Papers are first signed when an offer is written. More papers are signed throughout the escrow period, or for those states who do not use escrow, when the home is under contract. After the Buyer has released all contingencies and all other conditions/terms between Buyer and Seller have been met, the monies are wired, the title is transferred from current owner to new owner, the monies are dispursed and then the transaction is officially closed.
A great Realtor will be with you every step of the way, guiding you, reminding you what will be happening next in the transaction and when, and what to expect. The actual closing should be the beginning of a continued great relationship between Realtor and Home Owner.