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Closing a Sale – What to Expect

Once you have landed a buyer who is willing to purchase the house you’ve put on sale, the next step is to close the deal. As a home seller, closing is arguably the most important step in the entire process of selling your home. While the thought of completing the sale can be very exciting, the closing can actually be stressful if you are not aware of what to expect. Here are four important things that you should expect when closing a sale.
Fulfilment of Contingencies and Terms
A real estate purchase agreement usually contains several conditions, which could include appraisal, inspection, or financial contingencies. For instance, the agreement could have a condition that requires a successful inspection of your home in order to proceed with the sale. As a seller, it is your responsibility to ensure that all of the conditions and contingencies that relate to you are fulfilled according to the terms and conditions listed in the agreement. Having unfulfilled contingencies may cause the buyer to back out of the deal, leaving you hanging – your realtor can help you understand all the terms in the contract that you’ll need to meet before the sale can close.  
Dealing with the Buyer
Usually, either the buyer or the buyer’s realtor would do a final walkthrough of the house before the actual closing of the sale. This would be a very comprehensive walkthrough, where every room, the interiors, and the exteriors are thoroughly examined, to make sure that any existing issues are dealt with, and also to make sure that no new issues have appeared. One way to ensure that the process goes down smoothly is to check yourself before the walkthrough, and talk to your realtor about whether there’s anything you should fix up first.
Transfer of the Title
The final step of closing a sale is transferring the title. The buyer and the seller will each sign several documents that transfer the legal ownership of the house. The documents will be different depending on where you are, and what kind of property you’re buying, but your realtor can help with that – expect to deal with anywhere from 3 to 8 documents. Make sure you’re working with your realtor and a lawyer to make sure everything’s clear and correct.
Taxes, Fees, and Other Costs
Regardless of the amount that your house is sold for, there are several fixed and variable costs associated with closing a sale, including attorney’s fees, realtor’s fees, and other legal costs, including taxes on the capital gains if you’re the seller. You’ll also want to make sure that you settle all of your utility bills and property tax dues before closing the sale.
Once the closing of the sale is complete, make sure you keep the documents relating to the sale for your records. As always, seek professional legal and real estate advice to make sure you’re doing the right things, and not missing anything. Professional advice can help make the closing process a lot easier and far less stressful.