There’s no question that, as a Realtor, you invest a lot of time and energy into each property transaction. Sometimes, months or even years have been spent finding the perfect home for your buyers. That’s why it’s essential to ensure closing day runs as seamlessly as possible. After all, it’s easy for buyers to forget how terrific you’ve been throughout the homebuying process if they experience hiccups leading up to – or on – their closing day.
Here’s a helpful checklist to ensure you cover all the bases as you approach your client’s closing day:
Confirm that agreed upon home repairs have been completed by the seller and, if possible, get a copy of the paid repair receipts on the contractor’s letterhead.
Complete a walkthrough of the new home a few days before closing to ensure that it’s in the same condition it was when the home was purchased and that all inclusions are present and in good working order. Make sure the buyer personally inspects any home repairs that were completed by the home seller. If there were substantial repairs made, it’s definitely worthwhile to have your home inspector return to confirm that repairs were made as specific in the contract. A home inspector will typically return to the home for a minimal cost, which is well worth the added peace of mind. Be sure to check with the home inspector during the original inspection about this return service.
Follow up with your buyer to ensure they scheduled service or transfer of the utilities so there are no issues on moving day. To take this one step further, you may want to consider providing your buyer with a list of utility companies and contact information about 10 days prior to closing.
Confirm with the closing lawyer that the home warranty order was received (if this was part of the contract).
Confirm that the buyer has the correct instructions for the money transfer (if needed) and then contact the closing lawyer’s office to confirm that the money was received.
Review Closing/Settlement Statement
Ask the lender or the closing lawyer for a copy of the preliminary closing/settlement statement. Review to ensure that everything is correct (ie, money amount, commissions, home warranty, etc).
Send your homebuyer client a reminder about the closing date 24-48 hours prior to closing and be sure to include:
- Time of closing
- Address for closing lawyer or title office
- Parking instructions
- What to bring (ie, driver’s licence, etc)
Gather all the relevant documents from the transaction and put them in a folder so that the buyer can use this as a reference for years to come. Be sure to include such things as:
- Completed sales contract
- Closing/Settlement Statement
- Instructions on how to file for any buyer rebates or credits (particularly for first-time homebuyers)
- Brochure from the Home Warranty provider (if applicable)
- List of your favourite vendors (repair person, landscaper, cleaning company, etc)
Check-in with Seller’s Agent
Follow up with the seller’s agent to make sure they’ve removed the ‘for sale’ signage and lockbox from the home. Also, confirm that they’ll bring all the home keys and garage door openers to the lawyer.
This is your chance to really shine by making this day over-the-top special for your buyers!
Here are few ideas to make it fun and stress-free:
- Text or call your client first thing in the morning to say, “Happy Closing Day!”
- Bring a gift for the new homeowners and give them their closing package
- If they have kids, consider including crayons and colouring books, or other crafting supplies to keep them entertained, in the closing package
- Take a picture of the homebuyers with their keys in front of their new home and send them a copy
Bonus: After Closing
Always send your buyers a handwritten thank you note. Depending on your relationship with the new homeowner, you may want to drop by after they move in or take them out for a celebratory lunch or dinner. If they have children, leaving something special in the new home for the kids is always a big hit (ie, dollhouse, wood letters with their name(s), etc). And you can leave champagne/sparkling cider in the fridge for the homeowners as well. Don’t forget to put glasses on the counter so they can enjoy a drink before unpacking is complete!
Whatever you do, the focus is on making your homebuyers feel special and showing them how much you appreciate their business. You may go through closing days quite frequently, but it’s important to remember how exciting it is for homebuyers every time they close on a new property. Going above and beyond to ensure they have a wonderful closing experience doesn’t cost a lot and it can reap numerous rewards in terms of creating clients and referrals for life!
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