Real estate is selling quickly these days, especially in hot housing markets such as Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. In some markets, homeowners barely have time to catch their breath between listing and signing a contract. Closings in some areas are equally swift and, no matter how prepared you might be for that upcoming move into your new oceanfront home, there are a lot of details to handle. Here's a preliminary checklist to help smooth the way for you, and to assure that the buyers actually get the house they expect:
Keep Up With Landscape Maintenance
You may not have much enthusiasm for yard work once you know you're moving on, but there isn't a buyer on earth who wouldn't be disappointed and justifiably upset to drive up to a lawn that's overrun with weeds and turning brown from lack of water. If you have to, arrange with a neighbor or a lawn care company to weed, water and mow after you move. It's a final gift to your neighbors as well as a welcome surprise for your buyer.
Submit Change of Address Forms
It's not only the postal service that will want to know where you have gone, but also the utility companies, your cell phone service provider and cable company, your children's school, and perhaps even your hairdresser. As soon as you know your new address and have a moving date, begin the process of updating your bank, legal and business account records while submitting a change of address form to the postal service. In addition, notify health care providers, ask for referrals and arrange for transferring those records. Don't rely on your buyers to have to forward mail to you at your new address. They'll thank you and you'll never be out of touch.
Arrange for Transfer of Utility Accounts
If possible, coordinate the account transfers for a date that's mutually agreeable to buyer and seller. Some utility companies routinely cut off service early in the morning; others read meters remotely and update service records after normal business hours. The last thing you need, however, is for your power to go off as you're trying to load the moving truck, or to make do without water for a day. Reconfirm plans a couple days in advance of the scheduled change date. Moving is easier for both parties when there is no service lag.
Collect (and copy) Pertinent Documents
It's not just your house papers that you'll want to keep handy during the transition from one house to another, as important as those might be. Before you start packing boxes, find and provide safekeeping for things like car titles and insurance records, medical and property insurance policies, passports and personal documents like birth certificates and identification papers. Keep photocopies of house records in a binder or a file that you have handy before, during and after your move, and give pertinent copies to the buyer.
It's a good idea, before you pack, to take pictures of art, antiques, rugs, jewelry and personal belongings that have monetary or sentimental value. It's extremely easy to snap digital photos and save them either to the cloud or to a zip drive. The visual record will be invaluable in case of loss or insurance claim, and it might be helpful if some of your possessions must remain packed or in storage for awhile. In case you have not yet finalized a new home purchase, or if you are moving to a new city, it is also helpful to record furniture measurements, or to keep a notebook of fabric samples and paint colors as you plan your new decor. While you're at it, snap a few pictures in a favorite room or in the yard. Savor the memories!
Make Time for Goodbyes
It goes without saying, but "leavings" are often bittersweet. Make the time and take the opportunity -- even if just a few moments -- to concentrate on the good. Have coffee with a neighbor; take a break from packing and meet friends for lunch; let your children spend the night at a friend's home; forget about cooking during the last week in your home, and order in or plan backyard picnics. In short, eliminate all the stress that you can from your final days, put a smile on your face, and get a good night's sleep before closing day!
Keep Some Cash Readily Available
Again, it doesn't matter whether you're moving seven houses down the block or seven states away, whether you're flying or driving, your kids will need snacks and drinks, you'll want dog treats and "pick-me-ups," and minor extravagances will help make it all bearable! Also, during a move, it's too easy to reach those credit card limits. Having a "moving day stash" eliminates the angst.