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When listing your home for sale, more often than not, you’re focused on the process of selling your home. Once in escrow it’s good to be prepared for the escrow process. The following lays out the steps that lead to closing the sale.

When you accept an offer your listing agent will notify escrow. The day after acceptance is technically the first day of the escrow period. The escrow company opens a file and begins the process of collecting everything needed to close your sale. As a seller, you’re responsible for completing a statement of information, providing information on outstanding loans, and finally, notarizing the grant deed that escrow prepares.

When you have a signed contract you’ll need to allow for the buyer’s inspections on the property. Providing access to inspectors and contractors is a must! After all, you need the buyer to feel comfortable with what they’re buying, and you want the the buyer to maintain their enthusiasm…. buying a home is exciting! Home inspections can take three to four hours. Remember, follow up appointments with specialists like Electricians or Plumbers may also be necessary. The due diligence period tends to last 10 to 14 days in our current market. I feel it’s an absolute must to vacate the home during these inspections. We want to give the buyers and their inspector space to operate. They don’t need explanations for anything either. They can ask questions after the fact.

Additionally, you’ll need to allow the lender’s appraiser access to home. These appraisal appointments last about 30 minutes. The appraisal should be completed within the first 10 or so days in order to keep the buyer’s full loan approval on schedule. Remember, you’ll want to keep your home in order. Pretend you’re preparing for another showing. You’re welcome to stay home during the appraisal. Typically, it’s just the appraiser who shows up, not the agents.

Once you have accepted an offer you should start planning your move. In hindsight, it would be best to plan your move before listing your house. This would include investigating where you’ll live next and how you’re going to get yourself, and your belongings, there. Notice I said PLAN. Nothing is a sure thing until the buyer removes all their contingencies a little bit down the road on the schedule.

Once a buyer removes their contingencies then it’s time pack and move. Contingencies include a buyer’s investigation, appraisal, and full loan approval. We try to get a full sign-off from a buyer within 17 days of entering escrow. That allows for an additional 13 days for a seller to vacate the property.

Within three days of closing a seller needs to allow for a buyer’s final walk-through. This allows the buyer to ensure the home is in the same condition it was when they made their offer. It is also a time to verify that any repairs agreed to were completed. A buyer will want to see that a seller has made significant progress with their move as well.

In California the close of escrow is a little anticlimactic. There is no meeting or exchange of keys in the escrow office. Escrow simply collects the buyer’s down payment, gets the lender to fund their loan, and then has the county record the sale once all conditions are met. You will handover keys on the day you close. Typically, we get notified of the closing later in the afternoon or early in the evening.

Sellers receive funds the day after closing. Funds can be wired or delivered in the form of a check (but not one of those large Golf Tournament Checks). You’ll want to cancel your insurance and utilities at this time. Don’t worry, escrow pays off your mortgage. Escrow will also deliver you your closing statement. You’ll want to keep that for tax time!

Congratulations, your home is sold!

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