Selling a home can be a drawn out process, however it can also be rewarding if you take the proper action and steps. Legal issues often arise for unprepared home sellers, and so they are left dealing with much more frustrating situations. Consider these 5 legal issues when you are selling a home to help protect you, your family and your assets.
- It is wise to hire an experienced, knowledgeable real estate agent when selling your home. These qualified professionals are aware of all the legal requirements and guidelines revolving around the real estate market. These rules are constantly changing and being modified, so it is difficult for the average person to keep up and continuously sift through technical, legal jargon regarding selling a home. Working with a real estate agent may cost you a bit more than selling the home on your own, but it could end up saving you more money in the long run or protecting you from getting yourself into a legal mess.
- Understand that you are liable as the seller to disclose all information about the home to potential buyers. If you are aware of serious issues like leaks, malfunctions, or structural problems, it is your responsibility to bring these issues to the homebuyer’s attention before the sale is made. If you do not inform the homeowner, you may still have to pay for repairs after the sale has been completed.
- Learn about the types of paperwork you will need to present as the seller and current homeowner of the property. In order to sell the home you will need to have proof of ownership in the form of the property deed and any current mortgage documentation. Other paperwork that will be required includes information about liens, second mortgages, home equity lines and more depending on your particular situation.
- Understand what a true offer is as well as what information is required for a contract of sale. A legal offer is not valid if a potential buyer simply says they will buy the home over the phone. An offer is only legal if it is in writing and includes specific information such as the purchase price, a down payment account and other information. In addition, read the offer closely because often buyers sign the offer on terms that if inspections are not up to standard, they can withdraw or negotiate the offer. This happens in the case of serious pest issues, plumbing and other items an inspector will check out. Once an offer is made, a contract of sale can be drawn up, stating that both parties agree to the laid out terms.
- Closings can be complicated. Even though real estate agents should be aware of most legal topics, they may not know how to handle situations as a lawyer would. At a closing, you should have a lawyer present to ensure that all decisions and agreements made are legal and in your best interest. Attorneys are unbiased parties who have not been involved in the home selling and buying process. They are there to moderate the arrangement legally and validly. Proceeding with a closing without a lawyer is a very risky choice that could result in serious financial and emotional issues.
The legality of selling your home can make the process quite complicated and frustrating if you do not have the proper professional guidance and expertise. Hiring an experienced real estate agent, lawyer, and taking the time to educate yourself about legal requirements instead of things to do in Oakland, will help to protect you and your real estate assets for a successful sale.