You must have the correct documents to sell your home without using a real estate agent or you may make costly mistakes. Omitting necessary paperwork may ruin the deal or leave you legally liable to the buyer. The exact documents you need depends on the type of sale and state laws, but certain types of paperwork commonly appear in real estate sales.
The documents you need to sell your home with an agent depend on the state laws where the property is located. Among other documents, typically you'll need a sales contract, original deed and transfer deed, an original or current survey and a seller's disclosure statement.
Offer to Purchase
A sales or purchase offer contract protects both you and the buyer by spelling out the rights and responsibilities of each party, such as who pays for filing fees, the property's purchase price and reasons for cancellation without penalty. You can find state-approved fill-in real estate sales contracts at legal print shops — shops that sell legal forms — and certain office supply stores. You may make counteroffers to the buyer if you don't like all the terms and amend the contract accordingly. Sit down with the buyer and go over all areas of the final contract before signing.
Deed of Ownership and Transfer
The original deed you received when you bought the property proves you own the home; a certified copy is available at the county clerk or recorder's office if needed. You need the legal description — a paragraph on the deed that details the property in words — for the new deed going to the buyer. You also need a blank deed form to transfer the property. Only use a state-approved deed form, typically found at legal print shops and office supply stores.
Original or Current Survey
A survey is a graphic representation of the property's dimensions on paper, including boundaries and possible encroachments onto your neighbors' land. The survey is a legal document that shows exactly what you own and can or will sell to the buyer. A private sales contract typically gives the buyer the right to a current survey; having a survey done helps avoid mistakes. Surveys by licensed surveyors constitute legal proof in a land dispute if any issues arise with the sale. The original survey you received when you bought the property can suffice in certain states if nothing on the land has changed.
Transfer and Disclosure Forms
You must complete transfer or real estate forms to record the deed in the county land records. The forms vary by area, but you usually must supply personal information about the seller and buyer, as well as information about the property, such as the property tax number and value; you also calculate how much tax you must pay on the sale on the transfer form. Certain counties require you, as the seller, to fill out federal and state tax forms when filing the new deed for tax reporting purposes.
A seller's disclosure form states any known defects about the home. You must supply the buyer with a disclosure to protect yourself legally, and you must include all defects you know of.
Private Mortgage Form
For seller-financed transactions, you need a private mortgage. Legal print shops and office supply stores sell fill-in private mortgage forms for use in your particular state. The mortgage must spell out the total amount of the loan, the interest rate, the number of payments, any late penalties, and the payment due date, amount and frequency. Additional terms include how the money is paid — by mailed check to your home address, for example — and other items not prohibited under state law that you or the buyer want to include. Clearly identify the property on the private mortgage by legal description, property tax identification number and street address.
Anna Assad began writing professionally in 1999 and has published several legal articles for various websites. She has an extensive real estate and criminal legal background. She also tutored in English for nearly eight years, attended Buffalo State College for paralegal studies and accounting, and minored in English literature, receiving a Bachelor of Arts.