Behind the Scenes: Contract to Close-Seller
So, you’ve accepted an offer on your house. Now what? Well, there are things you will need to take care of and then there are things that will be happening behind the scenes from this point until the closing date. Let’s look at the process, as it goes here in WNY, chronologically:
Once you have a signed contract, you should:
- If you haven’t already, let your Realtor know who your Real Estate Attorney is so he/she can send the contract documents to your attorney for approval.
- The buyers will usually schedule a home inspection within a few days of the contract being signed. Your Realtor will coordinate this with you.
- Ready your house for home inspection. If there are last minute things you wanted to take care of, do so beforehand if possible. There are always some things that the home inspector finds that could be better but you want to minimize any concerns.
- Once the home inspection is complete, your Realtor will let you know what, if any, things the buyer is asking for. He/She will negotiate on your behalf until all parties are in agreement.
- Once all parties have agreed to a plan of action, their Realtor will draw up the PINA (Property Inspection Notice & Addendum), all parties will sign and your Realtor will forward this to the attorney.
- If any repairs need to be made by licensed contractors, set up appointments to have those repairs completed and make sure you get a complete receipt. This will be needed at the Final Walk Through.
- You will need to make sure your attorney or Network Title has your title so they can begin the title search.
- Review, with your Realtor, what stays and what goes according to the contract of sale. The last thing you want is the closing held up because you took something from the house that was supposed to stay.
At this point, (other than packing and readying your house) you won’t be too involved in the process for a while. But that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. From this point, everything is behind the scenes until a couple weeks before closing. During these weeks:
- Buyer will officially apply for mortgage
- Buyer will need homeowner’s insurance and the insurance company will want to look at the house. They will contact either your Realtor or you directly to let you know when they’ll be walking the property.
- The underwriter is processing all the paperwork for your loan, making sure everything is in order.
- An appraisal will be ordered by the lender and the Realtors will coordinate the timing of the appraiser gaining access to your house.
- Once the lender has processed all the paperwork, they will issue a commitment letter, which your Realtor will make sure your attorney receives. The deadline for the commitment letter is listed in the contract, so your Realtor will be keeping an eye on this deadline for you.
- Once the commitment letter is received, and a “clear to close” is issued by the bank, your attorney will order the title search to be sure the title is “clear” before closing. (If you use Network Title, they order the title search as soon as you have a contract. This is nice because it ensures that the title doesn’t hold up closing, last minute.)
- At this point, once all the title paperwork is complete, your attorney will work with you and the buyer’s attorney to schedule the closing.
Now around this time you have some more things to do, other than the mounds of packing you’re already doing…
Two weeks before closing:
- At the post office, you can obtain a Change of Address packet and begin making notifications.
One week before closing:
- Contact your utility companies to make them aware that utilities will be transferred on closing day. The buyer should be calling as well to set up his/her service (gas, electric, water, cable, etc.).
- Confirm closing date with your Realtor or Attorney
- Confirm your moving truck or company for moving day (usually at least a day before closing, when possible.)
- Coordinate the Final Walk Thru with your Realtor. Usually done the day of or the day before closing. This should be done once you are fully moved out, if possible. Be sure to have receipts for any requested repairs. This is also a good time to leave out manuals or any notes you wish to give the new owners that will help them maintain the property. Sometimes, owners are there for the final walk-thru. That just depends on how all parties feel about it. Some appreciate it; some don’t. Feel free to discuss it with your Realtor.
- Discuss with your Realtor how you will handle transferring keys to the new owners. (Most people give a single key to their Attorney to deliver at closing and lock the rest of the keys/garage door openers/etc. in the house. Usually left on kitchen counter.)
One day before closing:
- If you haven’t already received it, ask your attorney for the closing paperwork so you can review it. There won’t be time to go over everything at the closing table and you want to make sure you can ask questions and not hold up closing.
- Finish moving out and cleaning the house. All debris and personal items should be removed and house should be cleaned and broom swept.
Day of Closing, bring:
- Any documents requested by your attorney.
*Don’t forget to leave your extra keys in the house if that’s what you’ve arranged with your Realtor/Attorney.
Congrats! You sold your house!
Written and Provided by Rebekah Weissert, Real Estate Salesperson at Keller Williams Realty Buffalo Northtowns. firstname.lastname@example.org