So you made the decision to put your home for sale. You’ve worked with an agent, had photos taken and a listing published, had showings and finally accepted an offer. Now what?
To be quite honest, this is just the beginning! After coming to a mutually accepted offer with buyers there is still much more to be done before the sale is complete. No need to worry though, you will have some time to get it all straightened out. A typical home sale takes 30-45 days to close and you will have until then to complete the tasks and move out of your home. We have sold three homes in the last six years so you could say we have a good amount of experience with it! I’ve laid out the basics for you to reference here.
Now is the time to get rid of or sell items that you did not remove prior to listing. This can be done through a garage sale, listing for sale on Facebook, donating to charity, etc or a mix of the methods.
Once you have packed up everything you will be taking with you upon moving and sold or donated everything else, it’s important to deep clean for the new owners. I have personally done all of it myself one time and hired a professional cleaner to help the last two times. Depending on your abilities, availability and stage of life, determine what is best for you. I find it to be much less stressful to hire help if you can. You will be so busy packing and organizing that it is a huge relief having someone help you. I usually do the basic cleaning such as vacuum bedrooms myself to minimize the cost a bit but bring in the professionals to deep clean bathrooms and kitchen especially. The refrigerator and range can be incredibly time consuming and the professionals know how to get them looking their best.
Removing your name from the utilities is one of the last tasks to complete but it is an important step. Be sure to call the companies that provide you water, sewer, electric, gas, cable, internet, and garbage, etc so that they stop charging you for the services one you have signed the home over to the new owners. Request that you make the home sale closing date your final day for charges and provide them with your forwarding address if requested. Oftentimes the billing system runs behind usage so don’t be surprised if you see one last bill a few weeks or a month later.
Set Up Mail Forwarding
Setting up mail forwarding is quick and easy. If you are living in the US, simply go to your local Post Office to request the form or go online to the USPS website here and provide them with your information. It will cost $1.05 to verify your identity with the online submission (as of August 2021).
Closing Day: Sign at the Title Company
Typically sellers will sign closing documents at the title company on the same day that they will be required to be completely out of the house but this can change on a case by case basis. The closing documents finalize the sale with a notary present. You will need your Drivers License or other government issued ID with you to verify your identity. This generally takes 30 minutes to a hour and a half but is typically quicker for sellers and longer for the buyers.
Cancel Homeowners Insurance
Once your home is officially sold and out of your name you will want to be sure to contact your agent to stop your homeowners insurance. This way you will stop getting charged for the insurance costs going forward. Usually a quick email or phone call will do the trick.
Keep Settlement Documents
These documents will be needed at tax time so be sure to hang on to them!
So I just BOUGHT a home...now what?!
Very similar steps apply for those buying a home. You will still want to keep settlement documents from the title company, switch over your mail, utilities and homeowners insurance. Depending on how the seller left the home you may not have to do a deep clean as most will have already had that done for you though another round of cleaning never hurts, especially if weeks have passed since the seller moved out. You’d be surprised how quickly dust and bugs can show up.
Hopefully you thought ahead when packing because now it is time to unpack. I like to start with the clothes, shoes and toiletries that are used often, if not daily. Be sure to know where medications and first aid equipment, flashlights, phone chargers, etc are the first day. Basic kitchen items such as plates, silverware, and drinking glasses should be a priority as well. It can be easy with all of the excitement of finally being in your new home to get carried away and focus on decorating but it will be far less stressful for you getting the basics out of the way first.
Be prepared to get rid of more items too. No matter how much you got rid of prior to moving there is a good chance you will feel differently about a number of items after unpacking them, especially if they have been stored for a while. Once you are done unpacking, take the boxes to your local recycling center or post on Facebook or Craigslist to see if someone else can use them. The last thing you need is a pile of cardboard boxes in your way for weeks.
Have you moved recently or have any tips to add? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
This post was written in partnership with The Jerry Blankers Team and is published at www.jerryblankers.com/blog. All opinions are my own. If you are in need of a realtor in Whatcom County, WA, we used them for our most recent land purchase and home sale and I highly recommend them! You can give them a call at 360-410-1297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Kassi@muljatgroupnorth.com. Instagram: @blankersrealestate