You’ve had your home on the market. Finally, after the preparation and showings, you have accepted an offer, Now What?
You know that besides packing up and moving you have a lot to do, but where should you start? Our helpful checklist is going to help you get organized and prepared for a stress-free closing.
The first priority should be to keep the deal alive, to do this, you are going to have some transactional related tasks you’ll need to be involved in. The buyer should be doing an inspection and, in most cases, having an appraisal.
These are two of the most common contingencies found in residential real estate contracts. So, your initial attention will be focused on those two events early in the transaction.
Before we address inspection and appraisal, there are a couple of items that should have been taken care of before the property was listed. To pay off any existing primary liens, the closing company will need to order a loan payoff:
Loan Payoff Information– This one is first because it takes time, if it’s not ordered soon enough, it can hold up the closing. The payoff information should be requested as soon as possible after the listing agreement is signed. This allows the closing company to know how much the payoff is (if any) for your current lender. Your Realtor should obtain the following information: The loan company, account number and the last 4 digits of your social security number(s).
Once we know the loan payoff information has been ordered, the focus can shift to inspection and appraisal.
Preparing for the Home Inspection-The inspection is important for several reasons. The buyer will actually spend more time in the home during the inspection than they did during the actual showings. Please have your home in excellent condition for the inspection. Poorly staged or messy homes can quickly create buyer’s remorse. Make sure the inspector has access to the furnace, water heater and electrical panel.
If the buyer is testing for radon, make sure you follow the instructions left behind by the inspector. Additionally, it’s best to leave home during the inspection. Give the buyers and their inspector the time they need to learn about you. Any questions or clarifications to take place after the inspection.
Dealing with Inspection Requests– Once the buyer has completed the inspection, they should have a list of issues they discovered as a result of the inspection which they submit as repair requests. In general, any repairs to the property will need to be completed by a licensed contractor. Your Realtor should be able to assist with finding reputable contractors. This is often a difficult part of the transaction for home sellers to navigate. The requests can seem insulting and even unreasonable but remember, most buyers are going to do an inspection. If you don’t negotiate the inspection requests now, you will most likely see the same requests from your next buyer.
Receipts for Any Repairs– Most of the repair requests generated by the inspection are going to stipulate that repairs be done by a licensed professional. Because of this, you must provide copies of all receipts for work done at least 48 hours before the walk-through to your agent. Even if the work wasn’t required to be performed by a licensed professional, receipts are still a good idea. They approve the work was completed and give the buyer all the information they need in the event the work fails at some point down the road.
Prepare for the Appraisal- Your agent will arrange to meet the appraiser at your home. Please leave your home in the same condition you would have for a showing. Additionally, make sure the appraiser has access to all rooms and areas of the house. Here’s a good article that will help you ace your appraisal.
Cancel Homeowner’s Insurance Policy- Please cancel effective the day after closing. It’s important to note that you may be eligible for a refund of the unused portion of your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy. Make sure you ask your Insurance agent about this refund while you are cancelling your policy.
Disconnect Utilities- Contact utility companies and arrange for the transfer of service. Most companies will ask for the buyer’s name.
Organize manuals- Locate any manuals, instructions, warranties etc. for the purchaser. This helps avoid questions after closing.
Funds Notification- Let your agent know how you would like your funds.
School Records- If you are moving into another school district, it’s a good idea to arrange to have the school records transferred to your child’s new school district and/or daycare. Here is a great guide for moving with kids, written by Danny Margagliono, Essential Tips For Moving With Kids.
Veterinarian records-Arrange to transfer records to your new vet.
Change of Address- File a change of address with the United States Postal Service. This can be done online at the USPS Movers Guide.
Here’s a great article by Bill Gassett over at Max Real Estate Exposure on “Who to Notify When You are Moving“.
Deal with House Plants– Many movers will not move houseplants, especially across state lines. Cris Highland has written a helpful article on Things to Remember in the Moving Frenzy, it does talk about house plants.
Decide if you will keep your plants or give them away.
Remove Hazardous Wastes- Dispose of flammable, corrosive and poisons. Most municipalities will have some facility set up to receive these materials. In El Paso county Colorado hazardous Waze can be taken to the El Paso County Household Hazardous Waste Facility (HHWF) is located at 3255 Akers Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80922.
Final Walk-Through- The buyers are most likely perform a final walk-through. This is done to make sure all inspection items are complete. Additionally, any things they are expecting to be included is still in the property. It’s a great idea as the home seller to do your own walk-through with your Listing Agent. This eliminates unpleasant surprises and problems at the closing table.
Confirm Closing– Check with your agent for the date, time and location of closing. Title Companies often have multiple locations, so you must get the actual address of the closing site.
Photo ID- Bring valid Photo Id-Driver’s license or Passport is preferred.
Keys and Garage Door Openers- Bring all housekeys and any garage door openers to closing.
Please do not leave items at the house you do not want, or you do not know what to do with. This will most likely become an issue before closing. Buyers will often hold up the closing until some agreement is made about the removal of unwanted items from the property. It’s best to make arrangements with a local charity or commercial removal company before closing as opposed to trying to figure out what to do with these items while you are at the title company waiting to close.
While completing the items on this list doesn’t guarantee a smooth closing, it certainly stacks the odds in your favor. Remember, there are still a lot of moving parts and many issues that can arise last minute but completing this list helps make sure you aren’t the problem.