The handoff to new owners is the final step in selling your home. But besides the keys, what should you leave them?
A CLEAN HOUSE
It’s going to be mostly empty, so that makes cleaning a whole lot easier. Don’t leave behind crumbs in the drawers, a spill in the refrigerator or dust bunnies in the corner where you had a couch. It’s a busy time and you have a lot on your plate, including cleaning your own new home. But if you can’t find time to give the floors a quick mopping, the carpets a nice vacuuming and the countertops a good wiping, consider hiring a cleaning service to come in after you’re out. It’s not just good manners, it’s karma.
WARRANTIES AND OWNER’S MANUALS
Any appliances sold with the house should have owner manuals and any warranty information gathered and stacked on a counter for the next owners.
CODES AND DOOR OPENERS
Chances are the new owner will change the locks, but gather any keys from friends or relatives and leave every copy. Also gather garage door openers or key codes and instructions on how to change the codes if applicable.
A quick note explaining how to adjust the thermostat can be a huge help. It may seem obvious to you because you’ve lived there for a while, but a new owner may be befuddled about such things. The same goes for any quirks. Of course, you’ve disclosed any problems. But there may be a secret to how the back gate latch works or a GFI plug in one bathroom that is linked to a second bathroom as well. It’s all good information for the new owner.
A LIST OF WHERE TO FIND STUFF
Whether it’s window screens or a patio shade that isn’t currently in use, leave a note with the location of things they might not need now, but will when the season changes.
When is garbage pickup day for your neighborhood, and where do you leave the garbage can?
Where’s the closest grocery store and the best coffee shot? Are there neighbors with kids the same age? Any kind of information to help them feel at home will be appreciated. Do you have a local contractor or yard service you’ve used and can recommend? Leave them cards or phone numbers with that information.
HOME IMPROVEMENT LEFTOVERS
Do you have extra flooring or leftover paint you’d saved for possible touch-ups or repair? Maybe you bought extra bulbs for the bathroom light fixtures. Chances are these will be useless to you but valuable to the new owner. If in doubt, your agent can check with the buyer.
WELCOME-HOME LETTER AND GIFT
While not necessary or expected, if you’ve got an emotional attachment to your home, you may want to leave its new owners with a letter and a housewarming gift. Let them know what a special place it is and wish them well. Introduce them, in writing at least, to their new neighbors. The gift can be anything from a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator to something truly utilitarian like a bar of nice soap. It’s a kind gesture and can help you say goodbye to the place you’ve called home.