The big day is finally here! You are going to officially sell your home and hand over the keys to the new owners.
It’s not unusual to experience a wave of anticipation and excitement leading up to this day. But no one wants the transaction to be sidetracked by any surprises. Unfortunately, that can happen.
Do your homework now and you’ll have a successful settlement. Here’s what you need to do prior to this day, and also what to expect at your closing and what to bring with you.
Pre-Closing Tasks to Complete
- Any agreed upon repair work to the property or home should be completed by this date unless the buyer has agreed to work with their own contractor at a later day. The buyers will have their walk-through inspection just prior to the closing that day.
- Prepare to vacate your home on the agreed upon time with the buyer. If you and the buyers have agreed the moving will not take place on or before closing, you should negotiate a “rent-back” agreement.
- Cancel or transfer your utilities, effective that date.
- Cancel your homeowners insurance, effective that date.
- Cancel any monthly fees such as trash service, service for any alarm systems, condo fees, etc.
- Cancel any automatic payments that have to do with your home so you aren’t paying for it after you sold it!
- Contact your lender to make sure they have a forwarding address so they can forward any money left over in your tax and insurance escrow account.
What to Bring to Closing
- Bring your driver’s license or some form of ID.
- Gather all keys (door, mailbox, gate, garage remotes, etc) and any other items that the buyer will need to access your home. These can no longer be in your possession. You can either leave them in your home but at least bring a key for them to access your home after closing.
- Bring your checkbook. The title company can take a voided check to directly wire you the funds/proceeds from your home sale.
What to Expect at the Closing
You and your agent should plan to attend the closing at the specified time at the settlement company’s offices. The buyers also will be there with their agent.
This is the day you will legally transfer the property to the buyer, pay off any mortgages, and receive any proceeds from the sale.
You also will need to pay any parties you have been working with on the sale and closing of your home. Make sure you have your checkbook and are aware of any payment amounts in advance if possible.
If you plan to use some of the proceeds of this sale to purchase a new home, then you definitely want the closing of your current home to go smoothly with no delays or issues.
Keep in mind that the settlement company acts as a third party overseeing the terms in the contract to ensure they are being carried out and the transfer of ownership occurs. They don’t represent you or the buyer, but the terms of the contract.
They also handle the closing process for that day and you will all meet in his/her office. This is to ensure that all parties involved (you, the buyer, your agent, their agent) can properly oversee the transaction.
The settlement company will handle the documents, money, and any other items from all parties and make sure that everybody gets paid (including any previous lenders) where necessary.
You will be signing a lot of documents that day so make sure you understand and know what you are signing. Ask questions and confirm amounts if necessary!
Congratulations … You sold your home!
Now that you have closed, it’s time to move on to your new home and make some new memories.
This was the last article in my 11-part Love Selling Your Home series. It’s taken you step-by-step throughout the entire process. I hope you now know that selling your home doesn’t have to be stressful or chaotic. Next up is a bonus article, How to Buy and Sell at the Same Time. So many sellers are also buying a new home. Here’s how to do it successfully.
Also, if you have more than one offer, it’s usually best to disclose this information to all parties to maintain trust and to maximize your ability to obtain the best price.
- Have a positive outlook on contingencies to get the deal done.
As a seller, it is best to appreciate a buyer’s willingness to do business even if they have a contingency. You can do your part to make the sale successful, but also assess the situation before you do proceed with them.
This is especially true if there are any repair issues that may arise after the inspection. Be willing to work with the buyers and come to a mutual agreement. If they want you to fix the items before the sale can be completed OR you reduce the price so that they can hire their own contractors.
However, do be careful that you don’t accept an offer that contains a high-risk contingency like waiting for the buyer to sell their existing home, a long option period, or a buyer without approved financing. You don’t want this to lead to a dead end.
- Sweeten the deal if it gets you what you need or want in return.
Depending on market conditions and interest in your home, it’s not a bad idea to give a concession that can help seal the deal. It doesn’t have to be price, it can be financing, or something on the property the buyer may want. Making a concession keeps the negotiation process moving and shows you want to work with the buyers in some way. Remember, you want to move out of this house and not be stuck!
Many of my seller clients initially think that when their home is under contract, the deal is done. Not the case. There is SO MUCH that goes into making sure everyone actually gets to the settlement table. Most of what happens is behind the scenes and that’s a good thing—that means everything is going smoothly. But, if not managed properly, things go can haywire quickly. That’s why I like to make sure my clients know what’s going on at all times, so we can do everything we can to get everyone to the settlement table on time and with smiles on their faces.
I am Erica, and I help you buy the house you can afford and make it a home you love. Finding a home you can afford can be one of the most important financial decisions you make. Making it the home you love can be one of the most rewarding things you do.
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