30 Days To A Smooth Closing- Closing Checklist for Home Sellers

Closing Checklist for Home SellersYou have your house under agreement.  Now it is time to get to the closing and move on.  Having a closing checklist will keep you on track to hit your closing on time.

Hopefully, you have already started packing much of the clutter and non-essential items while preparing your home for sale.

Selling a home is stressful on its own.  Never mind coordinating a closing and a move.  As soon as you get an accepted contract on your home its time to get a timeline together and get organized. 

Here is a closing checklist for home sellers to help you on your way.

Closing Checklist for Sellers

Most closings are between 30 and 60 Days from signing an offer.  Start on your closing checklist as soon as you get an accepted offer.

30-60 Days Before Closing On Your Home

  • Consider your moving date.  It may be prudent to vacate a day earlier and let your belongings sit on a truck overnight.  While it may be more expensive, trying to pack a truck and be on time for a closing can be a harrowing experience.  Plus you have that extra day for any unforeseen issues should arrive. 
  • Review your contract.  Double-check your  contract.  See if there are repairs your contractually obligated to complete and double check what items are staying with the sale.  If you need to hire a professional to do any repairs, now is the time to call them.  
  • Understand you are legally obligated to perform.  Signing a purchase and sale contract with a buyer, legally obligates you to perform.  Missing a date, not completing a repair or not vacating the property on time can cost you. 
  • Schedule Fire Certificate.  In Massachusetts, it is legally required that you have a Smoke Certificate for the closing.  Assess if you need to add or replace any smoke  or carbon monoxide detectors and schedule your appointment with the local fire department.  Do this early in case any issues arise, so you have time to correct any problems.
  • Get packing supplies.  Make sure you have plenty of boxes, tape, tarps etc…  UHaul has prepackaged moving supplies for different size homes you can order or pick up at a full service UHaul center.
  • Assess what items are not moving with you.  Now is the time to order a small dumpster or make arrangements to have unwanted items removed if you haven’t already done so.  If the items are still usable, consider donating, selling or giving away your no longer used items.
  • Start packing.  There is never enough time to pack for your move.  Jump on it right away.  Mark each box with what is in it and what room it will go to in your new home.  This will save a lot of aggravation searching for items when you move.  At this point, start packing items that are not essential to your daily living.
  • Provide the closing attorney with any paperwork.  Most likely you have a mortgage on your home.  You will need to provide the closing attorney with your lender information so they can get a mortgage pay off as well as provide a new deed for the purchaser of your home. The closing attorney should have a checklist of items you need to provide them.  Get your documents in early to prevent any last-minute issues.

Two To Three Weeks Before Closing

  • Confirm your vendors.  Whether it is a UHaul rental, a storage pod rental or a moving company, confirm times and dates with your moving vendor.   First and foremost confirm with your movers the agreed-upon time and date.  If dumpsters are needed to be removed confirm their scheduled removal.  At this point, all unwanted items should have been removed or have a plan on where they are going. If repairs are still outstanding, verify when the repairmen are coming.
  • Transfer, cancel or set up new utility services. Transfer, shut off or initiate your phone, cable, electric, gas, oil, water and sewer.   Have the utilities transferred the day of the closing.  If you shut off utilities prior to the closing the buyers may not have the ability to confirm everything is in working order for the final walkthrough.
  • Change of address.  Notify credit card companies, banks, student loan lenders, auto loan lenders, any subscriptions you may have of your new address. 
  • Set up mail forwarding with the postal service.  Setting up an address change with the United States Postal Service is easy to do online.  This will ensure no mail will slip through the cracks.
  • Start Packing The Essentials.  The big push is on to start packing essential items.  Put a plan in place so everything is packed in a timely manner and only the most essential items are left for the last few days before you move.

3-7 Days Before Closing

  • Organize Your First Day Items.  Gather all the items you will need for your first day so you can access them quickly.   Cleaning supplies, bedding, towels, children’s items, etc… should be readily available for easy access.
  • Consider Your Pets.  Finding a temporary home for you pet for a day or two may cause less stress for them and allow you to focus on the move.  Find a friend or think about boarding your furry friends if you think the move will cause them to much stress.
  • Verify Repairs.  Make sure all repairs are complete.  Sellers should be providing receipts and any warranties for the work performed. 
  • Schedule The Final Walk Through.  It is best to schedule a final walkthrough just before the closing. 

1-2 Days Before The Closing

  • Pack Last Minute Items.  Get toiletries, 2 days worth of clothes, must have children items, food and beverages, pet food, kitty litter etc… packed.
  • Call Your Mover.  Makes sure the moving schedule is on track for moving day.
  • Verify Time and Place of The Closing.  Make sure you know where and when the closing is taking place.
  • Make Sure All Appliances Disconnected.  If you are taking some of your appliance make sure they are fully disconnected.  Again, check your contract and make sure you are not removing something that is  to stay by contract.
  • Organize For Closing.  Make sure you have everything readily available for your closing.  Drivers license, purchase contract, any repair receipts garage door, closers, keys, etc…
  • Clean Your Home.  Most real estate contracts state that your home must be free of all debris, personal belongings and delivered in broom clean condition.  If you didn’t hire professional cleaners give your home a good cleaning before the buyers arrive for  their final walk through.
  • Review your closing disclosure.  Make sure your seller closing costs,

Day Of Closing

  • Pack Your Essential Items In Your Car.  Get your essential first day items packed in the car ready to go.
  • Make Sure Your House is Being Delivered As Per Contract.  Again free of all debris and belongings and in broom clean condition.  Don’t let your closing get hung up over this.
  • Gather All Your Documents and Items for Closing.  Put your closing items in the front seat of your car before the movers come so they don’t get lost.
  • Arrive At Your Closing On Time.  In many states a closing is not complete until the deed is recorded.  This takes time and registries have deadlines for documents to be submitted.  Don’t hold up your own closing.

After The Closing

  • Verify funds.  Make sure the attorney’s check with your proceeds has cleared or the wire has hit your account.
  • Save paperwork.  Save your closing disclosure, contracts, listing sheet, etc…  Make sure your accountant knows you would your house come tax time.  There could be tax deductions as well as tax ramifications.

30 Days to a Smooth Closing- Closing Cost Check list

Final Thoughts on a Closing Checklist For Home Sellers

Being organized, even prior to having an offer on your home, will help you to have a smooth closing.  Packing and moving always takes longer than you think.  

When creating your closing checklist, be specific about your packing goals.  Include dates of when you want certain areas packed.  Not only will it help you stay on track it will let you know if you need to step it up!

If your are purchasing another home and closing on the same day, don’t forget to add mortgage approval milestones to your checklist as well.

Once your home is under agreement, have a definitive plan in place to get you to your closing trouble free.  Rely on your listing agent to help you with a timeline and resources to get you to a smooth closing.

Other Real Estate Resources:
  • Moving can be stressful, but now take it across country.  Bill Gassett provides some great tips on moving across country.  Start with his cross country moving checklist.
  • If you sold your home, there is a good chance you are probably buying a new one.  Michelle Gibson provides a list of must do tasks after closing on the purchase of a new home.
  • Wanting to downsize can be the reason prompting you to move.  Eileen Anderson provides some tips on downsizing and letting go.
  • Often as a home seller you may find yourself in the position of selling your house and finding a new one to purchase.  Paul Sian discusses whether you should try to sell your home before purchasing another.

30 Days To A Smooth Closing- Closing Checklist for Home Sellers, has been provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate.  Kevin is located in Tewksbury MA and services Essex County and Northern Middlesex County.