Once you have an accepted Offer to Purchase, the following steps will be taken:
- Home Inspection
The buyer will have approx 10 days to do any home inspections to the property. Within these 10 days, the buyer must address any issues they have. The buyer has the option to back out of the deal or re-negotiate if they find any major issues during their inspections.
- Purchase and Sale Agreement
In the offer to purchase, there is a date given that the Purchase and Sale must be signed on or before. It is usually about 2 weeks from the date the Offer to Purchase was accepted. The buyer will put down an additional deposit to be held in escrow upon signing.
The buyer’s bank will send out a licensed appraiser once the Purchase and Sale has been signed by all parties. The appraiser will come out to your home and take notes and pictures of the property. They will then write up an appraisal report for the bank. They will compare your property to other homes that have recently sold in the area. The appraised value of the home must be equal to or greater than the agreed upon purchase price of the home for the bank to loan on the property.
- Mortgage Commitment
The date the buyer must have their Mortgage Commitment is determined in the Offer to Purchase and also stated in the Purchase and Sale. This date is usually at least two weeks before closing. The buyer’s mortgage officer will send a letter stating that the bank is promising to (or committing to) give the buyer a loan to buy your home. The letter will also state that the buyer has fullfilled all the necessary steps to qualify for the loan and the home’s appraised value is in-line with the purchase price.
- Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Test
Within 30 days of closing (usually done about a week before) your property will need a smoke and carbon monoxide detector test. The fire department will come out and inspect your home to make sure that the detectors are working and are in the required places. Smoke detector requirements vary depending on the age of your house and town you live in. Generally, smoke detectors must be on the ceiling and need to be on each floor of your home. They must be either inside each bedroom or right outside in the hallway. Carbon Monoxide detectors must also be on every floor. They need to be within 10 feet of bedrooms and in most cases can be plugged in to the wall. In newer homes, detectors must be hardwired (check with your agent to see what your requirements are). Smoke and Carbon test costs vary from town to town but are usually around $50. The smoke certificate, which is given out if everything is in working order is required at the closing.
- Final Water Reading
The water department will come out to your property within a week before your closing to perform the final water reading. Depending on where your meter is, they may need to come inside your home to get the reading. A final water reading report will be issued by your town’s water department. It will have the final reading amount, along with any unpaid water or sewer bills. This will be given to the closing attorney and put on your HUD statement. The closing attorney will pro-rate the current bill if necessary. Final readings costs vary from town to town but are usually around $50.
- Final Walk Through
The buyers have the option of doing a final walk through of your home before closing. This is usually done the day of or the day before the closing. This allows the buyer to look around and make sure that everything is how they are expecting it. The buyers will be looking for the property to be in “broom clean” condition and that any additional items that are supposed to be included in the sale (ie refrigerators, bedroom sets, etc) are there.
At least one week prior to closing, you should contact your utility companies: Electric company, cable company, etc. You can notify the electric company that the electricity will be transferring to someone else. This way it will not be shut off but the company will start billing the current owner on the day of closing. The cable company needs to be notified that you will be moving and either stopping service or transferring it to another location. If you have automatic delivery of gas or oil, be sure to notify those companies as well.
The buyer’s bank will hire a closing attorney. This attorney will perform your closing, usually at either their office or at the Registry of Deeds. The attorney will put together all of the paperwork required for the closing. They will also contact you to obtain your information for the closing and for paying off any existing loans or mortgages on the property. In most cases, the closing attorney will prepare the Deed for your closing.