As we discussed in the five earlier posts, you've decided to put your Long Island home on the market. You and your real estate agent of choice have determined the right marketing price, you've staged your home to sell and your Realtor has marketed it to a broad audience. Now you've received and accepted an offer, so what's next?
Here on Long Island, typically the next step shortly after an offer is accepted is for the buyer to bring in a home inspector. Even with new construction it is always recommended an expert check out the home's systems and structure to make sure the buyers won't be facing any surprises. At the same time, often purchasers, especially if it's their first time in the real estate arena, will bring in the family for their tacit approval. Assuming all goes well, at this point a contract of sale is prepared by the sellers' attorney and faxed or emailed to the other lawyer for review. Once they work out all the details to everyone's satisfaction, a time is set up for the buyers to meet with their attorney and sign the contract. At this time they hand over a check for the negotiated down payment, often 5-10% of the sales price. The check is placed in an escrow account until the closing. The contract then goes back to the sellers' attorney for execution by his/her clients.
For most of the 23 years I've been selling real estate on Long Island, you could usually sit back and relax at this point. Though a lot goes on behind the scenes, as long as all the participants knew what they were doing, it was relatively smooth sailing. That is no longer the case. With all of the mortgage issues of the past couple of years, getting a home to appraise has become more complex and should never be taken for granted. Within days of contract signing, if they haven't already done so, a pest inspection is done on behalf of the buyer, the results added to the package.
Generally speaking, attorneys handle any other issues that come up, such as a need to close out a building permit or getting a Certificate of Completion for work done on the house. Within 45 to 50 days (on average), the mortgage commitment comes in, usually with conditions. If it doesn't arrive on time, buyers, through their lawyer, request an extension.
Because time of the essence contracts are atypical in this area of the country, our closing date is almost always "on or about." I've found, over the years, that this ambiguous date is a cause for consternation by buyers and sellers alike. You can't make plans for the physical move because you don't have a finite time. Sadly, we as agents often don't find out the actual time and date of a closing till a few days to a week before it occurs.
Within the last few weeks, your agent should give you a list of things to take care of, to make your move seamless. Among them are transferring of prescriptions, notifying the post office and your credit card companies, etc. of your new address. Get medical records transferred to your new physician if your move is longer distance and arrange for your pets ahead of time to make your and their lives easier. Keep a box of things you'll need right away at the new location so you don't have to search for toilet paper or toothpaste and toothbrush in the middle of the move. Get your utilities transferred out of your name and set them up at the new location.
When you finally get to the closing table, you can expect to be there for anywhere from a half hour (for cash deals) to two hours or more. But at last you can shake your buyer's hand, turn over the keys and walk confidently toward your future.
Good luck with the sale of your home!
About the author:
Geri Sonkin is a Licensed Broker Associate serving Long Island sellers and buyers for over 22 years. Areas of expertise include Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens and Brooklyn. Specializing in resales, new construction, co-ops/condos, waterfront homes, estates, short sales and rentals. For more information: www.LongIslandsBestHomes.com For new construction: http://175Sherman.GreatCustomHome.com or http://2274Woodbine.GreatCustomHome.com 516-425-6098
All text and graphics contained herein Copyright © 2009 Geri Sonkin & its licensors. All rights reserved.