The days leading up to a move can be a bit of a whirlwind, add to the mix finalizing a real estate sale and there are a lot of important details to keep track of.
We recommend starting preparations before you list your home for sale, but understand realistically that’s not always possible. Once you have a ratified contract the clock is ticking and it’s important to get organized ASAP and plan for the next steps.
Declutter and donate. Get rid of the no-brainer stuff you know you don't want in your next place. This can be done throughout your entire listing and contract period. Facebook Marketplace, Facebook yardsale or free groups, and Nextdoor are great places to advertise free or for sale items.
Schedule a de-staging date with your stager, if applicable. Reach out to the stager about two weeks before closing so you know you can get on their schedule.
Consider whether you need a storage unit, a dumpster, or a junk removal service, and make arrangements. Ask your stager and your house cleaner if they want your extra stuff.
Book a moving company, if applicable. Try to hold off until a bit later in the contract, in case the contract falls apart due to inspection, financing etc. Email us if you have any questions about this.
Schedule a handyman to do touch up painting, take care of any moving damage or last repairs.
Breathe. Moving is not fun, but you'll get there.
Below are a few checklists that will help you prepare for a smooth closing and help avoid common last-minute headaches. They're listed in order of importance.
1) Fulfilling the Contract Terms
2) Ensuring a Smooth Transition
3) Not Required but Encouraged
4) Things That Help You, The Seller
1) Fulfilling the Contract Terms. This checklist includes things that, if overlooked, can lead to closing delays, monetary disputes and possibly give the buyer the ability to walk away just before closing.
Review your inclusions/exclusions addendum, if applicable, and ensure you leave the proper things behind. Appliances, thermostats, TV mounts, shades/blinds, all convey unless otherwise specified in the contract. Don’t remove or change these things before settlement.
Complete any repairs required by the home inspection. Do this as soon as possible and send us the receipts so that we may forward them to the buyers for their review.
Schedule removal of staging items at least 1 week before settlement (if applicable).
If you think you might end up with trash at the home after your move, schedule a trash or junk removal pick up. Leaving trash in the home (or at the curb, or in the cans) for the final walkthrough is prohibited by the contract and can cause issues.
2) Ensuring a Smooth Transition. This section covers those pesky questions that tend to pop up just before and after closing. "Where are the spare keys? We're missing a garage door opener." And so forth.
Pick a place to leave spare keys, garage door openers and appliance manuals. We suggest a kitchen drawer. Let us know where this will be so we can let the buyer know.
For multi-family homes or planned communities, where is your mailbox located and how do you access it?
If you have a security system, how can the new owners access it? Please leave any manuals and provide access codes.
If there are any key pads, please provide the codes.
Leave all remotes for blinds, fans and anything else in the kitchen drawer.
Leave any keys for safes in the kitchen drawer.
What is your trash collection schedule?
Do a big clean out a week before closing, so you'll catch a regular trash collection prior to walk through and closing. Buyers generally throw a fit if the trash cans are over-flowing when they arrive for their final walk through.
Cancel your utilities on the same date as the buyer will start their service, at the earliest 1 day after settlement to avoid any risk of the utilities being turned off before settlement, or any issues in the event the settlement is delayed.
Will you be leaving behind anything not listed in the contract? Things like paint, extra flooring, exterior stone etc. Let us know so that we can ask the buyer if they want these items.
3) Not Required but Encouraged. This section covers courtesies that you, as a seller, are not required to do, but which will help things run more smoothly on closing day. For example, the contract does not include any language about professional cleaning (unless we agreed to that somewhere) but doing so will sow goodwill with the buyers, and reduce the odds that anyone throws any last minute fits. If you're on a tight closing deadline and really need this to close smoothly, it's wise to consider doing these items.
If you are removing anything mounted to the walls, like pictures, shelves and so forth that would leave holes, consider patching and painting them.
Do a professional cleaning after move out and prior to closing
If applicable, schedule a landscaping service to mow the lawn in the days before closing
Be mindful of any dings or scratches caused during moving, and patch them.
Plan to be fully moved out 24 hours before your closing time. Moving always takes longer than people plan for. Moving delays can cause closing delays.
If you missed your last regular trash pick up...Leave trash and recycling bins empty for the new owners. Consider scheduling an extra pick up, making a trip to the dump, or hiring a junk removal service.
4) Things That Help You, The Seller
Call your mortgage company about when they'll refund your escrows (home owner's insurance and property tax) and where to send the check
Call your insurance company to cancel homeowner's insurance.
HOA: Contact your HOA to cancel any auto-drafts you have set up for dues.
Cancel any lawn services, pool services, pest services, security systems etc.
Call cable and internet provider, discuss a cancellation date for closing day or last day of lease back. Notify us so we can relay to the buyers.
Return any modem, cable boxes etc that are leased from your cable and internet provider.
Look through your list of logins and passwords, or your password manager, for any home-related services or subscriptions you've overlooked.
Update USPS Change of Address/mail forwarding
Update your Driver's License with new address