Closing on a Home, The Sellers Responsibilities

Closing on a home is the final step in selling one’s home. It is then that ownership legally transfers from the seller to the buyer. There are several steps to take for the closing or settlement to take place. The closing typically takes place four to six weeks after the purchase and sale agreement has been signed.

Within 24 hours of the settlement the buyers are able to do a walk through of the property. This is their chance to make sure the seller has adhered to the conditions of the purchase and sale agreement and home inspection related repairs.

To prepare for the walk through the seller needs to be completely moved out and the home spotless. The one exception may be leftover paint from colors currently in use, if the buyers want it. It is considerate to leave owner’s manuals and warranties for home appliances for the buyer. It is helpful to leave receipts from contractors for repairs with the manuals. It is also considerate to leave contact information for contractors and maintenance companies who have worked on the home.

The seller is fully responsible for the home until the settlement is complete. With the buyer’s knowledge and permission, it is a good idea to turn off water shut off valves 24 hours before closing. In the same vein and at the same time the seller should close window coverings, lock doors, and leave lights on. If the buyer discovers anything problematic during the walk through it will have to be addressed or the closing might be delayed.

The seller should coordinate with the buyer so that all utilities including water and cable are transferred to the buyer on closing day. The seller should also set up a forwarding address with the U.S. Postal Service.

Sellers usually pay between 5 and 10 percent of the final sale price in closing costs. These costs are usually deducted from the proceeds from the sale, assuming the seller has sufficient equity in the home. Closing costs for sellers include commissions for real estate agents, transfer taxes or recording fees, loan payoff costs, outstanding homeowner association dues, prorated property taxes, and escrow, title, or attorney fees.

Closings usually take place at the title company, attorney’s office, or the buyer’s or seller’s agent’s real estate office. The seller should bring to the closing a government issued photo ID, a copy of the ratified sales contract, all property keys and garage remotes, and a cashier’s check or proof of wire transfer if the closing costs aren’t being deducted from the sales price.

Selling one’s home is an involved process of a very major asset. There is a lot at stake. Work with your attorney from the outset to advocate for your interests and to protect your assets.

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