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 experience?
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
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
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.
Seem like a pleasant experience?

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