Are you selling your home for the first time? It can be a very stressful process. There are many reasons for selling your property, including upsizing and downsizing or moving to a new location.
Whatever the reason for selling up, you must meet the legal requirements before the sale can proceed.
Not all jurisdictions have the exact legal requirements, so it’s essential to consult with a local real estate professional or legal advisor to get accurate and up-to-date information.
We recommend you engage a real estate agent to help you market your home for sale and a property lawyer or conveyancer to manage the legal side of things for the sales and purchase agreement and closing transaction.
Ten Stages to Selling A Home
There are many stages to selling a home, which can be lengthy.
1. Property Disclosure
Sellers must often disclose certain information about the property’s condition and any known issues. This may include structural problems, water damage, pest infestations, or other material defects.
Get ahead of any damage your home may have by getting a builder, plumber and electrician to inspect your home and provide remedies. Consider how much you want to invest in bringing your home up to standard. Do what is necessary for your property to pass a prospective buyer’s building inspection.
2. Title Search and Clear Title
Sellers usually need to provide a clear title to the buyer. This involves conducting a title search to ensure no outstanding liens, unpaid taxes, or other claims on the property. The one caveat outstanding on the property title will be the loan. During settlement, the loan is cleared and removed.
If the sales price is less than the loan, you won’t have a clear title, so it is vital to ensure you agree to sell your property for more than the loan amount outstanding.
3. Home Inspection
While it’s not always a legal requirement, many buyers will insist on a home inspection. Sellers may address any issues discovered during the inspection or negotiate repairs with the buyer. However, as mentioned earlier, aim to remove any possible surprises by ensuring your home is in good condition.
4. Real Estate Agent Agreement
If the seller is working with a real estate agent, they will likely need to sign a listing agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the agent’s representation.
5. Sales Contract
The seller and buyer will typically enter into a legally binding contract outlining the terms of the sale, including the purchase price, closing date, and any contingencies.
6. Compliance with Local Laws
Sellers must comply with local real estate laws and regulations, including zoning laws, building codes, and other ordinances. This may involve obtaining specific certificates or permits.
7. Closing Documents
Sellers must provide various documents at the closing, including the deed, bill of sale, and any other documents necessary to transfer ownership of the property.
8. Payoff of Existing Mortgage
As mentioned in the clear title section, -if the seller has an existing mortgage on the property, they will need to satisfy the loan before transferring ownership to the buyer.
9. Closing Costs
Sellers typically have some financial responsibilities at the closing, including paying for certain closing costs or making concessions to the buyer.
10 Final Walk-Through
Before the finish, the buyer may conduct a final walk-through of the property to ensure that it is in the agreed-upon condition
Energy Performance Certificate
Before marketing your property to sell or rent, you must order an energy performance certificate for potential buyers.
If you’re wondering, the certificate includes general information about your property’s energy usage and costs. It also has recommendations on how to save money and reduce costs. Consider implementing some of the recommendations to improve your property’s EPC rating, as your home will be more attractive to prospective buyers.
You should also know that the certificate is valid for ten years, and you’ll need to use an accredited assessor to help you produce it.
Selling a property is not a quick process, but if you know exactly what you have to do, it doesn’t need to be overwhelming.
Use the steps in this article as your guide and research each step so you are informed before taking action.
Ask your real estate agent and lawyer as many questions as possible so you don’t miss necessary steps that may cause issues later. This also applies to your discussions with your financial advisor, accountant and home loan lender.