You’ve had your Arizona home listed for sale and have been inconvenienced by showings, open houses, etc. But now you’re under contract – congratulations! You can relax until the closing date when you’ll collect your proceeds and move on! Or can you? The truth is, the period between signing the contract and closing can be busier that you might expect. 

What is the Closing of a Home?

In real estate terms, ‘closing’ is when money and documents are transferred in order to transfer ownership of the property to the buyer. This is generally a 30-60 day period during which all the steps necessary to be ready to transfer ownership of the property to the buyer on the closing date must be completed. As the seller, you’re responsible for a number of those steps.

Cooperate with the Title Company

The title company will contact you for information that they will need for the closing including:

  • Name and contact information of your lender so that they can order your loan payoff.
  • Your forwarding address.
  • Information on how you want to receive your proceeds (pick up a check, wired to your bank account, etc.).

Cooperate with the Home Inspector and Lender’s Appraiser

You may have thought that you no longer have to give access to your home, but that isn’t the case. The buyer has a limited time period in which to perform their inspections (typically ten calendar days). The Arizona Purchase Contract stipulates that, ”Seller shall make the Premises available for all inspections and walkthrough(s) upon reasonable notice by Buyer.”* The seller is obligated to make the home available for these inspections. If the buyer is borrowing money for the purchase, the mortgage lender will order a professional appraisal and the appraiser will also need access to the home with reasonable notice.

Keep All Utilities On Until Closing

If you’ve already vacated the home you may think it’s ok to shut off the utilities right away. However this is not the case.  The Arizona Purchase Contract also stipulates that, “Seller shall, at Seller’s expense, have all utilities on, including any propane, until COE”…*(Close of Escrow). The buyer’s inspectors need to have all the utilities (electric, water, gas, etc.) left on so that they can perform their inspections. The water needs to be on to keep the landscaping and pool in good condition.

Keep the Home in Good Condition

This isn’t just the nice thing to do. Per the contract, you, as the seller are contractually obligated to “…maintain and repair the Premises so that at the earlier of possession or COE: (1) the Premises, including all personal property included in the sale will be in substantially the same condition as on the date of Contract acceptance….”*.  You’ll also need to keep your homeowners insurance policy in effect until closing. If any damage occurs to the home prior to closing, you will be responsible for the repairs.

Make Any Repairs You’ve Agreed To Do

The buyer’s inspection will typically examine the safety, functionality, and quality of the home’s features. If there are repairs that are needed, the buyer will request that you make the repairs or provide a credit or price reduction to cover the cost of those repairs. If you’ve agreed to make the requested repairs you’ll need to provide receipts or invoices for those repairs. These should be completed by the time the buyer does their final walk through. If any of the repairs are not done, the buyer may issue a cure notice to the seller giving them three days to comply which would delay the closing.

Vacate the Home the Day Before Closing

Although it’s true that ownership of the home doesn’t transfer to the buyer until the sale is recorded at the county on the closing date, it could happen at any time during the day. Most anxious buyers want to get their keys and have access to their new home right away. They won’t be happy if you’re still moving your things out of the home when it’s now theirs!

Contact the Donnelly Group

Although the closing process is complicated, with steps that have to be taken by all parties, if you, as the seller, do all the things required in a timely manner, it can go a long way towards making a smooth and successful closing. 

If you work with a professional Realtor® to sell you home, like our experienced team at the Donnelly Group, we will help you through the entire sales process. So, if you are looking to list your home for sale in Metro Phoenix or Payson, call 480-792-9700. Contact us today; we will guide you through the entire process from start to finish.

* https://www.aaronline.com/manage-risk/sample-forms/residential-resale-transaction-forms/