Whether you're buying or selling a home, closing day can be a stressful part of the process. The closing day is when everything related to your real estate transaction becomes finalized. Luckily, closing often goes smoothly — especially when you have a great real estate agent working with you throughout the process.
Once the sale is final, there are often still a few things you need to do. None of these steps are as big or as complex as what you've already been through but making sure they are taken care of will go a long way toward protecting you from last-minute hiccups.
Let's review some of the most important considerations you shouldn't forget:
- Take Utilities Out of Your Name – Fast!
Remove your name from all utilities as soon as possible after closing. Contact every utility and service provider, preferably on the day closing takes place. It could be much more difficult to get this done once you move out. Don't forget about insurance: You may be eligible for a refund of any prepaid premium on your old homeowner's policy.
- Change Your Address
Change your address with the post office about two to four weeks before your closing date. If you forget or decide to wait until things are really final, don't forget you can file your change of address with the USPS online. The IRS also offers an address change procedure. Check in with your local DMV to ensure your license will have the correct address, too.
- Make Moving Out Easier
Take a close look at any moving company estimate, especially before a long-distance move. Most movers will only insure what they pack themselves, so consider supplemental insurance for anything else. Be present during packing to ensure a higher quality of service. Excessive packing material can raise the weight of your items, leading to heftier charges.
- Double-Check Your Settlement
Even in a detail-oriented situation like closing on a home, mistakes do happen. To be certain everything is accurate, get out a copy of your closing disclosure and compare it to your loan estimate. You might save hundreds or even more if you happen to spot a discrepancy. The best time to do this is right away, so you can report any problems within 24 hours of the closing day.
- Your Closing Documentation
The worst-case scenario is this: A tiny typo leads to a situation where mortgages that should be paid off aren't. Reread all closing docs to ensure mortgages are fully paid and payoff amounts are correct. Also, keep your eyes peeled for any additional fees added by the title company. As closing approaches, fees become easier to estimate and should be disclosed well in advance.
- Empty the Escrow Account
Don't forget: Unused funds that you placed in escrow belong to you. There are two situations where this can cause headaches. More commonly, the title company fails to release escrow-held funds in a timely manner so you can access them. Occasionally, sellers make the mistake of leaving sales proceeds in a new escrow account, leading to complications down the line.
Closing day is a huge milestone for anyone — it marks true success in selling your home. To maximize your profits and minimize frustration, plan on two extra days to manage these last six issues. You'll be glad you did!