Step 8: Head to Closing

The good news: You’re almost home free (or free of your home in this case). You’ve accepted the buyer’s offer, the negotiations are finally winding down, and there is only one more little box to check: closing.

Get the repairs done

First things first: You’ve got to get those repairs done. We get it—the last thing you want to do now is work on a house you are about to sell. But if you agreed to make repairs or improvements, don’t put them off until the last minute.Getting things done ahead of time will give you plenty of wiggle room if something should still go wrong, or if the buyer finds a problem during the final walkthrough (more on that to come).

So check the approved offer, make a note of any repairs you and the buyer agreed on, and get to it—and don’t forget to cover yourself. Save receipts from items purchased and invoices from contractors, and take before and after photos of any work completed. You will have proof that repairs were completed on the off chance that the buyers contest them during the walkthrough or at closing.

The final walkthrough

Before your closing date—often 24 hours before—the buyers and the buyers’ agent will do one more walk through of the house (for which you should not be present). They will go through every room of the house, inside and outside—a process that typically takes about a half hour. Some buyers will go into detail, testing every light switch. But in most cases, the buyer is just looking to make sure agreed-upon repairs were made and no new issues have crept up before closing.If the buyers do find an issue, you may have a chance to fix the problem ahead of time.If the problem is big enough, you may have to delay your closing date to give time for the repair. But that only happens occasionally. Often, the buyers will take a trade.

The closing

Many closings go smoothly. By this point, the buyers are excited to get into their new house, agreed-on repairs have been made, and the sellers are ready to get out. If things are going smoothly, the closing for you might boil down to a blur of paperwork.Unless problems creep up—or the buyer wants to negotiate further—you only have two jobs: waiting and reading documents. Some are worth perusing more than others. For example, make sure you pay close attention to the settlement statement.It includes the money you’re making on the sale, plus tax implications. Make sure to check that these numbers jibe with what you’ve been told and were expecting—and if not, pull your real estate agent or attorney aside and point them out.

Last-minute drama

So what if things aren’t going smoothly? What if the buyers want to negotiate again? The buyer has the right to hash out concerns up until the time they sign the final document and take possession of your house. It makes sense to at least hear them out. After all, you’ve come this far.

If the buyer is negotiating for something you can solve without amending the terms (say, for example, you can offer up the washer and dryer in the house), you’ll probably be able to hammer those details out at closing.

But if you and the buyer have negotiated a lower price at the last minute, you may have to delay closing.

Once the negotiations are handled and the papers are signed, the buyers’ funds are transferred to your attorney, who will handle the payments to cover your loan and pay your real estate team. Thankfully, this part is handled by someone else.

And then comes the best part: You’ll get a check for the remainder, usually the same day in most states.

In our next (and final) installment, we’ll cover the last step: Officially moving out and moving on!