Closing the Deal

Accepting the Offer

This time in the home selling process is awash in paperwork. Your real estate agent can serve as a valuable resource and guide, helping you navigate the complicated contracts and legalese.

The buyer’s real estate agent will complete the necessary paperwork required for an offer to purchase. This contract is standardized in most states and presents in writing the terms of the proposal. Your agent will present the offer to you and this is your chance to look at the following items generally included in an offer:

  • Offer Price
  • Financing contingencies
  • Inspection clauses
  • Amount of earnest money

  • Closing and occupancy dates
  • Other contingencies such as any personal property included in the sale

You are certainly free to make a counter offer on any of the points listed in the contract, most particularly, the purchase price. Or you may have a contingency for possession based on the purchase of your next new home.


Closing the Deal

The Closing is generally the final meeting among all parties to the sale transaction. Your agent is usually there to ensure things go smoothly. Almost all buyers and sellers retain the services of a real estate attorney, and they would also attend the closing.

Where the closing is held is based on what is the most practical location, which could be the mortgage company or bank, the title insurance office or the realty brokerage firm. This is the day when the signing of all those legal documents will take place and the property changes ownership from you (or your mortgage lender should there be a balance on your loan) to the buyer. You will be required to sign and initial numerous papers, including the final financial settlement amounts. At the closing, you will receive the title to the property and your purchase will become public record for tax purposes.

Typical closing costs usually include the appraisal fee, attorney or closing agent’s fee, survey fee, any loan discount fee (points or a percentage of the total amount of the loan), inspection fees, title fees, title insurance and closing fees. Your real estate professional, lender and/or attorney will help you organize and have on hand the amounts and disbursements you will incur well in advance so you can have the money on hand.


Moving Day

The following checklist is designed to help make your moving day as stress free as possible. Don’t forget to ask your real estate agent for advice as the big day approaches. They’ve done this before and can be a tremendously helpful resource for those new to the home selling process.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE MOVE

  • Change address on driver’s license, auto registration, voter’s registration, credit cards and with doctors, veterinarian, utility companies, subscriptions to magazines and newspapers and your employer.
  • Submit a postal change of address form online.

  • Notify utility companies the date for final meter reading.
  • Empty your lawnmower and power tools of fuel, etc.

1-5 DAYS BEFORE MOVE

  • Defrost freezer and empty ice maker and ice cube trays.
  • Clean refrigerator, stovetop and oven.
  • Disconnect and drain all appliances if these are moving with you.
  • Make calendar to plan room-by-room packing and track your progress.
  • Have payment for movers ready.
  • Confirm travel arrangements.
  • Confirm arrival time of movers/pick-up time of rental truck.
  • Gather and clean outdoor furniture.
  • Return cable box, cable modem and DSL modem if necessary.
  • Pack suitcase of each family member with clothes and toiletries to get through the first three days.
  • Use towels, t-shirts and pillows for padding around breakables to save space.

MOVING DAY

  • Check that all cupboards, closets, dishwasher and other appliances are empty.
  • Give movers a tour and instructions for what is being moved.
  • Separate the items you’ll move yourself from the items you want the movers to handle.
  • Ensure parking space for moving van/truck.
  • Take note of utility meter readings.
  • Leave a note with your new address in the house so that future residents can forward any stray mail.
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