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From Offer To Closing The Closing Timeline

Right At Home Daily: Finding It: House-Hunting
From Offer to Closing: the Closing Timeline
By Barbara B. Buchholz for Right at Home Daily

If you think you'll have loads of free time now that your offer has been accepted, think again. You'll be plenty busy from now until the closing.

First, you probably attached contingencies to your offer. Typical contingencies include an attorney review rider, financing contingency and home inspection contingency, although there may be others.

Usually, contingencies expire within a certain period of time. You might have five or ten business days for an attorney to review the contract. You might have ten business days to arrange for a professional home inspection, pest inspection, radon inspection, lead water or paint inspection, or others. You might have 30 days to get your application for a mortgage approved.

If you fail to satisfy your contingencies within the specified time frame, you'll either have to ask the seller for an extension, or lose your ability to pull out of the deal if, for example, you can't get your loan application approved.

At the same time, you'll also need to pack, arrange for movers, cancel your utility accounts at your current home and set up new ones at your new home. You may need to call your local village or city to cut off or arrange for garbage pick up.

Don't forget to let people know where you're going. You may want to create and mail "change of address" letters or postcards. U.S. Post Office change of address cards can take two weeks to be activated.

Does your new home need work? If you're going to paint, refinish wood floors, put down new carpet, or install window treatments before you move in, you'll also need time to choose what you want, hire sub-contractors, and arrange for the work to be completed.

Any way you look at it, you'll hardly have a moment to spare.

Between the time your offer is accepted and when you close, make sure you:

1. Satisfy your contract contingencies during the allotted time. You don't want to have to ask the seller for an extension, particularly in a hot seller's market.

2. Leave enough time to hire movers, close utility accounts, open new utility accounts, and pack.

3. Notify everyone you've moved: put in a U.S. Post Office change of address, change newspaper and magazine subscriptions, and notify your banks, insurance companies, doctors, dentists, friends and family.

4. Don't forget to do your pre-closing walk-through. The purpose of the walk-through is to make sure that everything is essentially in the same shape and condition as the day your offer was accepted.

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