Finally, the day has arrived where all the work pays off.
The day of closing. It is the day when the sale transaction is officially completed.
You will sign a lot of paperwork, including signing the deed or the transfer to the property over to the buyer. Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer about any documents you don’t understand. You have the right to know what you’re signing.
The closing will take place at the office of your lawyer, title agent or escrow agent. Once all paperwork has been signed and funds have been disbursed, the buyer is officially the new owner of the property.
Ideally, your lawyer will hand you a complete package containing all your documents at closing as sometimes these documents can get scattered.
Turn off shut-off valves to sinks, toilets, dishwashers, the water heater, refrigerator and washing machine. Leave a note for the buyers so they won’t call a plumber. Turn off all switches for lights and fans. Some sellers flip all of the circuit breakers to off. This might be overdoing it, but it keeps them from paying for any electricity until the account is switched.
Wait until you know the deed has recorded or the title transfer has formally occurred, to call your insurance agent. You should receive a refund of any prepaid premiums for your homeowner’s insurance.
Cancel the utilities and stop the newspaper. It is also the time that utilities should switch to the new owner and things like landline telephones, cable and internet accounts and the like are turned off.
Leave all house keys, remotes, gate keys, pool keys, garage, mailbox, shed keys and remote garage door controllers for the new owner.
The buyers will probably change the locks, but this won’t happen the instant they move in. Put them in a kitchen drawer or other location that is easily found.
Assemble a packet of appliance manuals, receipts, and any warranties as well. You might have come across manuals for the HVAC, security system, sprinkler system, or appliances as you were packing. If you have receipts from contractors, warranties, and termite inspections put them into an envelope and leave them in a drawer as well, along with the manuals and the code for the security alarm.
After confirming with your lawyer to make sure the money has changed hands and the title has transferred to the new owner, it’s time to hand over the keys.
There are several ways that this can be done. The lawyers can look after them, you can meet the buyers directly and hand the keys to them or you can put the keys in some form of lockbox and give the buyers the entry code. All of them work well. Your primary job is to make sure you are completely out of the property by the specified time on possession day.
Most buyers’ complaints on closing day centre around the cleanliness of the property or the seller took something the buyer thought was going to stay. You as the seller are required to leave all permanently attached fixtures. A permanently attached fixture is anything that won’t work unless it is plumbed, wired or built into the structure. Unless it has been specified in the contract that “it” will be removed, all permanently attached fixtures must stay. The most common disputes are over appliances. As a general example, fridges, stoves, washers and dryers are not permanently attached and must be stipulated in the contract if they are to stay. A built-in dishwasher stays because it’s “built-in”.
If there are any questions, contact your lawyer for clarification.