Get your calendar ready because the real fun begins after you get an offer. This is the second part of the Guide To For Sale By Owner, and it will break down the closing steps to help you stay on track to get to the closing table.
Getting To The Closing Table
1. Respond to the offer.
Congratulations! You've got a bird in hand! Once you receive an offer, you can counter it or accept it. All negotiations must be written.
2. Order title work (if applicable).
The purchase agreement will declare whether the buyer or seller is responsible for title work. If the onus is on you, the seller, then inform your title company so they can do the research and insure that the property has a clear title.
3. Receive earnest money.
The purchase agreement is not a valid contract until the earnest money has been received by a third-party like a title company. Confirm with the third party that the earnest money has been received and get a copy for your records.
4. Schedule inspection(s) and surveyor (if applicable).
If the purchase agreement lets the buyer conduct home inspections, coordinate a time with the inspector so they can be at your house while everyone can be away. You can stay on your property during a survey of your property.
5. Respond to additional inspection counters, addendums and amendments (if applicable).
The buyers may send a counter if anything comes up during the inspection. You can either accept the new agreement, counter with your own negotiations, or reject the counter. Rejecting the counter at this step will terminate the entire contract. Ask for a copy of the inspection report so you'll know exactly why the buyer is referencing.
6. Repairs (if applicable).
Make repairs according to countered purchase agreement. Send the buyer receipts and/or proof that the repairs have been completed.
7. Schedule the inspection and appraisal with the buyer's lender if applicable).
If the buyer is using a lender, the mortgage company will be required to inspect your property as well. An appraiser is there to verify the legal description of your property with public records and the mortgage application to make sure that the house physically matches up with what it says on paper. They are also there to determine the fair market value of the property by comparing the condition of your home to other nearby homes that have recently sold. Schedule a time with the appraiser so that they can inspect the house while everyone else is away again.
8. Pack and coordinate move.
Start packing up items that you won't need, and start getting quotes for movers and moving trucks at this stage because movers can get busy and will most likely need some notice. Once the appraisal is accepted, it'll only be a matter of time before you sign the dotted line.
9. Insurance, utilities, and change of address.
Schedule the transfer of insurance and utilities for electric and/or gas; water; sewer; trash; phone; and internet from this property to your new property. While you're at it, notify your post office of a change of address. You can update your work and your driver's license & registration with the BMV within 30 days after your move.
Are you in over your head yet? Breathe, it's okay! Moving is stressful in and of itself which can make anyone feel overwhelmed. Here you are, handling all of this on your own and juggling all of your other responsibilities, so give yourself some credit!
10. Check-in with the buyer's lender.
See if the financing is on target for the tentative closing date. Any appraisal issues and inspection discrepancies should've been brought to your attention by now, but it's best to get a greenlight than to assume.
11. Check-in with title company.
Hang in there. You're almost there! Touch base with the title company to see if there are any title issues. You're ready to close once what their availability is on the tentative closing date. They'll be able to coordinate with the buyers and finalize the time. If you haven't done so already, this is a good time to instruct the title company on how to release the funds to you.
12. Schedule final walk-thru with the buyer.
The final walk-thru is typically scheduled right before or the day before closing. All repairs should be completed and you should be moved out so you can hand over the keys and never look back after closing.
13. Closing day!
Say farewell to your home! It's time to head over to the title company to sign off on the sale. After that is pay day!