Congratulations your home is under contract! This can be a very exciting time of the home selling process, but it can be a little stressful too. However, a lot of stress can be alleviated if you know what’s expected from you and the buyer. The executed contract clearly outlines due dates for the buyer and seller. While your obligations as the seller are rather short in comparison to the buyer it’s important to know the job for both parties. Below is a checklist for home sellers, which also includes important due dates for the buyer too.
The buyer may have submitted an escrow deposit with their offer. However, if they didn’t or are putting down a second deposit it’s important to know whether or not the funds have been placed in escrow. Whether the closing company or real estate brokerage is holding escrow they should be able to provide you with an escrow letter. This is something your listing agent should be following up on and keeping you informed.
Home Inspection & Repairs
The next major step in the home selling and buying process is the home inspection. As the seller, you shouldn’t have to be there, but if you have pets you do need to lock them up. Even if your pets are friendly an inspector shouldn’t have to worry about tripping over your pet or accidentally locking it in a closet. It’s not the inspector or your agent’s responsibility to wrangle pets either.
Depending on your contract you may be responsible for making repairs. If you are required to make repairs or agreed to make repairs after the inspection you should be provided with a list of items that need to be addressed. Your listing agent should make sure the repairs being requested falls within the agreed-upon terms. Once the list is confirmed the repairs should be done immediately. This will give the buyer plenty of time to reinspect prior to closing. Plus, it may take a while to get a licensed professional to complete the job. Waiting until the last minute is never recommended because it can easily cause delays.
Typically once the home inspection is complete the next step is the appraisal, if the buyer is obtaining financing. Just like picture day where your home needed to look “perfect” the same goes for appraisal day.
This is the day an appraiser will be walking around your home, inside and out, to determine if it’s worth the contracted price. Your listing agent should attend the appraisal and depending on the transaction provide the appraiser with a list of upgrades/improvements and supporting comparables.
As a seller, you should know when the buyer’s mortgage commitment is due. This is by far the most important due date of them all, it’s the day you’ll find out if the buyer has been approved or denied for their lown. Just keep in mind nothing is guaranteed in real estate. If the buyer received loan approval, but lost their job days later they could be denied. The odds of this happening are low, but sellers need to be aware of all possible outcomes when selling their home. Your listing agent should be diligently following up with the lender and provide you with weekly updates of where the file is at. Has the mortgage application been completed? Did the lender receive all requested documents from the buyer? Was the appraisal ordered? Has the file gone to underwriting? When do they expect loan commitment?
Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your move! Before you even list your home for sale you should have a moving plan in place. Will you be doing it yourself, using a storage container or hiring a professional? If you aren’t sure you’ll want to do your research ahead of time, find out the process and cost associated with each option. Once you gather all of this information you’ll be able to make an educated decision. Having a moving plan before you even find a buyer will eliminate a lot of stress.
Schedule Utility Shut Off
All of your utilities should remain on until you are officially closed. In order for the buyer to do their final walkthrough they’ll need utilities. As far as other services; cable, internet, phone, those can be turned off whenever you’d like to stop service. One thing you can do prior to closing is find out the requirements to have the utilities turned off.
Closing day has arrived, it’s time to sign papers! If you’re not local and don’t plan on attending closing you’ll need to do a mail away. This is when the closing company sends you all of the documents to sign in advance. If you’re local and plan on attending closing you will have two options. One is to pre-sign, which means you’ll sign your closing documents days or hours before the buyer. The second is to attend closing with the buyer and sign at the same time.
Change Mailing Address
Don’t forget to change you’re mailing address! Not only will you need to change your mailing address with the post office you’ll have to change it on your driver’s license or state id too. You may want to send a note to all family and friends notifying them of your move to ensure they don’t mail anything to your old address.
Having a checklist of your obligations and due dates in writing will eliminate a lot of “unknowns,” and keep you on track. Due dates should never be taken lightly, you signed a legal binding contract, which you need to abide by. Even though the checklist will be self-explanatory a friendly reminder from your listing agent won’t hurt.
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Additional Real Estate Advice from Top Professionals
- Did you receive an offer from a buyer was is obtaining an FHA loan? Some sellers don’t even want to entertain offers that are using a low down payment loan program. However, before you say no do a little research. Just like a conventional loan FHA has loan requirements too and while the buyer is only putting down 3.5% doesn’t mean they are less likely to get approved. A lot of buyers, even those who have 20% down, are now going with FHA financing.
- There are so many clever ways to instantly add value to your home! Before listing your home for sale it may be worth spending a little bit of money to make your home more appealing to home buyers, which will increase the odds of receiving an offer for top dollar. One of the most cost-effective ways to add value to your home is adding curb appeal. Pressure washing, mulching, mowing, trimming and painting the front door can go along way.
About the Author
Top Wellington Realtor, Michelle Gibson, wrote: “You Found a Buyer for Your Home, Now What?”
Michelle has been specializing in residential real estate since 2001 throughout Wellington Florida and the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or rent she will guide you through the entire real estate transaction. If you’re ready to put Michelle’s knowledge and expertise to work for you call or e-mail her today.
Areas of service include Wellington, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Greenacres and more.