Tips for Closing

Now that the nitty-gritty details are negotiated for your home sale, it’s time to prepare for closing:

Tip #1: Leave a checklist. There are so many quirks about your home that only you know, and you can pass these tips to a new home buyer during the final walk-through. Things like which light switch operates the lights or how to clean a swimming pool. This is not necessary by any means, but your buyers will appreciate it.

Tip #2: Clean the house. If you don’t have time to clean, then at least hire a professional cleaning service. How clean to leave a house is often personal preference. It’s not always necessary to shampoo the carpets, but that’s a nice touch. 

This also means wipe down cabinets, inside and out. It doesn’t hurt to make your last impression on the buyer a good one by polishing sink fixtures. Leave your home the way you, as a buyer, would like to find it.

Tip #3: Turn off shut-off valves. If you have disconnected a washer, for example, make sure the shut-off value is completely turned off because a small drip, drip, can eventually flood a home. Some sellers shut off the valves to all water sources such as sinks, toilets and dishwashers, too. Be sure to leave a note for the buyers so they won’t think there is an issue with the plumbing.

Tip #4: Find keys, pool FOBs, garage door openers, etc. Even though the buyers will probably change the locks, find every house key, remotes for the garage or ceiling fans, keys to the gate and mailbox, if any, and put them in a kitchen drawer or on the counter.

Tip #5: Assemble appliance manuals, gather receipts and warranties. As you were packing, you may have come across manuals for the HVAC, security system, sprinkler system or appliances, and set them aside. If you have receipts from contractors or warranties, put them into an envelope and leave them in a drawer with the manuals, along with the code for the security alarm.

Tip #6: Check cabinets, drawers and storage for forgotten items. If your spouse or friend says that he/she has gone through every room with a fine-tooth comb looking for anything left behind, run one more check. You may find nothing more than a razor in the shower, but at least you’ll be able to shave in the morning.

Tip #7: Keep in mind the difference between personal property and real property. One of the biggest hold-ups for the closing taking place as planned is the seller leaving personal property behind that the new owner does not want. Also make sure to leave behind all real property that conveys with the house!

Tip #8: Close window coverings, turn off lights and lock the door. You would think this would be a given, but you’d be amazed at how many people forget to close up the house. If nobody can see inside, the odds of a break-in decline.

Tip #9: As you are out the door and heading to closing make sure you have the following with you:
your driver’s license/Valid ID; the deed to your home if you own it (no mortgage); keys & garage door openers; checkbook; any final utility bills to be paid or collected on. For example, if you have public water you’re going to need to provide a final paid receipt. Any unanswered questions you may have regarding the settlement statement.

Tip #10: Once the sale has closed, formally change your address. Have all mail forwarded to your new address. Also notify creditors, subscription services, family and friends of your change of address.

Tip #11: Cancel your insurance policies. Wait until you know the deed has recorded before you call your insurance agent. You should receive a refund from a prepaid premium for your homeowner’s insurance. If you are going to be purchasing another home in a different state, take a look at who is handling your car insurance. One of the best home insurance savings tips is to combine your home and car insurance with the same carrier. Doing so can help save quite a bit of money.

Tip #12: Contact utility providers requesting last day of service. For many utility companies, the buyer will not be able to request first day of service until you have called notifying them last day of service.

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