This overview will give you a road map to assist you in understanding the process from contract to closing. As always, if you need expert service, contact The Jennifer King Team @ 717-723-9080!

Accepted an offer? What’s next?

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If you’ve just sold your house, your likely next thought is “what happens now?”

In this article, we explain the process from contract to closing.

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Escrow Deposit Check (aka) “Good Faith” Deposit Check

Your (sellers’) Realtor will collect the “good faith deposit” (aka earnest deposit) from the buyers, via their agent. The money will be deposited into the listing brokerage’s escrow account. At settlement, this will be credited back to the buyers.


person completing paperwork

Mortgage Loan Application

The buyers typically have 10 days to submit all of their documents to their lender. While most buyers are pre-approved at the time of the offer, the loan process will now move to the application phase with the buyers updating all of their financials, specific to purchasing this property.


paperwork on clipboard and someone completing it

Home Inspections

 

Upon seller acceptance of the buyers’ offer, the buyers will be responsible to schedule their home inspection(s) as agreed upon in the Agreement of Sale. As sellers, you will be contacted for the scheduling of the inspection(s).

Keep in mind that the buyers are hiring the inspectors…and as such, the inspector(s) will have little to no interaction with sellers, since their client is the buyer(s).

We recommend that sellers are not present for inspections. This gives the inspector(s) and the buyers (who typically also attend) – the privacy they deserve as they follow/learn from the inspector throughout the property.

The inspector will review all components of the home with the buyers, advising them on maintenance and upkeep, as well as pointing out any items of concern.

*Note* If the property has a private septic system, the buyers pay for the inspection, but sellers are generally expected to pay to pump the system as part of the process, as that’s considered a maintenance item. This will be scheduled to coincide with the timing of the inspection.

Sellers in PA have the right to request & receive a copy of the inspection report(s) if desired. Communicate this wish to your agent, and we’ll handle the rest!

We are experienced in all facets of inspection negotiations, and happy to assist our seller clients with professional guidance throughout the process!


SOLD SIGN PLACEMENT

Under Contract / Pending Sale sign or SOLD sign placement

Once the inspections are complete and successfully negotiated, the “under contract” or “pending sale” sign is typically placed by the sellers’ Realtor.

(Placing it prior can result in having to change back to active if anything causes the buyers to back out of the sale, which can send a message to those who notice the sign – that there’s potentially a problem with the house.)

Naturally, if sellers are confident in the terms of sale and would like the sign placed sooner, we are happy to oblige.

Generally speaking – either prior to – or after – the appraisal, the SOLD sign is then placed and will remain until settlement.


FAQ – Do The Buyers Need To Come Back To The House Prior To Settlement?

Frequently, the buyer(s) may ask for another appointment to measure windows, space for appliances and furnishings etc..
Most buyers will want to do a final walk-through of the home the day of closing or the day prior. (though this can vary)
Our showing concierge will notify you with these requests.

sign showing word appraisal

Appraisal

The buyer’s lender will be responsible for ordering the appraisal. Unlike the inspection process, buyers aren’t present for the appraisal, and therefore, it’s typically not a problem if sellers are present.

The appraisal appointment will be scheduled via the showing concierge service, (the same process used for showings, generally), with advance notice. The appointment typically doesn’t exceed an hour.

The appraiser will look for any safety-related concerns, and sometimes deferred maintenance concerns. These items are often required to be resolved prior to settlement and are typically considered seller responsibility.

The appraiser typically needs 2-3 weeks to complete the research and appraisal and return it to the lender. At that point, you will be informed that the appraisal is complete and – hopefully – that it ‘met value’ for the borrowers’ purchase price and loan so you can move forward to settlement.

The appraiser’s responsibility is to ensure that the buyer’s lender is lending money on a property that is valued appropriately, so the bank isn’t at risk for being over-invested into the real estate. The appraiser’s opinion of value may or may not reflect true market value. The appraiser typically has the final ‘word’ on the property’s value.

*Note* As the buyer & their lender are the appraiser’s client, sellers typically do not receive a copy of the appraisal.


group giving high fives

Mortgage Commitment

Most buyers will be preapproved a the time that they submit their offer. However, the lender needs a period of time to process all of the buyers’ financial documents, complete the appraisal and underwriting process in order to be able to issue a mortgage commitment to the buyers – specific to the property.

The mortgage commitment deadline is outlined on the contract, and your Realtor will assist you in ensuring all timelines (including this one) are met on time whenever possible! (or extended via the required paperwork if needed.

*NOTE* – The buyers’ insurance company may need to schedule an interior visit of the property. However, more commonly, they will simply ‘show up’ one day and take some quick photos of the exterior, in order to provide the buyer(s) with an insurance quote. SO – don’t panic – just be aware. (They generally don’t notify us in advance of this happening, either!)


When Do Sellers Need To Vacate The Property?

Sellers should always plan to vacate prior to settlement unless other arrangements have been made with the buyers and Realtors.


DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS!

If you escrow my taxes and insurance, many sellers wonder why the title company is requiring payment at closing.
The title company is often required to collect payment for taxes from your net proceeds at closing. Additionally, the buyers will be reimbursing you for taxes paid for the reainder of the tax period.
Any remaining balance in your lender’s escrow account – including amounts for insurance and taxes – will be refunded to you by your mortgage company. They are required by law to return them to you with four weeks of closing.
*PLEASE NOTE* After the title company gathers all final calculations and tax certifications – as well as all documents from the buyers’ lender, we will receive (& subsequently provide an anticipated proceeds statement) for your review.

What items can I take with me when I move?

 IF IN DOUBT, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR AGENT. Please note that curtains are personal property and generally move with you, unless you choose for them to stay.
HOWEVER – all window hardware (brackets, rods, etc.) are included in the sale, and need to stay in the property.
Any & all items attached to the home/property are part of the sale – including light fixtures, cabinets, shelving, etc..
If you have questions, just your Realtor to review the items which stay/go.

 


couple with house keys

Closing / Settlement

The settlement/closing date is identified on the Agreement of Sale. All parties work towards all dates on the contract as agreed.

Once all of the above conditions have been met, the final walk-through and settlement dates and times will be scheduled.

Reasons Closing/Settlement Can Be Delayed

stacks of 1000's of papers in piles

Financing Delays

Buyers are required to provide a lot of documentation to the lender…often in multiple steps. If the appraisal isn’t ordered (or completed) in a timely matter, this could lead to delays for settlement.


yellow construction hats

Inspection Delays

Sometimes, the inspections bring up issues which need additional review by industry professionals. (ie – the home inspector may recommend a licensed roofer inspect the roof, etc.).

On occasion, due to weather and/or scheduling challenges, buyers may need to request an extension for settlement date if inspection(s) aren’t able to be completed by the deadline in the contract.


pic of lots of clocks

Appraisal Delays

Appraisers sometimes have delays in being able to complete an appraisal and all of the associated research and paperwork – which could cause settlement delays for sellers and buyers.


white basket with letters that spell home

 Typically, once ALL of the above conditions are met, the final walk-through and settlement will be scheduled. There are a lot of details, but we’ll keep everything on track! By choosing an experienced Realtor/team, you can expect to receive expert guidance every step of the way! 

Looking for expert guidance? Allow The Jennifer King Team to guide you home! 717-723-9080


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