There are certain things on a home selling checklist that every responsible seller should do.
You would utilize your home closing checklist after all of your personal belongings and furniture have been moved.
1. Retain Executed Seller Disclosures, Purchase Contract and Addendums
Ideally, you will be handled a complete closing package by your escrow officer or closing agent. But you could also find some of these documents scattered about in your car or at your office. Keep all of these documents in a safe place. It’s conceivable you could need them again, especially if a bill was unpaid or the buyer gets ticked off for some reason and hires a lawyer.
2. Clean the House
If you don’t have time to clean, then at least hire a professional cleaning service. How clean to leave a house is often personal preference. It’s not always necessary to shampoo the carpets, but that’s a nice touch. This also means wipe down cabinets, inside and out. It doesn’t hurt to make your last impression on the buyer a good one by polishing sink fixtures. Leave your home the way you, as a buyer, would like to find it.
3. Turn Off Shut-Off Valves
If you have disconnected a washer, for example, make sure the shut-off value is completely turned off because a small drip, drip, can eventually flood a home. Some sellers shut off the valves to all water sources such as sinks, toilets and dishwashers, too. Leave a note for the buyers so they won’t call a plumber when the water won’t turn on.
4. Attend the Final Walk-Through
There are so many quirks that only a home seller knows, and you could pass on these tips to a new home buyer during the final walk-through. Things like which light switch operates the lights, whether a door sticks, or how to clean a swimming pool. I like to ask sellers what they always wanted to do for a home improvement project but never got around to doing.
5. Cancel Your Insurance Policies
Wait until you know the deed has recorded or title transfer has formally occurred before you call your insurance agent. You should receive a refund from a prepaid premium for your homeowner’s insurance.
6. Cancel or Transfer Utilities, Stop the Newspaper
Make up a list of phone numbers in advance of each of your utility companies. Not every utility is always paid monthly, some are quarterly. If you subscribe to the newspaper, you might have to order your cancellation a week or more in advance to stop newspapers from piling up in the front yard.
7. Leave House Keys, Remotes, Gate Keys, Mailbox Keys
Even though the buyers will probably change the locks, find every house key, remotes for the garage or ceiling fans, keys to the gate and mailbox, if any, and put them in a kitchen drawer.
8. Assemble Appliance Manuals, Receipts and Warranties
As you were packing, you may have come across manuals for the HVAC, security or sprinkler system or appliances, and set them aside. If you have receipts from contractors or warranties, put them into an envelope and leave them in a drawer with the manuals, along with the code for the security alarm.
9. Check Cabinets, Drawers and Storage
If your spouse or friend says she has gone through every room with a fine tooth comb looking for anything left behind, run one more check. You may find nothing more than a razor in the shower, but at least you’ll be able to shave in the morning. It will give you peace of mind. I once forgot a black felt hat I loved, which was adorned with long peacock feathers, on the top shelf of a closet and never got over that loss.
10. Close Drapes / Blinds, Turn off Lights and Lock the Door
You would think this would be a given, but you’d be amazed at how many people forget to close up the house. If nobody can see inside, the odds of a break-in decline. If the home will be vacant for a long time, consider leaving behind an inexpensive lamp on a timer.