The final amount a homeowner walks away with when selling a home is usually one of their top priorities, but in today’s economy, often it’s their top priority. In the spirit of helping you stretch your dollars, I thought I would share a few tips to help you walk away with the most amount of money from your closing. Here we go!
1. Take Services Out of Your Name
Avoid a dispute with the buyers after closing over things like fees for the cable service you forgot to discontinue. Contact every utility and service provider to end or transfer service to your new address as of the closing date.
If you’re on an automatic-fill schedule for heating oil or propane, don’t pay for a pre-closing refill that provides free fuel for the new owner. Contact your insurer to terminate coverage on your old home, get coverage on your new home, and ask whether you’re entitled to a refund of prepaid premium.
2. Spread the word on your change of address
Provide the post office with your forwarding address two to four weeks before the closing. Also notify credit card companies, publication subscription departments, friends and family, and your financial institutions of your new address.
3. Manage the movers
Scrutinize your moving company’s estimate. If you’re making a long-distance move, which is often billed according to weight, note the weight of your property and watch so the movers don’t use excessive padding to boost the weight. Also check with your homeowners insurer about coverage for your move. Usually movers cover only what they pack.
4. Do the settlement math
Title company employees are only human, so they can make mistakes. The day before your closing, check the math on your HUD-1 Settlement Statement and ask your Real Estate Agent to go over it with you.
5. Review charges on your settlement statement
Are all mortgages being paid off, and are the payoff amounts correct? Check whether your real estate agent or title company added fees that weren’t disclosed earlier. If any party suggests leaving items off the settlement statement, consult a lawyer about whether that might expose you to legal risk.
6. Search for missing credits
Be sure the settlement company properly credited you for prepaid expenses, such as property taxes and homeowners association fees, if applicable. If you’ve prepaid taxes for the year, you’re entitled to a credit for the time you no longer own the home. Have you been credited for heating oil or propane left in the tank.
7. Don’t leave money in escrow
End your home sale closing with nothing unresolved. Make sure the title company releases money already held in escrow for you, and avoid leaving sales proceeds in a new escrow to be refunded at a later.