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Before You Sell Your House, Get Your Legal Affairs in Order

by Guest on Mar 1, 2012 Real Estate 1343 Views

Selling your home is no small event. It represents a large time and financial investment. It also involves quite a bit of legal paperwork and processes. Prior to selling a home people usually do all kinds of work cleaning out the garage, clearing out yard waste, and preparing the home for sale. Few people, however, put forth the same effort in cleaning up their legal affairs before selling a home. Selling a home is a large and multi-faceted transaction. As a seller, it’s best to have all your ducks are in a row.

Check Your Real Estate Title

Many sellers follow all the rules of selling a home only find out the home can’t be sold due to a lien placed against it. Some people don’t find this out until they have a buyer’s offer on the table and are well into the process of selling the home. Liens can be placed against a property when the owner of the property owes a debt and is legally liable for repayment. Whether it’s a loan in default or unpaid property taxes, a home usually cannot be sold until all liens are removed.

Are You the True Owner?

It sounds like a silly question, but you must legally own the home in order to sell it. Even if you do not own your home outright (which most people do not), you need to be legally able to sell it. If you are co-owner and for any reason the other party does not want to sell the home, you may have a problem. This specifically applies to couples that were once married and are now divorced. If you once had joint ownership of your home and haven’t established the change with your county’s property assessor/registrar, you need to do so before selling your home. The title must accurately reflect the true owner.

Research Disclosure Laws

Real estate laws vary from state to state. Become very familiar with your state’s laws, as most states require sellers to disclose any potential problems they are aware of in the property. Some states even require that the seller complete specific inspections like termite or roach inspections. If you want to ensure your home meets inspection requirements, it’s best to hire a professional inspection service in order to avoid potential legal problems later.

Notarized Documents

When completing a real estate transaction, all parties need to be physically present. In some instances you can use a notary public to sign off on documents from afar, but as the deal moves toward a close anyone involved in the transaction usually needs to be in the area.

Selling a home isn’t an overnight endeavor. It definitely takes a bit of homework on the front end. Some sellers may even opt to hire a real estate lawyer for some initial advice and to look over contracts and other documents. It’s best not to take any shortcuts in aligning all your affairs. The work you put in early will pay off in the end when you are able sell your home without any legal stumbling blocks.

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