At a recent closing where I represented the buyer, I was reminded of the perils of leaving a home you’ve occupied for many, many years (in this case, the sellers had built the home and lived there for 31 years): It’s easy to forget things!
For as awkward as a residential real estate closing can be in Minnesota—where both buyers and sellers may be present at the table—there are often very touching interchanges, especially for a sale like this one. The sellers had been high school sweethearts and, with a plan to buy a plot of land and build and finish a home themselves, were living in a trailer in what was then (in the late 70s) the country (now a third-ring suburb). The land they found was on a cul-de-sac with a small pond at the back of the property. The husband was a carpenter and had helped his father build homes; as such, he had blueprints for several styles of residence rolled up under the bed. The house they'd originally wanted to build on their land was too long to fit, so they chose a different style and started building.
As the home was being built, their first baby was on the way. The couple had full-time day jobs, and worked on the house at night, doing all they could do on their own, getting help from friends or, as a last resort, contracting out only what they couldn’t accomplish alone. The house was built in fits and starts, with some elements getting finished just prior to putting the home on the market this spring.
The buyers had met the wife-seller by chance at their second showing; I met the sellers as I drove up for the final walkthrough the day before closing, as they were saying their final goodbyes to neighbors. As I waited for the buyers to arrive, we were chatting when the wife remembered she had left clothes in the dryer. At closing the following day, there were a few other things the sellers had forgotten: dog treats in a kitchen cabinet, a dust pan in the hallway closet, and full garbage bins in the garage.
When moving, it can be easy to overlook these little things, especially if you’re staying in the house until the last minute. You don’t want to pack everyday-use items too soon, nor do you want to haul away supplies to clean the house for the new owners. When you’re moving, it can be helpful to sequester these items, corralling them into specific areas: putting all toiletries in one cabinet in the bathroom, for example, or packing cleaning supplies into a box and leaving it in plain sight to take with you when you leave. Writing notes as you go—“Dishes in dishwasher,” or “Don’t forget clothes in dryer”—can give you visual clues of what you need to remember.
As always, the test advice from school days will serve you well: check your work! Do one last sweep of your home before leaving for the last time and, if possible, have someone else look through all the drawers, cabinets, nooks and crannies, just to be sure! As final assurance, leave your forwarding information for the new owners… Just in case.
Angela Anderson, 612-396-3654
Licensed Associate Working with Sharlene Hensrud of RE/MAX Results, and HomesMSP — Sharlene, John, Angela