At the early stages of the conveyancing, before your solicitor sends out the draft contracts, they will discuss a closing date to aim for. You can decide this date (make sure to let your Solicitor know the earliest closing date that suits you, if your new property is not ready until a certain date, then the closing date should be after this date). It is safe to aim for around six weeks after you have gone Sale Agreed. At this stage this is only a provisional date, closing dates change all the time. It is important for all parties to have a realistic date to work towards. This date may move, for example it may take longer than anticipated for the contracts to be drafted (this is why getting your deeds released when you decide to sell is a good idea) or there may be other delays to do with satisfying queries regarding the Survey or Management Company. If these issues arise, your Solicitor should advise you if the initial closing date will not be achieved. When the Contracts are signed by the purchaser, they will be sent back to your Solicitor and you will be invited to sign them. At this point you will have a final closing date agreed.
The purchaser may request to do a final inspection of the property just before the funds are transferred. If they request this it is most likely that they want to make sure the property will be left as agreed i.e. with no furniture / with furniture etc. Your Solicitor can advise you when the Contracts are with the purchasers for signing and when you should sign them, and the closing date agreed. Remember to keep communication channels open with your solicitor so you are aware of all these important dates, you don’t want to be in a situation where the sale closes and you have not packed up the property!!
Vacating the property
You will be required to vacate the property on the agreed closing date. Make sure you are ready for this date! Aim to have all of your belongings out of the property before this date if possible, so that you have the final day to give the place a final clean and remember all your good memories there! In most cases, you will have agreed to leave the property empty apart from the appliances included in the sale (the list of what is included in the sale should be given to your solicitor when they are drafting Contracts). Sometimes a purchaser may request to buy some furniture items. If you make an agreement for furniture items and agree a price, make sure that this is a separate transaction from the sale price agreed, the furniture items are not liable for the same tax as the amount received for the property. Get them to write you a cheque which can be kept with the Solicitor or transfer the monies on the day the sale closes.
Tip: When showing the house let the viewer know what will be left, for example; if you have had the curtains custom made to fit the windows and have decided that they are included in the sale, let the viewer know. Or if these cost you a fortune, let the viewer know that you would be willing to sell them for a price! Fixtures and fittings are normally included in the sale, this should be specified in the Contract.
It is helpful to leave all keys etc. labelled or where they should be, and any useful instructions for the purchaser. The front door keys along with any car park/gate fobs should be left with your solicitor so they can release them to the purchasers solicitor once all funds are received on the closing day.
Meter Readings and Accounts
Take electricity and gas readings on the day that you are vacating your home. You will want to close your accounts or transfer your accounts to your new property. These will be your final readings. If you are unable to access the meter boxes, contact the companies and let them know the day you are leaving and request meter readings for that day.
You can let the purchasers know what companies you use for utilities and give them the option to set up their accounts. It is up to them to take over or set up their own accounts. Electricity and gas companies generally give a certain amount of time before they cut off, there is then a reconnection fee that needs to be paid.
Similarly close TV, Broadband and telephone accounts for that property. If you are moving to a new property, you will be given the choice to transfer the account.