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What Happens Before and After Closing for Sellers?

Jan 18, 2023


What Happens Before and After Closing for Sellers?


Buying a home can be a daunting task, but selling one is not without its challenges. If you're ready to sell, you might be unsure of your responsibilities, especially if you've never been on this side of a real estate transaction before.


Here is an outline of what to expect before and after closing, from the time you receive the offer letter until you turn over the keys.




Whether you've had your home on the market for several days or several weeks, it's always an exciting but nerve-wracking moment when your real estate agent calls to say you have an offer. Questions about how much the offer is and how soon does the buyer want to close will leap into your mind!


But take it one step at a time. Review the offer with your agent. They can tell you if the offer is fair and reasonable. And chances are they've had a discussion with the buyer's agent to have some idea of whether there is room for negotiation on the price or if countering the offer is possible.


In addition to the price, the offer letter will include a tentative closing date usually set four to six weeks from the date of the letter. Before you sign the letter, review the closing date, and make sure it's realistic for you. If you don't yet have a place to move, you might want to negotiate a later date to give yourself more time to find your own new home.


Once both you and the buyer agree on the price and closing date, you'll sign the offer letter, and the home selling process will be underway.




The next step is the title search. This review of public records, such as property deeds and tax assessments, verifies that you are indeed the owner of the property and have the right to sell it.




Once it's confirmed that you own the home and are legally able to sell it, the next step is the home inspection. The buyer initiates this process by engaging the services of a home inspector.


The seller's responsibility at this stage is to make sure that all areas of your home are accessible to the inspector. It also helps to have available any documentation you have on major repairs or purchases you've made for the home. Records that show the exact age of the roof and the HVAC units, for example, can help take any potential guesswork out of the inspector's job.




Once the inspection has been completed, the real work for the seller begins. Chances are the inspection will turn up at least a few repairs that the buyer would like to have completed before the sale closes.


Depending on the state of the market and whether it's favoring buyers or sellers, these repairs could be minor, such as repairing a leaky faucet, or major, such as putting on a new roof.


If the market is tight and buyers are competing for available homes, your buyer will be less likely to nitpick over small repairs. But if your home has been on the market for a while, you might take on a more expensive repair just to make sure the deal doesn't fall through.


Either way, the buyer will submit a list of the repairs they'd like to see and you, as the seller, negotiate what you're willing to do. Most sellers will try to avoid assuming responsibility for a big-ticket repair, such as a new roof. But keep in mind the market you're selling in and - if it's favoring buyers - be willing to concede on price if you refuse.




Once the repairs have been made and the closing date is almost here, the buyer and their agent will conduct a final walkthrough. They will use this opportunity to confirm that the repairs you agreed to do have been made and that the house is in the condition they expect for the sale to proceed.




The big day is finally here! As the seller, closing is usually a smooth process. All you need to do is bring your ID, the keys and (if applicable) garage door openers, and any documentation demonstrating the repairs you completed.


Once you've signed the paperwork, the buyer will complete their closing paperwork. The deed will be recorded, and you'll receive a check for the proceeds of the sale.




Once closing is completed, you are no longer the owner of the property. By this point you should have vacated the premises, unless you've arranged with the buyer to rent the property back for a few days to complete your own move.


Shortly after the sale, you will receive a document showing the release from your mortgage on the property. Retain this document for reference when filing your income taxes.


Congratulations, you've sold your home!




Whether you're buying or selling, an experienced real estate professional can help make the process a smooth one for you. If you're ready to get started with the process of selling your home, give us a call today at 260-248-8961 to connect with an Orizon Real Estate agent!