A few days ago I went through what a buyer needs to think about and do after they have successfully placed a contract on the home. To read that post click here. Today I’d like to talk about the sellers side of the real estate transaction.
Finding a buyer and agreeing to an acceptable price and terms with a buyer is one of the high points of a real estate transaction. No more daily showings, no more uncertainty, making plans for the future, it’s exciting stuff. But then comes the realization that you are only part way to the finish line. There is still work to be done. This is a checklist of items that the seller is responsible for between contract and closing.
Order Title Commitment – In Colorado the seller is responsible to providing the buyer a title insurance policy in conjunction with a real estate purchase. The first step of this process is ordering the title commitment. The listing agent usually handles this for the seller. This is also a great time to provide to the title officer the information on your existing loans which will need to be paid off at the closing.
Homeowners Association Documents – As per the Colorado approved real estate contract the seller will provide the buyer a copy of the relevant HOA documents. This shall include bylaws, rules and regulations, financial documents, minutes from the most recent meetings. Again, this is something that the listing agent usually tries to supply (at least I do) but sometimes the information is embedded in a members only website and the Realtor might need help with this.
Gather Paperwork – The buyer will want to have any relevant documentation regarding the home. In conjunction with the disclosure requirements the seller must supply the buyer any prior inspections or reports that give insight to the condition of the home. This would also be a good time to gather any manuals and warranties and set them aside before your packing gets into full gear.
Prepare for Inspection – Just because most of the showing activity has subsided it doesn’t mean that you are off the hook for keeping the home looking good. I would argue that the inspection is your most important showing and the house should be prepared as well as possible. In addition to the general cleanliness here are a few tips to help the inspection. Replace the furnace filter and clean the humidifier filter if you have one. Move boxes and or furniture away from access points for plumbing, heating and electrical. It is common that a buyer will perform a radon test and the protocol for a radon test is that the house will be closed up for 12 hours prior to closing as well as 48 hours throughout the test. However, it is a really good idea to “air out” the lowest level of the home prior to the closed house conditions.
Make Your Arrangements – Start making arrangements for moving, storage, packing and cleaning. Consult with your Realtor so that you are sure that you understand the timing of when you need to be out and cleaned. After the inspection it is also a good idea to contact the utility companies to let them know about an upcoming transfer in service. Once the deal is rock solid, put in your change of address request to the postal service.
Inspection Items – Once the inspection has been done and the agreements surrounding the inspection has been made, some work will need to be done. My advice here is to get the work done as soon as possible, don’t cut corners and follow the letter of the agreement to a “t”. The listing agent is there to help you get this work done if you need help.
Clean and Closing – The days surrounding closing will be busy days. You will need to pack, clean and supervise work maybe at two locations. My advice regarding how you leave the home is based on two things. Look at the contract and make sure you are doing the minimum required and then consult the Golden Rule. How would you really like a home to be left for you? When the house is really left in good shape and the buyers feel that they are being treated well, the closing is much easier for all involved.
This list is based on my experience and is from the sellers perspective for a sale in Colorado. If you hire a good listing agent, many of these items will happen seamlessly and you will be left to focus on getting your stuff packed and ready to go. I have been a Realtor based in Boulder Colorado since 1991 and I love doing those small things that make it easier for you. When you are ready to list, give me a call – Neil Kearney 303-818-4055