  You would like to read this Note in detail
and ask some questions before you sign such.
Unfortunately, the settlement agent has another closing scheduled in thirty minutes.  Not
wanting to rock the boat, you sign and promise yourself that you will read the paper later.
Some title companies will afford you the opportunity to read these documents on-line
before the closing, but most do not…
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