Seller’s Guide to Real Estate Documents

Selling your home can be a long, complicated process that involves many steps. Understanding and preparing the right real estate documents and paperwork to sell your home is essential to ensuring you and your property are protected during the sale.

Note that your local area may have additional documentation and legal requirements before you can sell your home.

Documents to Gather Before You Sell Your Home

You only need some real estate documents when it’s time to close on a property sale, but there are some that you should gather in advance. Gathering these documents ahead of time can help you expedite the sales process and make the property transfer as smooth as possible.

The Deed

The property deed is the most important document you need when selling your home. The deed is a legal document that will record the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. Deeds also describe the property and may outline where the lot starts and ends.

Before you begin the process of selling your home, make sure you have a copy of the deed handy.

Certificate of Title

A certificate of title, like a deed, shows proof of ownership of a property. A certificate of title is issued by a title company after the title search is completed and any issues are resolved. The document confirms that the property’s title is clear and you can legally transfer it to the buyer. 

Homeowners Association Documents

If your home is part of a homeowners association, you will need to provide documentation that shows you have paid all of your HOA dues. Additionally, you will need to provide your buyer with a copy of the HOA’s bylaws, rules, and regulations.

In some cases, HOAs charge a transfer fee when you sell your home, in which case you will need to provide proof of payment of this fee at the point of sale as well.

Utility Bills

Utility bills aren’t strictly necessary, but buyers may request them to estimate the cost of their bills when they move in. This includes water, electricity, and gas bills (if applicable). 

It can be helpful to gather past bills ahead of time, especially if you plan to move out before you complete the sale. This is important to speed up your closing process. 

Home Inspection Reports

Generally, homebuyers will hire their own inspector to look over the home before they agree to close on a sale. As a seller, you are not typically required to pay for a home inspection or provide these reports.

However, it can be wise to understand which parts of your property may be an issue to a buyer. Addressing these issues upfront increases your property’s marketability and may help increase the final sale price.

House Repair Records

Major repairs can significantly increase the value of your home. So, if you’ve had major renovations or repairs done on your home in recent years, like a new roof or deck, gather documentation from them too. 

Property Tax Records

You’ll need to provide proof that you are up-to-date on your property tax payments before you can sell your house. 

Documents You’ll Need at the Point of Sale

In addition to the documents you gathered previously, you’ll also need some documents ready when it comes time to finalize the sale of your home.

Purchase Agreement

The purchase agreement, or sales agreement, outlines the rules that the buyer and seller of a home agree to when a piece of real estate changes hands. Purchase agreements are drawn up by real estate professionals and, occasionally, real estate lawyers. They are binding, important contracts, so it’s important to fully understand the terms of your purchase agreement before you sign.

Escrow Instructions

The term “escrow” refers to an in-between stage during a property sale where a third party holds onto assets until the buyer and seller meet all terms and conditions. Escrow instructions define these conditions to decrease buyers’ and sellers’ risks and liabilities.

Bill of Sale

A bill of sale is a real estate document that details the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. It may also outline furniture and appliances you leave behind for the buyer if you don’t plan on bringing them with you.

Disclosure Forms

The need for disclosure forms depends largely on where you live, but there are some regulations that apply everywhere. For example, federal law requires that you disclose if lead-based paint has been used within the home in the past.

Many states also require you to disclose defects or issues that may impact the value of a home before you close on a sale. Additionally, some states have unique requirements for sellers. California, for example, requires that sellers disclose if anyone has died in the home in the last three years.

Sell Your Home the Easy Way With Grandview Homes

Selling your home can be a long, difficult process. And gathering and understanding the necessary real estate documents is only the beginning. At Grandview Homes, we can help you bypass many paperwork hurdles, ensuring you sell your home fast.

Contact us today to receive a fair cash offer for your home in as little as 24 hours.

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