I was preparing for an upcoming closing and I developed a check list for my seller to help them prepare for the process. Often, seller's have so much on their plates it is easy to forget what needs to be done. This check list will help make the process of closing run smoothly.
1. Set or confirm the closing date and time. Your attorney's office usually communicates the closing date with the buyer's attorney, but follow-up so everyone is on the same page. A final walk through of the home with the buyer should be scheduled within 24 hours of closing and soon after the seller has moved out. Each agent and the buyer is there for the final walk through of the home.
2. Please make sure your attorney sends a letter of confirmation outlining the items (if any) completed on the inspection list. If items were not going to be completed, the attorney should also communicate the details to the buyer's attorney. Don't wait till the last minute. If communicated in advance of the closing, no issues come up at the closing table.
3. Bring the following to the closing:
a. final water bill marked paid;
b. town inspection of fire, safety or Certificate of Occupancy (CO);
c. proof of fire extinguisher/location, carbon monoxide & smoke detectors;
d. final tax bill from the town marked paid.
4. If the home is heated by oil, call the oil company for the current value and bring the statement to the closing. You will need this for reimbursement or payment for fuel left for the new homeowners. You may need to transfer the oil tank insurance to the new homeowner.
If you have converted from oil heat to gas, you will need to bring proof that your old oil tank was properly decommissioned. Both the state of New Jersey and local towns have strict rules about doing this properly.
5. Contact your gas, electric and water utilities. Communicate the closing date and request a bill marked final meter reading. Bring this to the closing.
6. Review your final estimated closing costs with your attorney. This is sometimes called a HUD or RESPA statement. It should explain all fees, real estate transfer fees/taxes, taxes/municipal fees, commissions and other details specific to your closing. Your attorney will prepare a draft a few days prior to closing.
7. If appropriate, order the 1 year Homeowner's Warantee for the buyer and make sure that it is paid for at the time of closing.
8. Always leave a list of phone numbers for the new buyer including the landscaper, pool person and/or snow removel contractor and/or homeowner association contacts. It is also a good idea to leave current menus from local restaurants, banks, medical facilities, etc. to help your new homeowner get oriented to the neighborhood.
And, last but certainly not least, make sure all items are removed from the home. Check the attic, basement and other areas. The home should be left "broom clean."
Copyright Pamela Stetson 2012