Final Closing Steps
You will be closing escrow soon. Lets not forget to do some simple closing steps. Lets tie up some loose ends and move on!
1. Take services out of your name….closing steps one
Avoid a dispute with the buyers after closing over things like fees for the cable service you forgot to discontinue. Contact every utility and service provider to end or transfer service to your new address as of the closing date. The close of escrow day belongs to the buyer. So make your last day of service the day before.
If you’re on an automatic-fill schedule for heating oil or propane, don’t pay for a pre-closing refill that provides free fuel for the new owner.
2. Home Owners Insurance…closing steps two
Contact your insurer to terminate coverage on your old home, get coverage on your new home, and ask whether you’re entitled to a refund of prepaid premium.
3. Spread the word on your change of address…closing steps three
Provide the post office with your forwarding address two to four weeks before the closing. Also notify credit card companies, publication subscription departments, friends and family, and your financial institutions of your new address.
4. Manage the movers….closing steps four
Scrutinize your moving company’s estimate. If you’re making a long-distance move, which is often billed according to weight, note the weight of your property. Also check with your homeowners insurer about coverage for your move. Usually movers cover only what they pack.
5. Do the settlement math….closing steps five
Title company employees are only human, so they can make mistakes. The day before your closing, check the math on your HUD-1 Settlement Statement.
Are all mortgages being paid off, and are the payoff amounts correct? If your real estate agent promised you extras—such as a discounted commission or a home warranty policy—make sure that’s included. Also check whether your real estate agent or title company added fees that weren’t disclosed earlier. If any party suggests leaving items off the settlement statement, consult a lawyer about whether that might expose you to legal risk.
Be sure the settlement company properly credited you for prepaid expenses, such as property taxes and homeowners association fees, if applicable. If you’ve prepaid taxes for the year, you’re entitled to a credit for the time you no longer own the home. Have you been credited for heating oil or propane left in the tank?
6. Don’t leave money in escrow…..closing steps six
End your home sale closing with nothing unresolved. Make sure the title company releases money already held in escrow for you, and avoid leaving sales proceeds in a new escrow to be dickered over later.
Every home contains a lot of furniture, clothes, kitchen equipment, pictures and other items. For a short move, it may be worthwhile to transport small goods by yourself, but larger items will likely require a professional mover. Either way this can be done in stages to reduce the stress of packing all your worldly belongings.
How do you plan a move?
The time to plan your move begins once you’ve decided to sell your home. Some of the activities required to sell the home can actually help with the moving process. For example, cleaning out closets, basements, garages and attics means there will be less to do once the home is under contract.
Your planning will be guided by a number of things:
- Are you moving a long distance? If yes, you’ll likely require an interstate mover and the use of a large van.
- Moving internationally. Contact the embassy in Washington, D.C., for information. Be aware that items which may be entirely common in the United States can be prohibited in foreign countries. Ask about customs protocols, duties and taxes.
- Moving locally? If yes, will you move yourself? You’ll need to consider packing boxes, peanuts, blankets or padding and a van rental.
- Planning is key. Stock up on boxes, packing materials, tape and markers. Always mark boxes so that movers or you will know where goods should be placed.
Who should you use?
There are a number of factors to consider. Money is one issue: You’ll want to spend as little as possible, but choosing only on the basis of cost can be a mistake. Movers must have the right equipment, training and experience to do a good job. A mover, no matter how large or small, should be able to provide recent references for homesellers with a similar volume of goods to transport.
Get mover estimates in writing. Be aware that it’s possible to get discounts through membership organizations and, sometimes, on the basis of your profession: Clergy, for example, sometimes qualify for a discount.
Always confirm mover credentials. Movers should be licensed and bonded as required in your state, and employees should have workman’s comp insurance.
Get a checklist.
Moving is a big job and checklists can make it more organized and easier. Here are some of the major items to consider:
- Money. If you’re moving more than a few miles then you should have enough cash or credit to cover travel, food, transportation and lodging.
- Medicine. Keep medicines and related prescriptions in a place where they will be available during the move.
- Number boxes so that all items can be counted on arrival. Make a list of boxes by number and indicate their contents.
- If moving with children, make sure that each has a favorite toy or toys, blankets, games, music and other goods.
- Moving historic, breakable or valued items? Such goods routinely require special handling and packaging.
- Have address books readily available in case you need help.
- If you have a laptop computer with a modem, make it accessible during your trip to pick up business and personal e-mail.