It Ain’t Over ‘Till…We are at the Closing Table
Why going under contract is NOT the time to celebrate and why doing a specific list of things during this phase of the selling process will make or break your home sale
Want to get the very most money for your home in this hot sellers’ market?
In a hot seller’s market, many people don’t realize there is much more to selling a home than taking a few photos and throwing it on the MLS and waiting for settlement day, especially if you want the very most for it in this hot seller’s market.
This is why I created my series, “Get the Most for Your Home Even In a Hot Seller’s Market” – to help you and anyone you know maximize the profits from your biggest investment and not get “caught up in what other people are doing.”
This is a must-read series, even if you aren’t selling a home anytime soon.
In this article in the series, you’ll learn why going under contract is NOT the time to start celebrating the sale of your home. There is so much that needs to happen between now and settlement and it’s crucial it’s handled correctly. I promise, though, once settlement occurs, THEN we can start throwing the confetti!
Today, you’ll learn what needs to get done and who does what so there are no hiccups during this crucial time of selling your home.
Once a client compared me to a Wedding Coordinator…that is a pretty accurate description of my job from the time you go under contract to even after closing. My job is to work with all parties to make sure everyone does what they are supposed to do so that we get to the closing table on time and with the least amount of stress and hassles (for you) as possible.
I’ll be working with you, the buyer’s agent, the buyer’s lender, the title company and any other vendors we need to involve during this phase of the selling process. My job is to assign tasks, continue to negotiate terms on your behalf and make sure deadlines are met by everyone involved, and then, of course, keep you up to date on the progress along the way.
More than anything, though, my job is to make sure the terms you agreed to when you signed the contract are carried out correctly and on time. Often times, the under-contract phase feels a little “quiet.” That’s because there are more parties involved then before we went under contract. My goal is to make this phase not such a mystery for you and let you know who is doing what when every few days.
Here’s a quick summary of what typically happening behind the scenes from going under contract to settlement:
- Estimated net sheet – talk about the numbers and what to expect (for example, did you know the amount your mortgage says is your balance is NOT the amount of your mortgage payoff, so we’ll be discussing what to expect there)
- Track important dates – The very first thing I do when we go under contract is plot all the important dates in a calendar and share that with you. Depending on the terms you agreed to in the contract, this could be anything from contingencies to document review periods, to when the appraiser is coming to when the home inspection is happening. I make sure you and I both know these crucial deadlines so we can work backwards and make sure everything is done on time and keep all other parties on time too.
- Introductions – Next, I introduce myself and all the other parties involved in the process to each other and make sure they have everything they need, like a copy of the contract, to start their processing of the file. For example, I make sure the title company has a copy of the contract and your contact information so they can start working with you on things like the pay-off statement. I introduce myself to the buyer’s lender and make sure he or she has what they need from our side to start the loan processing. And, I make sure the lender and title company have each other’s contact information since they will need to work closely together throughout the process
- Earnest Money Deposit – Remember, depending on the contract terms you agreed to you don’t always get this money back. So, we’ll review again when the buyer can void and get their deposit back and when you are in the clear to receive their deposit if something changes. Not only that, but it needs to be deposited by a certain date and I follow up to make sure that happens.
- Inspection Process – There are three parts to the inspection that we’ll discuss. Prepping for it, what happens during the inspection and what happens after the inspection. Here’s a quick overview:
- Prepping: You want your home to look the same way it did when the buyers first fell in love with it. So, for this stage, you’ll want to still have it clean, clutter-free and looking its best. I have a guide that will give you room by room instructions on how to prep.
- During the inspection: We will discuss what the inspector will be looking at during the inspection. You’ll want to make sure everything in the house is accessible and in good working order so your home is presented to both the inspector and the buyer in the best possible light.
- After The Inspection: Once the inspection is completed, the ball is in the buyer’s court. The buyers may send a list of requests for repairs, they may void the contract entirely (very rare) or they will move forward by without any requests (also very rare).
Depending on how they move forward after their inspection, we’ll have a game plan—we’ll either review the list of requests and negotiate what you will and won’t do before closing, move forward without having to do a thing, or, in the rare instance where they void entirely, we’ll discuss when and how to put your home back on the market for a buyer who will love it.
- Track the buyer’s loan – I touch base with the buyer’s lender a very specific times during the under-contract period to track the loan, make sure everything is going according to plan, that financing and appraisal contingency dates are being met, that the buyers have received their closing disclosure in the correct amount of time and that the title company has what they need from the lender to close on time on the agreed upon settlement day in the contract.
- Create an appraisal package for the appraiser – This is SO important. Homes are oftentimes selling for more than recent sales aka “the comps” would support. Because of this, I want to make a strong case for the price that you and the buyer have agreed on. I put together a package of material that supports your agreed upon price—things like the recent sales that support our price, a list of updates and improvements you’ve made to the home as well as a summary of how many offers we had and why the price got where it did.
- Vendor list: If you need suggestions for any contractors like moving companies, cleaners, any repairs, I will supply you a list of contractors I’ve used and recommend to make your move and any to-dos easier on you.
- Coordinate the final walk-through – Next up, I’ll coordinate the final walk-through with the buyers. Typically the buyer’s final walk-through happens right before settlement. The point of the final walk-through is to make sure your home is ready for the buyers to take ownership and confirm that any home inspection items that were agreed to be fixed by you have been completed.
- Condition of home at settlement – Speaking of the buyer’s walk-through, one question I get a lot is about the condition a seller’s home must be in for settlement. The contract calls for your home to be in “broom swept” condition with all your belongings out. A good rule of thumb is to leave the home you sold in the same condition you’d like to the home you are moving into left for you. I have a cleaning service that I recommend and can set up for you.
- Final To-Dos – About ten days before settlement, you’ll receive a final list of to-dos from me. It will serve as a reminder about when and how to do things like turn off your utilities, homeowners insurance, as well as gather things like keys, garage clickers, storage keys, alarm codes, etc—all the “tiny” things the buyers needs so you don’t have to think about it.
- Closing Day Logistics – I’ll make sure you know where to go, what you need to bring and what to expect on closing day.
- Next Day Check In – Last, but not least, I’ll touch base with you after the settlement to make sure you’ve received your funds in full and answer any last questions you have about your sale!
- Celebrate! Now’s the time to throw the confetti and finally celebrate. You’re officially DONE!
Phew! There’s a lot to do once you are under contract to ensure everything goes smoothly. But, don’t worry, I’ll be with you every step of the way being your event coordinator / project manager and giving you updates weekly and at every important milestone. And, although I love having a plan so everything goes like clockwork, I’ve also got a plan b AND c so that no matter what happens, we won’t loose anytime getting you to closing on time.
If you’ve been thinking about selling your home and want to know how to get the very most for it or you just want to handle over the keys and let me handle it all, I got you. The first step is for us to have a conversation about why you want to sell, where you are headed and when you want to be there. Email me at Jennifer@movewithmestayer.com and let’s get MOVING!
I'm Jennifer Mestayer (Med-E-A) and I love helping Cypress families buy and sell their
homes as they move through the varying stages of life. From first homes to forever homes...
Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
Cy-Fair Real Estate
16718 House & Haul Rd, St N
Cypress, TX 77433
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