Seller 7: Prepping for a seamless closing

As a seller, once your home is under contract, there’s not much more to do than hurry up and wait. There will be a few board package documents that require your signature, and a few bank checks payable to your managing agent you’ll want to prep and deliver. Here are a few issues that, if they exist for us, we will have discovered before listing and now want to make sure are being reconciled:


Open permits – Did you undergo a large-scale renovation project at some point in your ownership that required Dept of Buildings approval? Even if your architect submitted your plans to the DOB, and even if they were approved, a DOB inspector must come to the home post-renovation and sign off on your completed work. If you neglect this step, DOB won’t bother to follow up with you; they know you’ll come crawling back once you discover you need their approval of your work in order to sell your home!


Unapproved renovations – the same goes for any renovation that wasn’t approved by your coop board. Do you have a washer / dryer or converted extra bedroom that maybe you didn’t bother going through coop board approval process for? They may not bother chasing you down over it, they’ll simply wait until you’re ready to sell, then let you know they’ll never approve your sale until first approving the renovation, even if that means making you start over from scratch!


Latent defects – Now is the time to make sure all appliances and fixtures are in good working order. Lightbulbs, windows, doors, and electrical outlets should all be working as intended. If there was any damage to floors or walls covered up by furniture, your attorney may assert that it was the buyer’s responsibility to move your couch to check for damage underneath at the showing, although that position is likely to cause trouble at the closing. Go ahead and fix it before the walk-through. As you move out and prepare to transition ownership, continue to pay your mortgage, maintenance, and utilities! Gas and electric will need to be in service at the time of walk-through to confirm that all appliances are working, and your attorney will handle proration of your mortgage and maintenance payments. Your attorney will coordinate with your payoff bank and the buyer’s lender as well.


Post-pandemic, closings are often conducted over Zoom. You also have the option of closing through power-of-attorney with your real estate attorney if you don’t wish to attend. Closings typically take two hours. Once closing is completed and the buyer has been given a copy of the keys (I’ll bring my copy to closing and hand it over), the process is complete. Congratulations!