Paperwork for Selling a House: 5 Things You Must Complete

paperwork for selling a house

Congratulations! You have decided to sell your house. The days of buying a home in your twenties and staying in it through old age are behind us. This means you will probably go through the home selling process a few times.

As you might imagine, paperwork for selling a house can be overwhelming. Knowing what paperwork you need for selling a house will make all your moves easier.

Did you know that homeowners sell and move an average of every 5 to 7 years? Why do we sell our houses more often than ever before?

  • Need a larger space or smaller space
  • Want a nicer place
  • Can’t get permits to make your desired renovations
  • Need to relocate to another city for work
  • Want to move closer to your current job
  • A personal relationship has changed (i.e., marriage, divorce, etc.)
  • Need the cash

No matter what your reason is, there is paperwork for selling a house that every seller needs to prepare for a successful transaction.

Paperwork for Selling a House

Being organized will make the house selling process a lot smoother. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and read our helpful guide to organizing your property sale documents. Begin by gathering the following:

  • Final Purchase and Sale Agreement
  • Property Title and Deed
  • Records of Structural and Mechanical Maintenance
  • Mortgage Pay Off, Tax and Insurance Information
  • Documents Related to Homeowners Association

The day you bought your house, these documents made some sense. After gathering dust for a few years, they may seem like a foreign language. Let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of each of these documents.

Your Original Signed Purchase and Sale Agreement

The day you closed on your house, your life became complete chaos as you unpacked box after box after box. The last thing you were thinking about was organizing the documents from your purchase. Hopefully, you got around to it. Here is a list to refresh your memory.

Purchase and Sale Contract. This the most important document in a real estate deal. Like most contracts, there is a lot of legalese in it. Here is a simple breakdown of what it contains:

Address of the Property

This includes the street address and the legal description. The legal description includes the lot number, property lines, natural or man-made landmarks to help identify the property, county and state name.

How Much You Paid for the Property and How You Paid

This would include the type of loan you used to purchase the house with details like interest rate and term. If you paid cash, this would be stated instead of the loan information.

The Date and Location of the Closing

Typically, the location of the closing is at a title company, the real estate agent’s office or an attorney’s office.

Conditions of the Transaction

This includes contingency items like verifying your ability to get financing or pay cash. There may be repairs or other things that you required before closing – these would be included.

As you review the contract, make sure that the information is still correct. For example, make sure the name on the contract exactly matches the name on the most recent deed.

Property Deed and Title

These two terms can be confusing for homeowners. The word title is more of a concept that means you own your home. If you have a mortgage, the lender has the title.

The deed is a record of ownership. The original deed is filed with the recorder’s office of the county where the property is located. Your mortgage lender has a copy of the deed.

You should have a copy of the deed with your mortgage paperwork from when you purchased the house. If you don’t have a copy, you can go to your county’s recorder office and get a certified copy.

Records of Maintenance, Upgrades, and Utilities

Your potential buyers will want to know the repairs, maintenance, updates and upgrades you’ve performed on your house. The items you will want to include are:

Receipts

Gather receipts for both interior and exterior home improvements such as new windows, refinished floors, appliances that have been replaced, tree removal, a fresh coat of paint, gutter cleaning, pest control, new electric wiring, etc.

Manuals and Warranties

Gather manuals and warranties for repairs, maintenance, updates, and upgrades. If possible, the names and contact information of the contractors who did the work.

Past Utility Bills

Past utility bills can be helpful for a potential buyer. This information can factor in the affordability of a monthly payment. You can ask your electricity, gas, water and sewer providers to provide details for the last 12 months.

This information will come in handy when you complete the seller’s disclosure, which states all the problems and defects with your house. If your house was built before 1978, you will have to state knowledge of any lead-based paint.

Mortgage Pay Off, Tax, and Insurance Information

If you own your house completely – meaning not mortgages or liens against your house – then you don’t need a mortgage pay off statement.

If you are still paying a mortgage, you will want to know the pay-off amount which is different from the current balance. Call your lender and ask for a pay-off statement.

You will find this helpful when you’re considering offers on your house. You’ll be able to calculate how much you keep from the proceeds of the sale and how much goes to your mortgage lender.

A potential buyer will consider how much in taxes they will pay. Collect your property tax receipts. Collecting and reviewing these receipts will also help you avoid unpaid property taxes.

You will need to have documents showing homeowners insurance claims that you made for any damages and repairs to your house.

Documents Related to Homeowners Association

If your property participates in a Homeowners Association, you’ll need the following documents for potential buyers to review:

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Bylaws
  • Rules and regulations
  • Dues
  • Declaration of covenant, conditions, and restrictions

Every HOA is different, but it safe to assume that consulting with your HOA at the beginning of the sales process is a good idea.

Get Organized!

Gathering paperwork for selling a house can be daunting. It’s not fun to dig around your house for property sale documents. But getting your paperwork organized will make a good first impression on potential buyers.

There are a lot of things to worry about when you are selling your house. Some of these you can control and some of them you can’t. Fortunately, gathering the documents listed above is in your control. If this process sounds overwhelming, talk to a professional about the fastest and easiest way to sell your house.

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