For the seller, the closing isn’t going to be as stress-provoking as it can be for the buyer. In fact, for sellers, closings are eagerly awaited because it’s pay-off time. Even so, you will have a number of details to look after. To be on the safe side, do some contingency planning to protect yourself against delays.

Your buyer is obligated to secure his financing within a reasonable period of time. But delays do occur. So, if you’re selling your house in order to buy or lease another residence, and your buyer is doing the same thing, any slowdown along the line causes a chain reaction that affects you.

Living Arrangements

You should have some back-up living arrangement in place, in case your closing is delayed. Then, if you can’t close on the residence you plan to move into, you won’t feel as though you have to pitch a tent on the sidewalk.

Your agent knows all about this kind of problem and may be able to help you find temporary quarters at a reasonable price if it looks as though you might need them.

While you’re waiting, you’ll want to find out if you are due any refunds from your mortgage lender for prepaid taxes, home insurance, or mortgage insurance. Request a pay-off statement from your lender, since this is your money. It can amount to several thousand dollars, so the effort is worth the investment of your time.

Buyers usually like to make a last-minute inspection, generally on the day of the closing or just before it is scheduled to take place. They simply want to make sure that everything is there and in good shape. If the buyer doesn’t contact you about this inspection, set it up yourself. It’s as much a protection for you as it is for the buyer.

What to Bring

When you go to the closing, you’ll already have a list of the fees you’ll be expected to pay out of the proceeds of the sale. That will include the agent’s commission, any attorney’s fees, and any other fees you’ve agreed to pay in your contract with the buyer, i.e., title check and insurance, home inspection, and so on. If you’re being charged a fee you don’t feel you should have to pay, the time to bring it up is before the closing.

You should also bring with you any documents relating to the property – old surveys, certificates of occupancy, building permits, or any other correspondence with municipalities, real estate agents, or insurers. You’d be surprised at how often in the middle of a closing the bank’s representative will say, “But where is …… ?” while everyone looks blankly at one another because no one thought to bring it.

Last, but not least, you should make sure everything you intend to keep is removed from

the property before the closing. Legally, anything you leave behind belongs to the buyer and misunderstandings over who gets what can easily flare up if you come back a few days later to pick up something you didn’t intend to include in the sale. It’s wise to make sure everything is out of the house, or garage, or tool shed in advance.

Oh. Bring the keys. Although buyers usually will change the locks anyway, handing over the keys is a nice symbolic gesture everyone enjoys.

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