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Closing the Deal

Do I need to hold onto the final closing statement for tax purposes?

The final closing statement is extremely important. Be sure to keep a copy for your files; you'll want to refer to it when you prepare your income tax return. Some expenses of sale (such as the real estate commission, mortgage prepayment penalties, and property tax payments) are tax deductible. Furthermore, you may owe capital gains tax on any profit you made from selling the property.

Is it okay if I have buyers move into my house the same day of closing?

This date is fine if you're absolutely, utterly, positively, beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt certain of two factors: the house you're selling has closed, and your next home will be vacant so you can move into it.

- If you intend to move directly from your old house into the new home you're buying, and the closing is delayed or the sellers of the house you're buying can't vacate their place, you've got a logistical problem.

- For two moving vans to occupy exactly the same driveway at exactly the same time borders on the impossible. Moving into a house while someone else is moving out is something you'll never attempt more than once.

Is having the buyers move in the day after closing a good option?

We recommend this alternative because, by using it, you can be certain of closing. After all, you're still the owner until title transfers. Moving day is stressful, even under the best of circumstances. Why create unnecessary stress for yourself by trying to move out while the buyers move in? The sellers of your new home will probably also use the day to move.

- Regardless of whether you move out of your house the day of closing or the following day, make cancellation of your homeowners insurance, utilities, and phone service effective one day after your scheduled closing and move. Carefully coordinate canceling your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent to avoid any gaps in your coverage.

Should I allow buyers to do any work on my house or move into the house prior to closing?

If you vacate your house prior to the close, the buyers may ask your permission to start fixing the house up before closing. After all, painting or waxing floors, for example, is much easier and faster if the house is empty. Don't do it! The buyers may poke around and find a molehill that they turn into a mountain of trouble for you. If the deal falls through, you may get your house back in terrible condition. If the house catches fire, your insurance may not cover the losses. No matter how piteously they plead, be firm. Don't let the buyers do any work on your house or, worse yet, move into the house prior to closing.

What is seller's remorse?

Seller's remorse is a stupendously strong conviction on your part that you're about to sell your house for less than it's really worth. When you're in the cruel grip of seller's remorse, facts take a back seat to perceptions.

The buyers of your house probably have an equally strong conviction that they are paying you way more than your house is worth. Their doubts began when they signed the purchase contract. The only thing that counts is their perception that they're overpaying.

If you're selling your old house and at the same time buying a new home, you are most likely being devastated by the dreaded double whammy -- simultaneous buyer's and seller's remorse.