Love Selling Your Home – Week 9
This is the ninth article in the series called, Love Selling Your Home: Minimize Your Stress, Maximize Your Profit, a step-by-step guide to selling your home. This series takes you through the entire home-selling process — from finding a real estate agent to settlement day.
You’re now one step closer to officially selling your home! Hooray!
Even though you have a contract with buyers, you’re not done yet.
As the saying goes, “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over,” and nothing could be more true when it comes to selling a home.
There’s a lot to get completed before closing day, and you might feel like your “to-do” list keeps growing and growing.
Keep in mind that no one wants the transaction to fall through or be delayed at this stage because of a mishap. Here’s what you need to focus on:
What to Expect
Try not to be too distracted by moving logistics or good-bye parties. It’s important to be very organized in the days leading up to your closing.
Make sure you focus on the things you need to get done in your home and also the items that need to be prepared for the actual settlement.
Most importantly, you don’t want anything missing or forgotten, especially any important paperwork when you meet with the buyers to transfer your home to them.
Depending on your contract, you may or may not need to be out of your home by the agreed upon settlement date. For example, we may have negotiated a “rent- back” with the buyers that allows you to stay in your home after settlement for a short period of time.
Here’s what needs to get done right before settlement:
You’ll face three different steps in these pre-closing days – a home inspection by buyers, any home preparation or repairs completed by you, and the gathering of any documents for the actual closing day.
Home Inspection Repairs
If you agreed to do any repairs after the buyer’s home inspection, these will need to be completed prior to the buyer’s final walk-through, which typically happens the night before or the morning of settlement.
Don’t worry, I can coordinate these and even suggest contractors to make the repairs.
We’ll save receipts and information on this work to prove you have satisfied any inspection agreements.
Preparing Your Home
It can be a whirlwind of activity in the final days of living in your home. However, you do want it ready for the new homeowners and not have any loose ends. You may be moving out … but they are moving in!
- Disconnect the utilities on settlement date, even if you are moving out on a different day.
- Contact your insurance company to turn off your homeowners insurance coverage for the day of settlement or your move-out date, whichever is later. If you have a rent-back agreement to stay in your “old” home after settlement has occurred, but sure to be in touch with your insurance provider to let them know when your ownership has changed and you only need renters insurance as well.
- Forward your mail with the post office. Notify any relevant parties (friends, family, accountant, financial advisor, etc.) of your change of address.
- Organize any information to pass on to the new owners about the home, such as appliance information (receipts and manuals); warranties; repair records for appliances, water heater, furnace, etc.; and any contractor dates of service. This is when your home maintenance manual comes in handy!
- Collect and label all keys to every door, any mailboxes, garages, outdoor shed, etc. Plan to bring them to settlement to hand over to the buyers.
- Make sure the house is in “broom swept” condition after you move out. Usually the buyers will complete a walk-thru before heading over to where you’ll meet to close on the home.
- Think through any additional items you need to “turn off” for the new owner, such as video doorbell monitoring if you are leaving it behind. Another one that comes up is alarm monitoring—definitely shut that off effective the settlement date!
- Be sure to turn off any automatic payments you have set up for your home such as your mortgage payments, homeowner association fees, etc.
How to Prepare for Settlement Day
- Call your mortgage company to make sure they have your new mailing address. They will need to send you loan information and the balance in your escrow account (a check!) to your new mailing address.
- Bring information about where you’d like your proceeds from the sale to be sent to by the Title Company, etc. Typically, that means a voided check to the account you want your sale proceeds to go to.
- Bring all keys, garage clickers and house codes the new owner will need.
With my clients, I like to call a few days before settlement to review the settlement statement and make sure the numbers all look good so we have that squared away before settlement.
The week before settlement can feel stressful. There’s a lot going on and sellers may feel like they don’t want to forget a tiny detail that will “ruin” the sale. This is where I come in. I’ve got checklists galore to make sure nothing falls through the cracks and to see what I can take off my client’s plate every step of the way.