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25 Apr

10 Things No Seller Should Forget on Closing

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Don’t be a victim of home seller’s brain freeze. It’s happened to the best of us – there is so much excitement during the process of selling your home, it’s easy to get distracted and forget something when closing. You frantically start packing boxes and preparing for move-out day, but then the day arrives and you feel like a scatterbrain.

We’ve compiled a checklist of closing day must-dos that no seller should forget.

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Be a walk-through wonder

A home buyer will almost always request at least one walk-through of the home prior to closing. If the buyer agrees, be in attendance on their final walk-through so that you can point out any little details of the home to the purchaser. This may include items that are often unnoticed until you’re living in the home such as specific switches for lights or appliances, how to manage a door or window that sticks, or even showing the new owners how to clean the pool effectively if there is one. Advising the buyer of these things up front or even preparing a reference sheet on these items will make the transition smoother and minimizes the risk of recourse after closing. 


Paperwork portfolio

When accepting an offer for the sale of your home, a list of disclosures is often included with pertinent documents. Keep an organized file that contains this list of disclosures, the purchase contract and closing statement. Ensure that you are abiding by all of the pre-determined closing terms as per those disclosures. Once the closing date comes, do not add this file to the bonfire pile. You will find that paperwork is often referred to throughout the process of closing and even well after. Closing documents will come in handy in the event the buyer questions the way something was left in the home or if the buyer comes back to you regarding inclusions or damages.


Cancel insurance

Who enjoys paying for something they don’t own? Not you? That’s what we thought. So why continue to pay insurance for a house you no longer live in? Ensure that the deed for sale is recorded with the lawyer legally, then notify your insurance company of the closing date. If you have a prepaid premium, you may even be entitled to receive a refund for any overpayment in the term coverage. If you have purchased a new home, make sure you also establish a new policy for the purchase closing date to ensure you have coverage from day one. 


Terminate utilities

Ensure that you also contact all utility companies to advise them of your closing date. This ensures that you are only held liable for the period in which you own the home. Leave any helpful contact information for the new home owner so that they can easily contact these sources to establish accounts in their name to avoid a disruption of service. This should not only be done for utilities like hydro, gas and water, but also for phone, cable, internet companies and newspaper services as well. Have all other mail re-directed through the postal office or ensure you contact companies on an individual basis to ensure the proper delivery of your mailed items after you have moved.


Leave sparkle and shine

The home you are selling should be left in a way that you would hope to find it in if you were walking in as the buyer…turn-key, ready to just move into and enjoy! Cleaning the home often includes vacuuming and/or mopping floors, wiping down cabinetry inside and out and polishing fixtures. Most sellers feel they cannot get a good grip on this task until absolutely everything has been moved out of the home and it is completely empty. Once everything has been removed, it will be easy to whip through the home with a vacuum, duster and wiping cloths. With the hustle and bustle of moving days, if you don’t have time to clean, then hire a cleaner. Leaving your home clean is one added touch that shows the buyer you care and can potentially help you avoid problems.


Safety first: valves off

A buy and sell transaction does not always mean that you will be moving out and the new owner moving in right on the closing date – there is sometimes a gap of time between. As a precautionary measure, ensure the home is safe from any possible leaking or water damage by shutting off the valves to water sources, especially those you may have disconnected appliances from such as wash machines or dishwashers. If valves are shut off, leave a note for the buyer so that they don’t panic thinking something is wrong with the water line when they do move in.


Keys & remotes 

In addition to providing house keys to your lawyer upon closing, ensure you leave any spare sets of keys in the home and available for the purchaser. Also leave garage door opener remotes, gate keys and mailbox keys easily accessible. Although the purchaser may change the door locks, they will require all keys initially, especially if there are multiple people moving in. Keeping these items together in a safe place would be helpful so that the purchaser does not have to search through the home to find them.


Prepare a manual package

Retain any manuals that accompany appliances and keep them together in a package. Provide this package to the purchaser so that they can easily refer to them for helpful operating instructions or repair tips should something happen after closing. This package should also include any receipts or warranties that may pertain to appliances and equipment also. If you have a security alarm system or keypad for the remote garage door opener, ensure you leave the current codes for the purchaser. You might be leaving the neighbourhood, but your neighbours will thank you when they don’t have to hear sirens and alarms ringing non-stop.


Check and re-check

Once you have fully removed your belongings and cleaned the home, do a final walk-through and make sure you have not forgotten anything behind. Check inside all cabinet drawers and cupboards, in closets and on shelves, bathroom vanities and even in the shower. Chances are you may have one last night at your old place and leaving behind your favourite shampoo or body wash is a small inconvenience you don’t need when you wake up to get ready in your new home.


Close-up shop

When you are finally ready to leave the home for the last time, close all blinds and drapes, turn off all lights and lock the door. If the home looks vacant, the possibility of a break-in is greater. Close window coverings to prevent people from peeking in the windows to discover an empty house. Shut off all lights and unplug appliances so the purchaser isn’t paying for electricity they didn’t use after closing. Alternately, if you are moving out of the home for an extended period before closing, consider leaving a lamp on a timer so that light being on periodically gives the appearance of occupancy. Wave one last goodbye…it’s time to create new memories in your next home!


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