After months of preparation and house-hunting, you are finally ready to close on the perfect property. The past several weeks involved a steep learning curve as you navigated the New York real estate market for the first time. Now, all that is left to do is close—and you what to know what to expect.

What are the steps in a closing?

Before you go to the closing, you should know the basic stages in the closing process. Although your circumstances are unique, everyone’s closing will have the same major steps.

  1. Select your real estate attorney

Although many buyers do not get a say in the closing agent they will work with, buyers do get to choose their lawyer.  Select someone you trust who has extensive experience in New York real estate.

  1. Prepare your documentation

You will want to have several documents on hand, including your homeowner’s insurance policy, a photo id, and, of course, a cashier’s check for the closing costs and down payment.

  1. Go to the closing at the title company’s office

At your closing, you, your real estate agent, your attorney and a closing agent will sit down to initiate the formal transfer of the title to your name. This usually takes about an hour, though it can last significantly shorter or longer.

  1. Transfer the title to your name

At long last, the step you have been waiting for: You will sign the documents to put the property in your name. This means that you are the new, legal owner of the house.

Becoming a homeowner can feel daunting, especially if you encounter a problem. Even the most careful buyer can face liens, claims to the property, errors in the documents, delays or construction defects. Fortunately, with careful legal guidance, you can skillfully navigate these pitfalls and enjoy years of homeownership.