Completing the sale of a home is a significant accomplishment for any homeowner. After what could be months of preparing, staging, home showings, and negotiating, it can feel like a significant weight is finally off your shoulders. It's finally time to move on and celebrate, right?
However, even after you close on your home sale, there are important steps that sellers still need to take. In this blog, we discuss some of the crucial things sellers should accomplish post-sale — a checklist to help you avoid potential legal or financial issues and ensure a successful transition so you can move on to the next chapter of your life with ease.
1. Organize Your Paperwork.
Although this isn't a fun task, keep your paperwork in order. Save every single piece of paperwork relating to the sale of your home because you’ll need the documentation when it comes time to do your taxes. Your post-sale paperwork typically includes home maintenance receipts and warranties, seller disclosures, listing agreements, and purchase offer, among others. And remember that even after your tax return is filed, you will still want to keep these records in case you’re audited.
Since tax laws constantly change, you may want to stay on top of your tax laws to avoid losing money. And hire a trustworthy accountant if you haven't got one yet. You’re definitely going to need their services come tax time.
An example of a tax benefit is if the house is your primary residence and you have lived in it for two out of the last five years, you’re eligible for a $250,000 exemption on capital gains tax if you’re single, or $500,000 for married people.
3. if You Aren't Purchasing a New Home Right Away, Consider Putting Your Proceeds in a Money Market Fund.
If you sell your house and don't immediately buy a new one, you’ll need a safe place to put your money. Consider investing your proceeds in a money market mutual fund, which offers safety and gives a reasonable rate of return. It also allows access to your money if you need it, such as when you’re buying your next home. Money market mutual funds are an attractive option for many people who sold their homes.
4. Consider Carefully Whether You'll Hire Your Listing Agent When Buying Your Next Home.
Buying and selling a home requires a different set of skills and approaches, which is why most agents prefer to specialize as either a buyer's or seller’s agent. Your agent who helped sell your home may have done an excellent job, so you may be tempted to save yourself some stress and just rehire them to help you with buying. But if you’re relocating to an entirely new neighborhood and looking for a different type of property, you may want to find an agent who is knowledgeable in that area.
If you think your listing agent can also be a good buying agent and you’re moving within the community and in a similar type of property, you may interview your trusted listing agent as one of the three agents you’re considering hiring to help buy your next home.
5. Send Change-of-address Notices.
Changing your address is a critical task once you're confident that your home sale will close.
To have your address changed, simply go to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) website. It is recommended that you do this 30 days before you move to ensure timely forwarding of mail after the date of the move. Moreover, don’t forget to also alert the following parties about your change of address:
Social Security Administration
State Motor Vehicle Office
State Election Offices
Billing companies (credit and charge cards, cell phones, loans, among others)
Places of employment
Magazines or publications subscriptions
Family and friends
6. Cancel and Transfer All of Your Utilities.
You do need to allot some time to cancel or transfer your utilities, but make sure you do this the day after your home has closed. Turning off utilities on the day the buyers do their final walk-through may cause your closing to be delayed and could even mess up the sale. So wait until a date after closing to call all of your utility companies and request that all services be turned off and transferred out of your name so the buyer can take them over.