If you are planning to sell your home, there are some rules and regulations to follow to avoid a future dispute. It is important to be aware of the process and to know your legal obligations as a home seller. In general, a home seller can advertise the property, request a home inspection and set a reasonable price for the home or can hire a real estate agent to complete these tasks.
As a home seller, you are allowed to set certain conditions before the actual purchase of the home. For example, you may request a certain amount of deposit before the closing or verification of the mortgage loan.
Home sellers have the right to either accept an offer to purchase their home or refuse the offer assuming the reason is for legitimate reasons. Some valid reasons to reject the offer or walk away from the deal from the buyer are:
- The price was not high enough;
- Uncertainty about the financial stability of the borrower to secure a loan; or
- You changed your mind about selling the home.
However, it is illegal to discriminate on the selling of your home based on race, religion, national origin, gender or family status. The Fair Housing Act prohibits this type of property discrimination. You also have the right to legal representation throughout the process.
What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Selling the Home?
Selling your home for the first time can be an emotionally draining process, and dealing with the house showing can be challenging too. Therefore, to minimize your difficulty in this process, you need to access the resources available around you. Here are some considerations to make during the selling of your home:
- Think through a business perspective rather than an emotional perspective when beginning the process of selling your home;
- Hiring a real estate agent will assist with the process significantly because they can provide their expertise on the state of the house market and what home buyers are looking for;
- Do not underestimate the power of more advertising and online options;
- Set the house price at a reasonable because over priced homes usually do not sell and one of the best strategies is to have a lower price to attract more offers;
- Your pricing strategies can depend on whether your in the buyers market or the sellers market for homes;
- Winter months are harder to sell in because people are usually busy with the holidays and are more comfortable being in the home during the cold season;
- Invest on getting good quality photos of the home online because often times this is the first time buyers view your property;
- Getting good home insurance for home viewing is beneficial incase there is an accident on the premises;
- Having the home inspected earlier and fixing any major problems is crucial;
- Cleaning and staging the home by a professional can help to make a solid impression on the buyers;
- Accommodating the buyer’s time to view the home even if it is inconvenient for you will make sure you do not miss out on any potential offers and;
- Screening the buyers by requesting a pre-approved letter from a mortgage lender can deter you from unqualified buyers and save your time in the selling process.
What Are the Disclosure Requirements for Home Sellers?
Each state has different regulations in place for the property’s condition disclosure requirements. It is crucial to know them and adhere to them. If the seller fails to disclose the required information outlined by the state laws, the seller is at risk of losing money, paying damages and being sued.
For example, in Maryland the home seller intending to sell his property must submit a Residential Property Disclosure and Disclaimer Statement that describes all the defects with the property and its condition. However, Maryland is unique in the sense that only one needs to be submitted either the disclosure of the known defects or a disclaimer on the condition of the property but not both.
In general, being transparent in completing the forms will save you from potential lawsuits in the future. Therefore, disclosing everything from the roof’s condition to the gas tank will be useful.
Another example is in Texas, where the home seller is required also to submit a form disclosing any material defect with the home. The form needs to be completed to the best knowledge and belief of the seller from the date it was signed. Texas is more specific in filling out what exactly needs to be repaired on the property.
When Do I Need to Contact A Real Estate Lawyer?
If you are selling your home and are unaware of your rights and obligations, it is recommended to seek out the local real estate lawyer in your state. The selling process is time consuming and overwhelming. Therefore, creating a plan for it and preparing for it will be beneficial for you.