It Ain't Over Until It's Over

Why going under contract is NOT the time to celebrate

Today, you’ll learn what needs to get done and who does what so there are no hiccups during this crucial time of selling your home. Think of me as the project manager or the event coordinator from the time you go under contract to even after settlement. My job is to work with all parties to make sure everyone does what they are supposed to do so that we get to the settlement on time and with the least amount of stress and hassles (for you) as possible.

I’ll be working with you, the buyer’s agent, the buyer’s lender, the title company, your real estate attorney, and any other vendors we need to involve during this phase of the selling process. My job is to assign tasks, continue to negotiate terms on your behalf and make sure deadlines are met by everyone involved, and then, of course, keep you up-to-date on the progress along the way.

More than anything, though, my job is to make sure the terms you agreed to when you signed the contract are carried out correctly and on time. Oftentimes, the under contract phase feels a little “quiet.” That’s because there are more parties involved than before going under contract. My goal is to make this phase less of a mystery for you and let you know who is doing what.

Here’s a quick summary of what typically happening behind the scenes from going under contract to closing:

  • Estimated net sheet - talk about the numbers and what to expect (for example, did you know the amount your mortgage says is your balance is NOT the amount of your mortgage payoff, so we’ll be discussing what to expect there)

  • Track important dates - The very first thing I do when we go under contract is plot all the important dates in a calendar and share that with you. Depending on the terms you agreed to in the contract, this could be anything from contingencies to document review periods, to when the appraiser is coming to when the home inspection is happening. I make sure you and I both know these crucial deadlines so we can work backwards and make sure everything is done on time and keep all other parties on time too.

  • Introductions - Next, I introduce myself and all the other parties involved in the process to each other and make sure they have everything they need, like a copy of the contract, to start their processing of the file. For example, I make sure the title company has a copy of the contract and your contact information so they can start working with you on things like the pay-off statement. I introduce myself to the buyer’s lender and make sure he or she has what they need from our side to start the loan processing. And, I make sure the lender and title company have each other’s contact information since they will need to work closely together throughout the process

  • Order condo or HOA docs, if necessary - Next up, I’ll get the condo docs or HOA docs ordered on a “rush” so we can get those to the buyer as quickly as possible.

  • Earnest Money Deposit - Remember, depending on the contract terms you agreed to you don’t always get this money back. So, we’ll review again when the buyer can void and get their deposit back and when you are in the clear to receive their deposit if something changes. Not only that, but it needs to be deposited by a certain date and I follow up to make sure that happens.

  • Attorney Review and Inspection Process -In Illinois this is also called the A/I review. First, you will need to prep for the inspection, by making sure your home still looks great. Once the inspection is completed the ball is in the buyers court. The buyers may send a list of requests for repairs or they may void the contract altogether (very rare).The attorney review period allows a window of time for the buyer or the seller to modify the contract to meet their particular needs. Your real estate attorney will suggest modifications that will be in your best interest and will work with the buyers attorney on any contract adjustments!

  • Lockbox removal - Now that the inspection is over, I take off the lockbox immediately. Why? Because we don’t want anyone accessing your home—the buyer, appraisers, the buyer’s agent, etc, even if it’s vacant, without me present between now and settlement.

  • Track the buyer’s loan - I touch base with the buyer’s lender a very specific times during the under contract period to track the loan, make sure everything is going according to plan, that financing and appraisal contingency dates are being met, that the buyers have received their closing disclosure in the correct amount of time and that the title company has what they need from the lender to close on time on the agreed upon settlement day in the contract.

  • Create an appraisal package and meet the appraiser - This is SO important. Homes are oftentimes selling for more than recent sales aka “the comps'' would support. Because of this, I want to make a strong case for the price that you and the buyer have agreed on. I put together a package of material that supports your agreed upon price—things like the floor-plan, recent sales that support our price, a list of updates and improvements you’ve made to the home as well as a summary of how many offers we had and why the price got where it did. I then personally meet the appraiser and review anything that’s important for them to know or they might miss when doing their report.

  • Vendor list: If you need suggestions for any contractors like moving companies, cleaners, any repairs, I will supply you a list of contractors to make your move and any to-dos easier on you.

  • Sign removal - Time to take down the sign now that we are headed towards settlement! I’ll call the sign company and get the order placed to remove the sign.

  • Coordinate the final walk-through - Next up, I’ll coordinate the final walk-through with the buyers. Typically the buyer’s final walk-through happens 24-48 hours before closing. The point of the final walk-through is to make sure your home is ready for the buyers to take ownership and confirm that any home inspection items that were agreed to be fixed by you have been completed.

  • Condition of home at settlement - Speaking of the buyer’s walk-through, one question I get a lot is about the condition a seller’s home must be in for closing. The contract calls for your home to be in “broom swept” condition with all your belongings out. A good rule of thumb is to leave the home you sold in the same condition you’d like to the home you are moving into left for you.

  • Final To-Dos - About ten days before closing, you’ll receive a final list of to-dos from me or my transaction coordinator. It will serve as a reminder about when and how to do things like turn off your utilities, homeowners insurance, as well as gather things like keys, garage clickers, storage keys, parking permits, alarm codes, etc—all the “tiny” things the buyers needs so you don’t have to think about it.

  • Closing Day Logistics - I’ll make sure you know where to go, what you need to bring and what to expect on closing day. And, something to remember—you don’t even have to be at closing unless you want to be! We can coordinate for you to sign prior to settlement day or even remotely.

  • Next Day Check In - Last, but not least, I’ll touch base with you after closing to make sure you’ve received your funds in full and answer any last questions you have about your sale!

  • Celebrate! Now’s the time to throw the confetti and finally celebrate. You’re officially DONE!

Phew! There’s a lot to do once you are under contract to ensure everything goes smoothly. But, don’t worry, I’ll be with you every step of the way being your project manager and giving you updates weekly and at every important milestone. And, although I love having a plan so everything goes like clockwork, I’ve also got a plan b AND c so that no matter what happens, we won’t loose anytime getting you to closing on time.

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home and want to know how to get the most for it , I got you. The first step is for us to have a conversation about why you want to sell, where you are headed and when you want to be there. You can schedule that with me here.