Home Selling Fun Fact #6: Take All the Verifications!

Welcome to the fifth of ten home selling pointers given from the perspective of a frazzled first time home seller. Today, let’s take a look at all the tiny little steps that need to happen before you can make it to the closing table.

Tip #6: From a few weeks to a few days before closing, you or your realtor will need to start assembling current utility readings and setting up on-premise inspections.

Swimming in boxes, tape and bubble wrap, your last thought is going to be that the fire marshal to come in and have a look around to make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working – but if you live in much of the USA that, and many more little pieces like it need to come together before you can sit at the closing table.

If you’ve got a realtor they’ll probably handle most of the things on the list below. But make sure you work out the when’s and the where’s – just in case you need to make last minute changes to your schedule. It’s also worth noting that these were the inspections that we here at the Stronghold needed to get through. More to the point, the exact things or timelines we mention here might not be the same for you even if you live in the house around the corner. You’ll need to make sure you complete your own due diligence by talking with your realtor, town hall and attorney.

  1. Fire Alarm and Carbon Monoxide: About three weeks prior to closing a fireman came to our house to make sure that our alarms were all in the right place. For us, that meant buying a new carbon monoxide detector to  put within 10 feet of all three bedrooms because no one had told us where these things needed to be. The inspection cost us $50.
  2. Oil Tank: About two weeks prior to closing the oil company came out and measured the amount of oil still left in our tank. Surprisingly, this is so the cost of the remaining oil can be passed onto the new owners. Make sure the company provides you with a written receipt and that the cost per gallon is equal to the amount you paid for your last delivery. This inspection was free, but we have a service contract that covered the time.
  3. Water Meter: Assuming you’re still living at the home at this point like we are, this inspection will need to happen as near your closing date as possible. For us this translates to three days prior to closing. This is a self done inspection where you, or your realtor, goes to the town water department and gets a form to fill out. A reading is taken from the home water meter and the form is returned to the town hall, where the amount owed is paid. This is to ensure your homes new owners aren’t made to pay for water they didn’t use.
  4. The Walk Through: Traditionally done the night before or morning of the closing itself, this inspection is probably your most important. While it’s done on the buyer’s behalf, don’t necessarily expect anyone other then their realtor to show up, give the place a quick once over and thank you for your time. Why the visit? Simply put, the buyer wants to make sure you didn’t knock a hole in the wall, break a window, move with negotiated items (like those pesky curtain rods I keep going on about), or alter the property in any, non-agreed upon way.

Did we forget to mention anything? share your experience in the comments!

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