Do Not Disregard These “Small” Things

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Let me paint a picture: Closing is less than a week away.  You have been constantly calling the mortgage broker for updates on getting a clear to close.  Your current home is a mess filled with boxes and items scattered everywhere.  Movers have not been scheduled yet, your agent is out of town, the attorney just left you a voicemail, and you are stressed out of your mind.

Sound familiar? This scenario is all too common. Buying and selling real estate can be highly stressful and while you are using all your energy focusing on taking care of the obvious, the small, yet important things often get overlooked.

Here is a list of the “smaller” items, that if neglected, can cause a lot of unnecessary stress, financial loss, or even a delay in closing:

  • Deactivating Utilities – this can be a costly mistake if overlooked. Your electric, gas, cable, water, etc. are accounts open in your name.  It is important to remember to call each company ahead of time to schedule the service to be shut off on the day of closing.  If you forget, the new owner of your home may mistakenly interpret your error as a housewarming gift!
  • Mail Forwarding – this one is extremely common.  Do not settle into your new home only to realize a week later that the reason you have not been receiving mail is not because your mailman has been on strike.  This should also be taken care of in advance of closing. Contact USPS via online or phone or you can visit your local post office to have your mail forwarded to your new address.  There may be a nominal fee.  It is also good practice to keep track of all of your bills and publications from the previous month and contact each company to make sure they have your new address so you do not miss any payments. And don’t forget to change your address on your drivers license as well!
  • The Keys – Everything is going smoothly at the closing table and you are about to wrap things up when they buyer asks for the keys to his/her new home. The blood drains from your face because they are at your house which is ten miles away. This happens more than you think.  Bring all the keys you have to the closing table – front door, back door, mailbox, garage, storage…you get the point.  If you are not going to be at closing, plans should be made ahead of time to give them to your agent or attorney to bring to closing.
  • Move In / Move Out Fee – This is usually only applicable to condominiums and co-ops. When you first list your home for sale or go under contract, make sure to contact the condo association or management company immediately to get a sales package.  There are usually many rules and specific procedures to follow when moving in or out. This includes orientation, elevator reservation ahead of time, application, paperwork including right of first refusal, and fees. The rules and stringency of the enforcement is dependent on each association, and some condominiums will not allow you to close on your unit unless everything has been submitted and is in order. Move in/out fees are common and could be easily overlooked. It would be a major inconvenience to have your closing delayed over a couple hundred dollars.

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