There are two ways to sell your house — through a real estate agent or on your own. When you work with an agent, they take care of the paperwork and show your house to interested buyers until they find a high-paying and reliable client. They charge a commission in return. If you are conducting an FSBO (for sale by owner transaction), you must obtain the necessary paperwork, fulfill the requirements needed to close the deal, and prepare other crucial documents to ensure a successful sale.
For Sale by Owner Documents Required Before Listing the Property
Ownership Title and Survey
Title commitment for the property states the name of the previous owner, the date when the property was acquired, and other liens and restrictions of record. A property survey shows the legal boundaries of the property. This will save you from false claims, such as your neighbors building a fence on your yard and claiming it’s their part of the property.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
The seller needs a lead-based paint disclosure if they live in a house built before 1978 or any part of the house built during this time. This is required in all states and for all properties. Based on this disclosure, a buyer can conduct a lead inspection. This document warns potential buyers that a house with lead paint can pose a health risk for young children.
Other For Sale by Owner Paperwork Requirements
Sometimes, the seller might have to submit additional documents because of the state’s requirements or a special feature in your house. Here’s a list of these documents. They may or may not apply to your situation.
- A receipt or other proof of a significant repair or replacement that comes with a warranty
- Water quality test report
- Payoff statement for your existing mortgage
- Divorce decree if your ex-spouse previously owned the property
- Property deed
- Well and septic system inspection
- Trust documents
FSBO Paperwork Required When Your House is on the Property Market
You may have taken care of the property disclosure reports before listing. But, if you haven’t done that yet, collect all the documents that prove your ownership and show the condition of your house before a buyer finalizes the purchase decision. Most states require a property disclosure signed by the buyers before the deal can be processed further.
Preliminary Title Report
Your buyer needs to know if any financial or legal cases are filed against your house, whether there’s an existing lien, taxes, or any restriction that might put them in legal trouble in the future.
A pre-inspection on your property is cheaper than a full house inspection. Although that’s not mandatory, giving your buyers a heads-up about the property and its condition is a good idea. This will give you a list of things that need repair and replacement. It comes with a downside, though. Everything about your property is disclosed before the buyer makes an offer.
When the Buyer Makes an Offer
Final Purchase Agreement
A purchase agreement is used to make an offer on the property. As soon as it’s signed, it will become an agreement between the buyer and the seller. However, do not confuse it with the final agreement. That is drafted when all negotiations are settled, and the deal comes to an end. The final purchase agreement shows the closing date, the purchase price, and the terms & conditions of the contract.
A Complete Home Inspection and Home Appraisal
If the buyer works with an agent, they will arrange for a house inspection that covers every nook and cranny of your property. They will draft a 30-50 pages report with pictures. The purpose of the inspection is to highlight the defective, hazardous, and other problematic areas that need attention immediately.
It covers your plumbing, electricity, roof, garage, attic, gas, security systems, etc. A buyer can use this report to negotiate the deal or ask the seller to cover certain repairs before closing. A property appraisal report is also needed before closing. It shows the fair market value of the house.
Paperwork Required During FSBO Closing
Your FSBO attorney will create a closing contract that shows the closing date, purchase price, tax prorations, and other critical factors of the transaction. Since you aren’t working with an agent, you must hire a professional and experienced attorney in Illinois to help review the sale contract and make necessary editing. There is an attorney review provision in every contract and you should have an attorney to review and modify the contract during the attorney review period.
A deed is a legal contract that transfers the title to the property from the seller to the buyer.
The buyer’s attorney will conduct public records to ensure you don’t owe any tax on the property. If there’s an outstanding tax, you need to clear that before or at the closing.
These were the most crucial for sale by owner document forms that are needed to conduct an FSBO transaction successfully. Selling your house without a real estate agent isn’t difficult. You just need to get all this paperwork gathered and completed before closing. Hire professional lawyers for FSBO property sales at FSBO Legal Services.