Why going under contract is NOT the time to celebrate and why doing a specific list of things during this phase of the selling process will make or break your home sale
Want to get the very most money for your home in this hot sellers’ market?
In a hot seller’s market, many people don’t realize there is much more to selling a home than taking a few photos and throwing it on the MLS and waiting for settlement day, especially if you want the very most for it in this hot sellers market.
This is why I created my series, “Get the Most for Your Home Even In a Hot Seller’s Market” - to help you and anyone you know maximize the profits from your biggest investment and not get “caught up in what other people are doing.”
This is a must-read series, even if you aren’t selling a home anytime soon.
In this article in the series, you’ll learn why going under contract is NOT the time to start celebrating the sale of your home. There is so much that needs to happen between now and settlement and it’s crucial it’s handled correctly. I promise, though, once settlement occurs, THEN we can start throwing the confetti!
Today, you’ll learn what needs to get done and who does what so there are no hiccups during this crucial time of selling your home.
Think of me as the project manager or even the event coordinator from the time you go under contract to even after settlement. My job is to work with all parties to make sure everyone does what they are supposed to do so that we get to the settlement on time and with the least amount of stress and hassles (for you) as possible.
I’ll be working with you, the buyer’s agent, the buyer’s lender, and any other vendors we need to involve during this phase of the selling process. My job is to assign tasks, continue to negotiate terms on your behalf and make sure deadlines are met by everyone involved, and then, of course, keep you up-to-date on the progress along the way.
More than anything, though, my job is to make sure the terms you agreed to when you signed the contract are carried out correctly and on time. Oftentimes, the under contract phase feels a little “quiet.” That’s because there are more parties involved than before we went under contract. My goal is to make this phase not such a mystery for you and let you know who is doing what when every few days.
Here’s a quick summary of what typically happens behind the scenes from going under contract to settlement:
• Estimated net sheet - talk about the numbers and what to expect (for example, did you know the amount your mortgage says is your balance is NOT the amount of your mortgage payoff, so we’ll be discussing what to expect there)
• Track important dates - The very first thing I do when we go under contract is plot all the important dates in a calendar and share that with you. Depending on the terms you agreed to in the contract, this could be anything from conditions to document review periods, to when the appraiser is coming to when the home inspection is happening. I make sure you and I both know these crucial deadlines so we can work backward and make sure everything is done on time and keep all other parties on time too.
• Engage your lawyer – If I haven’t already, I introduce myself and all the other parties involved in the process to each other and make sure they have everything they need, like a copy of the contract, to start their processing of the file. For example, I make sure your lawyer has a copy of the contract and your contact information so they can start working with you on the closing process.
• Order condo docs, if necessary - Next up, I’ll work with you to get the condo docs that haven’t been purchased already, ordered on a “rush” so we can get those to the buyer as quickly as possible.
• Deposit – I will collect the deposit in draft form or notify you when it has been received as a wire. It will be held in trust by my brokerage until close to your closing date at which time it will be sent to your lawyer as part of the buyer’s payment. If the buyer does waive their conditions it will be returned to the buyer. It needs to be deposited by a certain date as stated in the contract and I follow up to make sure that happens.
• Inspection Process - There are three parts to the inspection that we’ll discuss. Prepping for it, what happens during the inspection and what happens after the inspection. Here’s a quick overview:
Prepping: You want your home to look the same way it did when the buyers first fell in love with it. So, for this stage, you’ll want to still have it clean, clutter-free, and looking its best.
During the inspection: Here’s what the inspector will be looking at during the inspection. You can click the image below and download this helpful list:
You’ll want to make sure everything on this list is accessible and in good working order so your home is presented to both the inspector and the buyer in the best possible light.
After The Inspection: Once the inspection is completed, the ball is in the buyer's court. The buyers may send a list of requests for repairs, they may void the contract entirely (very rare) or they will move forward by waiving the inspection condition. Depending on how they move forward after their inspection, we’ll have a game plan—we’ll either review the list of requests and negotiate what you will and won’t do by the possession day, move forward without having to do a thing, or, in the rare instance where they void entirely, we’ll discuss when and how to put your home back on the market for a buyer who will love it.
• Vendor list: If you need suggestions for any contractors like moving companies, cleaners, or any repairs, I will supply you with a list of contractors I’ve used and recommend to make your move and any to-dos easier on you.
• Schedule Destaging- If staging was used I’ll work with the stager to make sure that you aren’t charged for another month of staging once our contingencies expire and ensure the staging will be removed before the buyer’s walk-through.
• Sign removal - Time to take down the sign now that we are headed towards your closing date! I’ll call the sign company and get the order placed to remove the sign.
• Coordinate the final walk-through - Next up, I’ll coordinate the final walk-through with the buyers if they stated they were doing one in the purchase contract. Typically the buyer’s final walk-through happens 24 hours before settlement. The point of the final walk-through is to make sure your home is ready for the buyers to take ownership and confirm that any home inspection items that were agreed to be fixed by you have been completed.
• Condition of home at settlement - Speaking of the buyer’s walk-through, one question I get a lot is about the condition a seller’s home must be in for settlement. The contract calls for your home to be in “substantially the same condition as when this contract was accepted and the attached and unattached goods will be in normal working order”. All your belongings should be out of the home and any other terms (like a professional cleaner coming in prior to possession) need to be completed. A good rule of thumb is to leave the home you sold in the same condition you’d like to the home you are moving into left for you.
• Final To-Dos - About ten days before settlement, you’ll receive a final list of to-dos from me. It will serve as a reminder about when and how to do things like turn off your utilities, homeowners insurance, as well as gather things like keys, garage door openers, storage keys, parking permits, alarm codes, etc—all the “tiny” things the buyers needs so you don’t have to think about it.
• Possession Day Logistics - I’ll make sure you know what to expect on your possession day- like timing,and what to do in the event of a delay.
• Celebrate! Now’s the time to throw the confetti and finally celebrate. You’re officially DONE!
Phew! There’s a lot to do once you are under contract to ensure everything goes smoothly. But, don’t worry, I’ll be with you every step of the way being your project manager and giving you updates weekly and at every important milestone. And, although I love having a plan so everything goes like clockwork, I’ve also got a plan b AND c so that no matter what happens, we won’t lose any time getting you to settlement on time.
If you’ve been thinking about selling your home and want to know how to get the very most for it or you just want to handle over the keys and let me handle it all, I got you. The first step is for us to have a conversation about why you want to sell, where you are headed and when you want to be there. You can schedule that with me here.