FAQ,  Home Buyer,  Home Seller

What to do once your home is under contract

Ever wonder what you need to do while your home is under contract?  As a seller, the thought that you’ve finished negotiations and have accepted an offer on your home can seem like a huge relief.  Even if you had multiple offers, and you felt like you were in the driver’s seat, it’s still nice to know that you’re finally under contract.  So, what do you do next?  Well, I’m going to share what you need to do before closing.  Then I’ll share what you can expect at closing and what you should take with you.  No need to get stressed out now, you’re almost at the finish line!

What do I need to do before closing on a house?

Know what’s required – you may have some initial dates that you need to follow up on.  These items may include reaching out to the HOA association notifying them of the upcoming sale, providing the buyer’s agent with their contact information.  In some locations, it’s even required by law to provide a termite clearance letter.  Chat with your agent so you have a clear understanding of what’s required and customary in your market.

Get your papers in order – keep all of your contract paperwork together.  Also gather any and every document associated with your home.  I realize that’s a big statement, but they will come in handy.  You’ll most likely need to reference mortgage statements, utility bills and warranty info.  It will also be helpful to gather all major appliance manual and warranties.

Move! – you’ll start by removing all items from the house. Don’t forget to secure the house! Now (as soon as possible, in other words) would be a good time to reserve your moving truck.  During the peak time, the good moving companies get booked pretty quickly.

Switch utilities and insurance – you will most likely give a buffer of 3 days after closing for utility company to move the utilities out of your name and/or turn the utilities off.

Maintain the home – keep the home in the same condition (or make the agreed upon improvements) as it was in before the contract was made. Remove large agreed upon items/fixtures and do any necessary repairs (lights and curtains)

Have a final walkthrough – it would be a nice gesture to place all of the appliance manuals and transferable warranties in one location.

Submit change of address – I really suggest you download our free change of address checklist. It comes complete with a list of reminders to help you keep track of all the companies you need to update.

What should I take to a real estate closing?

Your picture ID – your closing attorney will want to see your driver’s license as proof of your identity.

Money! – as the seller, you may not actually have to take any cash to closing.  However, there may be situations where you do.  As the seller, you will pay the agent’s commission.  Other items you may be responsible for include escrow fees, and your portion of the HOA dues, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance.  Make sure your HUD statement addresses how much you’ll need to contribute.  Hopefully you have enough equity in your home, so you don’t have to come out of pocket. Ouch! Been there, done that.  However, it’s always best to check with your closing attorney or closing coordinator to ensure that you don’t need to pay anything.  Because of course, the best way to leave closing is with a check in hand.

Necessary paperwork – I mentioned earlier that you’ll need to get your paperwork in order and most attorneys will request that you take some documents with you to closing.  At the very least, be prepared to take your new address, phone number and termite letter (if required in your state). The closing attorney will want this in case they need to follow up and reach you to obtain any missed signatures.

Keys and garage door openers – of course the new buyer is going to want to get into their new home as soon as possible. So, take any and all keys and garage openers with you to the closing table. This also includes any security codes.

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