The close of your real estate deal can bring many emotions, among them relief and stress all at the same time. With that in mind, don’t let the most important elements of closing pass you by. Here are a few things you may not be thinking about—but that you need to consider—as the process rolls on.
How do Closing Costs Work When Selling a House
Congratulations, you’re about to close your real estate transaction! Before you start high-fiving, though, brace yourself—your proceeds may not match the rough calculations you did in your head. There are many fees, taxes, and prorations that tend to add up. Once you’ve wrapped your head around the financial reality, keep in mind that there are still a few tasks ahead. We’ve pulled together a list of some things you need to remember at this busy time.
Cancel And Transfer Utilities
This isn’t always the most obvious task to manage when you’re moving, but if you want the lights on in the right house (i.e. your new one), you’ll have to remember to cancel anything you don’t want to have in your new place and transfer the rest.
Make a list in advance of all your utilities. Include phone numbers and websites where you can easily reach them. Working in advance is preferable to scrambling to catch up.
Gather All Documentation Related To The Sale
If you’ve already got everything in a file folder, take a moment to congratulate yourself. However, if you’ve got things here and there—on your desk, in your car—those congratulations are going to have to hold until you get organized.
The most important documents include your signed purchase contract, seller disclosures, and the closing statement. Typically your closing agent or escrow officer will collate these in a folder for you—but you can’t always count on that. You may need this paperwork again, so don’t just shove it in a drawer and forget it ever existed.
Turn It Off
Get friendly with your shut-off valves. You don’t want to greet your buyers with dripping sinks or washing machines—these can flood a home. Make sure to leave your buyers a note letting them know that the shut-off valves have been turned off so that they don’t think there is something awry.
Some sellers turn off valves to all water sources including dishwashers and toilets. This is a personal preference, but it is also a prudent thing to do.
Make An Appearance At The Final Walk-Through
While your presence is not required, it’s a show of good faith to attend the walk-through and give your buyers the skinny on the quirks of your home. This can also cement a good relationship between you and your buyers, which is never a bad thing. A walk-through provides assurance to the buyer that the condition of your property has not changed since the last time they saw it.
A few sample items from a walk-through checklist:
- Bring your purchase contract with you in case of any disagreements.
- This is a good opportunity to check and make sure everything’s turned off in case the home is already vacant.
- Be prepared for many things to be checked, including:
- Flushing all toilets
- Checking all major appliances
- Checking screens and storm windows
- Looking in storage areas to ensure that no trash or unwanted items remain
- Doing a quick check of the exterior of the home as well as the grounds
- Opening and closing all doors and windows
- Test the garage-door openers and all other electrical appliances
- Test the climate-control systems, both air conditioning, and heating
- Ensure that you as the seller have left everything that you are contractually obligated to leave behind—and that you’ve taken what isn’t wanted.
The walk-through should take no more than an hour and can certainly defuse any misunderstandings down the road. It is highly recommended that you attend if you can.
Leave What Needs To Be Left
This includes the obvious—house keys, any remote controls, gate or mailbox keys—as well as the less obvious. For example, you’re going to want to gather manuals for appliances, warranties, and various receipts relating to your property.
Additionally, if you have a security code for a home alarm, make sure to leave that—you don’t want the buyer to be greeted with an alarm they can’t shut off! Help them get a good start in their new home—hopefully, they would do the same for you.
By approaching your final tasks in a methodical, organized way, you can ensure that your move is just that little bit smoother.