top of page

What Happens Next Once Your House is Under Contract?

You hired The Powell Team as your Realtor and prepared your property for the market, kept your house in immaculate condition for showing and

We found an interested and qualified buyer. You finally have a ratified (signed by buyer and seller) contract. Nothing else to do, right? 

Well not quite, though you’re nearing a sale, there is now a closing process, which we will walk you through. Considering the serious legal implications associated with such a large transaction as selling your home, having assistance from someone with plenty of experience in home sales is a important step!

OK here is the process moving forward through to “Close”:

1. On the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the status of your property will changefrom “active” to “pending”. This lets the public know that you’ve accepted an offer, but the deal is not complete. Your home will not have a “sold” status on the MLS until after Close of Escrow. The sign in your front yard will also indicate “pending”.

2. We contact the Title Company to open an escrow accountfor your home. We supply them with your property address, all parties contact information, the sales price, earnest money amount, seller’s concessions, the closing date and any other pertinent information along with the ratified Sales Agreement. You can normally expect a receipt from Escrow within the week for the earnest money received from the buyer. The title company issues a Title Report, which everyone should review for accuracy, so there are no surprises at closing. Title ensures that anyone with claims to the property receives their portion of the proceeds when the deed is transferred to the new owners.

3. Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement– this is a statement that you will have filled out with us when we listed your home. If that has been a while we may need to review it to make sure nothing has changed. It is a State of Oregon, mandated document wherein you disclose anything you know about your property. We normally have 3 business days following contract ratification to get the Buyer’s this document for review and acknowledgement. So it is always best to have it ready up front.

4. The home inspectionis a milestone in this process. Buyers normally schedule and pay for Home Inspections and they usually take place within the first 10 business days following contract ratification. This is called the “Inspection Period”. The home inspector is at your home for about 3 hours and they need easy access to your attic and crawl spaces. The buyers, since they are paying for this inspection, usually attend and the sellers are usually gone. This inspection reveals things about the house that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Therefore, once the buyers have the results, they may ask you to repair or replace items.

We will guide you regarding what to fix (usually anything that addresses a safety issue) and when to counter-offer an inspection addendum. As with the sale price, you can negotiate inspection results. We normally ask to see the inspection report because this gives everyone a better idea of what is being asked for.

5. Another milestone is the home appraisal, which is ordered by the lending institution to ensure that the property’s value is commensurate with the amount of money they are giving to the borrower. Since the home is used as collateral for the mortgage loan, the bank wants to make sure they can recoup the money if the borrower defaults. You can normally be home for this visit, you’ll probably want the house to look nice, not that this will affect the value but impressions do matter.

6. If there are any contract contingenciesthese can be important deadlines. We will provide you with a clear schedule and keep in close contact with all parties to ensure the deadlines are met.  

7.Closings generally happen within 30-45 days after the contract is signed. During this period, information is exchanged between various parties. For sellers, it’s mostly a time of waiting (anxiously, no doubt) and packing and cleaning. A few days prior to the closing date we will help facilitate a time with the Title Company that you go in and sign. This generally takes place for the Seller several days prior to the actual “Closing or Settlement Day,” or in other words the day the Deed Records into the new owner’s names and Disbursement of Funds takes place. Once both parties have signed and the funds are available to disburse, the property will Record officially and escrow will be closed. You will receive a Preliminary as well as a Final Closing Statement, please review carefully to make sure information is accurate and funds have been disbursed correctly.

8. Rarely, (about five percent of the time, according to the National Association of Realtors), buyers will back out of the contract before closing, usually due to issues with the home inspection or with financing. When the buyers submitted their offer, they also provided an earnest money deposit (typically one percent of the purchase price), which is kept in an escrow account until closing. Depending on how your contract is worded, they may be entitled to some or all of their deposit back. 77% of contracts include contingencies, which legally allow for buyers to back out in certain circumstances and not lose any money. This is why it’s important to understand the contingencies before you sign the contract. If a buyer cancels the contract simply due to “cold feet,” you as the seller are entitled to keep their earnest money deposit.

9. To Do's once all contingencies including the inspection period are met:

· Call your utility companies to take your name off the accounts as of the closing date (make sure they don’t shut anything off on that date though, as the new owners will need lights and running water at the final walkthrough)

· Contact the post office to have your mail forwarded and notify necessary parties of your address change

· Schedule movers

· Call homeowner’s insurance to cancel your policy on that property

· Gather all instruction manuals, warranties, contractor receipts, house keys, garage remotes, etc. in one place for the new owners. You might even create a document for them that explains certain things about the property they need to know, like the alarm system or how to maintain a system.

· Lastly, as you finish packing your things to leave, make sure the home is in good shape as far as clean. Don’t leave any garbage or “treasures” for the new owners. The State of Oregon requires the home be at least “broom clean” prior to leaving. Most Seller’s do a great job of cleaning the home for the new owner. Some Buyers specifically request in the Sales Agreement that certain things happen prior to close, like the carpets or home be professionally cleaned. This is a contingency and Sellers need to make sure this is completed.

· When closing day arrives, you should have already vacated the home by this date. The buyers will do a final walkthrough of the property to make sure it’s in the condition agreed to in the contract. Then they will sign at the Escrow Office and the property will be recorded and funds dispersed. We will make sure the new owner has the keys.

Congratulations!!! It has been our pleasure working with you!

We do our best for you so hopefully the last item on your to-do list is to visit Zillow or Google and leave us a review so future home buyers and sellers will want to use our services. THANK YOU!!!


bottom of page