Real Estate

Selling a Residential Property

Selling your home takes more effort than simply planting a sign in your front yard, but it doesn't have to be intimidating. Selling your home is a relatively straightforward process that occurs in step-by-step order. If you're unsure of your obligations, you can check with a real estate attorney or enlist the help of a real estate agent.

Set the Right Price

Be honest with yourself when deciding how much your home is worth. Its actual value on the current market might not match up with what you are hoping for. Even if you manage to find a buyer who is willing to pay an inflated price, the buyer's mortgage company might pull the plug on the deal if there's a big difference between the offer and the home's fair market value.

To get an accurate idea of the value of your home, you can invest in a professional home appraisal. Alternatively, you can ask a realtor to do a fair market analysis and give you a value based on the sales of other homes like yours in your neighborhood.

Be Honest About the Condition

Many states require that you sign a "property condition disclosure form" when listing your home for sale, especially if you do so with a real estate agent. When signing this form, you've got to come clean about any damage that you know about. Be honest.

Your buyer will find out about any problems with the home anyway. Buyers are entitled to have homes inspected by professionals before closing, so they're aware of any hidden damage, such as from termites, a leaky roof, or water in the basement. If you don't disclose problems and the buyer discovers them, it could cost you money at closing.

Negotiate the Sale

Rarely does a buyer come along with a perfect purchase offer, volunteering the exact amount of money you're looking for. The buyer will probably make an offer that's not quite as much as what you're asking. You have the right to send back a counter-offer, asking for more. The buyer might then counter your counter-offer before you finally arrive at a deal.

Don't overlook important things in the buyer's offer in addition to the price, such as any contingencies the buyer might have built in. Contingencies act as escape clauses. Examine them carefully. If you fail to do something between signing the offer and closing on your property, the buyer can use the contingency clause to back out of the deal.

Get Ready for Closing

Once you have a signed offer, most of the work of a real estate closing falls to the buyer. The buyer or the mortgage company will want a title search to make sure there are no liens against your home, such as for outstanding property taxes. Because this might be a surprise at closing and cause major problems, consider hiring a lawyer to help you through the final process.

A Residential Real Estate Lawyer Can Help

The law surrounding sale of your home is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a residential real estate lawyer.

Have a residential real estate question?
Get answers from local attorneys.
It's free and easy.
Ask a Lawyer

Get Professional Help

Find a Residential Real Estate lawyer
Practice Area:
Zip Code:
How It Works
  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Connect with local attorneys

Talk to an attorney

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you