It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

Homeowners + Sellers

It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over: Why going under contract is NOT the time to celebrate.

There is a lot that needs to happen between now and settlement.  And it’s crucial that everything is handled correctly.  I promise, though, once settlement occurs, THEN we can start throwing confetti!

This article explains what needs to get done so there are no hiccups during this critical time of selling your home.

To catch up on the previous week’s articles in my series “Get the Most for Your House Even In a Hot Seller’s Market”, subscribe here.

Think of me as the project manager from the time you go under contract, to after settlement.   My job is to work with all parties to make sure everyone does what they are supposed to do. I manage timelines and deadlines for each task. This ensures we get to settlement on time – with the least amount of stress and hassle (for you) as possible.

I’ll be working with you, your attorney, the buyer’s agent, the buyer’s lender, and any other vendors we need to involve during this phase of the selling process.  My job is to assign tasks and continue to negotiate terms on your behalf.  I’ll make sure deadlines are met by everyone involved and keep you up to date on the progress along the way. 

More than anything though, is to make sure the terms you agreed to in the contract are carried out correctly and on time.  Often times, the under-contract phase feels a little “quiet.”  That’s because there are more parties involved then before we went under contract.   My goal is to make this phase not such a mystery for you and let you know who is doing what when every few days. 

Here’s a quick summary of what typically happens behind the scenes from going under contract to settlement:

  • Estimated net sheet  – We will talk about the numbers and what to expect (for example, did you know the amount your mortgage says is your balance is NOT the amount of your mortgage payoff, so we’ll be discussing what to expect there)
  • Track important dates – The very first thing I do when we go under contract is plot all the important dates in a calendar and share that with you.  Depending on the terms you agreed to in the contract, this could be anything from contingencies to document review periods, to when the home inspection is happening, to when the appraiser is coming.  I make sure you and I both know these crucial deadlines so we can work backwards and make sure everything is done on time and keep all other parties on time too. 
  • Introductions – Next, I introduce myself and all the other parties involved in the process to each other and make sure they have everything they need, like a copy of the contract, to start their processing of the file.  For example, I provide a copy of the contract to your attorney so they can start working on things like title search and survey and obtaining a pay-off statement for any loans or judgements that hold a lien against your property.  I introduce myself to the buyer’s lender and make sure he or she has what they need from our side to start the loan processing.  And, I make sure the lender and attorneys have each other’s contact information since they will need to work closely together throughout the process.
  • Order condo or HOA docs, if necessary – Next up, I’ll get the condo docs or HOA docs ordered on a “rush” so we can get those to the buyer as quickly as possible.
  • Earnest Money Deposit – Remember, depending on the contract terms you agreed to (LINK to last week’s article) you don’t always get this money back.  So, we’ll review again when the buyer can void and get their deposit back and when you are in the clear to receive their deposit if something changes.  Not only that, but it needs to be deposited by a certain date and I follow up to make sure that happens.
  • Inspection Process – Right now, it’s less common to have a home inspection contingency, but it does happen and here’s how we handle that.  There are three parts to the inspection that we’ll discuss. Prepping for it, what happens during the inspection and what happens after the inspection. Here’s a quick overview:

            Prepping: You want your home to look the same way it did when the buyers first fell in love with it.  So, for this stage, you’ll want to still have it clean, clutter-free and looking its best. 

            During the inspection:  I will provide you with a detailed guide that covers what the inspector will be looking at during the inspection. You’ll want to make sure everything on this list is accessible and in good working order so your home is presented to both the inspector and the buyer in the best possible light.

            After The Inspection: Once the inspection is completed, the ball is in the buyer’s court.  Depending on how the inspection part of the contract was initially negotiated and agreed upon by both you and the buyers, the buyers may send a list of requests for repairs, they may void the contract entirely (very rare) or they will move forward by signing a Property Inspection Contingency Addendum to release the contingency by the deadline indicated in the contract.   Depending on how they move forward after their inspection, we’ll have a game plan—we’ll either review the list of requests and negotiate what you will and won’t do by settlement, move forward without having to do a thing, or, in the rare instance where they void entirely, we’ll discuss when and how to put your home back on the market for a buyer who will love it.

  • Lockbox removal – Now that the inspection is over, I take off the lockbox immediately.  Why?  Because we don’t want anyone accessing your home—the buyer, appraisers, the buyer’s agent, etc, even if it’s vacant, without me present between now and settlement.
  • Track the buyer’s loan – I touch base with the buyer’s lender at very specific times during the under-contract period to track the loan and make sure that financing and appraisal contingency dates are being met.  As we approach the settlement date, I make sure the buyers have received their closing disclosure and that the attorney has what they need from the lender for the title company and to order title insurance in time to close on the agreed upon date in the contract. 
  • Create an appraisal package – Homes are often selling for more than recent sales – aka “the comps” – would support.  Because of this, I put together a package of material that supports your agreed upon price.  Materials such as floor plans, including the square footage we measured since it’s typically not the same as what’s in the tax record, and recent sales that support our price. I provide a list of updates and improvements you’ve made to the home, as well as a summary of how many offers we had and why the price got where it did. This package can help make a strong case for the price that you and the buyer have agreed on, if needed. 
  • Vendor list – If you need suggestions for any contractors like moving companies, cleaners, any repairs, I will supply you a list of contractors I’ve used and recommend to make your move and any to-dos easier on you.
  • Schedule De-staging – If applicable, I’ll work with the stager to make sure you aren’t charged for another month of staging once our contingencies expire and ensure the staging will be removed before the buyer’s walk-through.
  • Sign removal – Time to take down the sign now that we are headed towards settlement!  I’ll call the sign company and schedule to have the sign removed. 
  • Coordinate the final walk-through – Next up, I’ll coordinate the final walk-through with the buyers.  Typically, the buyer’s final walk-through happens right before settlement.  The point of the final walk-through is to make sure your home is ready for the buyers to take ownership and confirm that any home inspection items that were agreed to be fixed by you have been completed.
  • Condition of home at settlement – Speaking of the buyer’s walk-through, one question I get a lot is about the condition a seller’s home must be in for settlement.  The contract calls for your home to be in “broom swept” condition with all your belongings out.  A good rule of thumb is to leave the home you sold in the same condition you’d like to the home you are moving into left for you.
  • Final To-Dos – About ten days before settlement, you’ll receive a final list of to-dos from me.  It will serve as a reminder about when and how to do things like turn off your utilities, homeowners’ insurance, as well as gather things like keys, garage clickers, storage keys, parking permits, alarm codes, etc—all the “tiny” things the buyers needs so you don’t have to think about it.
  • Review your final documents and numbers with you prior to settlement – Once we have all the final numbers from the attorneys, I schedule a time to review them with you. Ideally, this is a few days prior to closing. Whenever possible, I like to go over the numbers that will be on the closing statement and prepare you for the documents you’ll be signing at closing ahead of time.
  • Settlement Day Logistics – I’ll make sure you know where to go, what you need to bring and what to expect on settlement day.  Remember, you don’t even have to be at settlement unless you want to be!  We can coordinate for you to sign prior to settlement day or even from afar.  As a seller, anything is possible when it comes to your side of settlement.
  • Next Day Check In – Last, but not least, I’ll touch base with you after settlement to make sure you’ve received your funds in full and answer any last questions you have about your sale!
  • Celebrate! Now’s the time to throw the confetti and finally celebrate.  You’re officially DONE! 

Phew!  There’s a lot to do once you are under contract to ensure everything goes smoothly.  But don’t worry, I’ll be with you every step of the way being your project manager – giving you updates weekly and at every important milestone.   And although I love having a plan so everything goes like clockwork, I’ve also got a plan B and C so that no matter what happens, we get you to settlement on time.

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home and want to know how to get the very most for it or you just want to handle over the keys and let me handle it all, I got you.  The first step is for us to have a conversation about why you want to sell, where you are headed and when you want to be there.  You can schedule that with me here.

Hi, there!

Hi! I'm Merritt Kreutzer, digital marketing nerd and obsessed with all things tech!

 I'm here to modernize the real estate experience for busy professionals in Western New York. 



text | call  716.391.3633

473 Aurora Street
Lancaster, NY 14086




All Articles


Hi, there!

Hi! I'm Merritt Kreutzer.
I'm a bit of a digital marketing nerd and embrace the use of technology to manage a busy life.
 I'm here to modernize the real estate experience for home buyers and sellers in Western New York. 




All Articles

Get the guide that will help you decide!


I agree to be contacted by Merritt Kreutzer via call, email and text. To opt-out, you can reply "stop" at any time or click the unsubscribe link in any of the emails. Message and data rates may apply.