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Paperwork For Selling A House Without A REALTOR®️: Here Are The Documents You’ll Need

Andrew Dehan5-Minute Read
March 19, 2021

Home sales come with a lot of paperwork. If you’re selling your home without a REALTOR® or real estate agent, you have more responsibility to have everything item filled out and present at closing.

Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about paperwork for selling a house without a REALTOR®.

Why Do Some Sellers Avoid Working With A REALTOR®️?

Sellers who use for sale by owner listings are looking to save on paying real estate agent commission fees. Sellers typically pay 6% of the sale to a seller’s agent, who then splits that commission with the buyer’s agent. By forgoing a REALTOR®, a seller is trying to cut the cost paid to an agent.

This cost savings can be significant. On a $200,000 home, they could save $6,000 by not having a seller’s agent. If they negotiate to not pay the buyer’s agent’s commission, that savings could double to $12,000.

The truth is they may still have to pay the buyer’s agent, and by not working with an agent of their own, they may miss many of the benefits a seller’s agent brings. These include listing and marketing their home, pricing their home, choosing the right offer to accept and negotiating with the buyer’s agent.

An experienced real estate agent often pays for themselves, so the value they bring must be weighed against any savings.

The Importance Of Paperwork When Selling A Home

Selling a home is a large legal transaction, and with it comes a lot of paperwork. A REALTOR® knows this paperwork like the back of their hand because they deal with it daily.

Those who decide to sell a home without a REALTOR® must do a lot of legwork to complete their paperwork accurately and promptly. Sellers who don’t have their paperwork in order appear disorganized and can cause delays, which can discourage buyers.

If an issue occurs, disorganization can give buyers another reason not to work with the seller and the deal could fall through.

The Most Common Paperwork For Selling A House By Owner

If you’ve decided to sell your house by owner, you need to know the paperwork required. Here we’ve compiled a list of the most common documents you’ll need. Read on to learn more about each one and the role it plays.

Residential Property Disclosure Form

You’ll need to properly disclose any known problems with the property to the buyer. Each state has different laws and forms to disclose known property issues. Common problems disclosed include a faulty foundation, leaking roof, problems with HVAC and home appliances, pests or mold and more.

Research when you must disclose these problems and the laws around them. You’ll need to fill out this form and present it to the buyer usually right after you accept their offer.

Sales Contract

A sales contract or real estate contract must be drawn up when you accept an offer. There are many available contract templates online. The contract should contain information outlining:

  • The property itself – address, property type, lot size, etc.
  • The buyer and seller’s identities
  • List of appliances/fixtures included in the purchase price
  • Purchase price
  • Amount of earnest money and details on buyer’s financing
  • Closing date
  • Contingencies – such as inspection and appraisal contingencies and/or a home sale contingency
  • Taxes, assessments and utilities owed by the seller and buyer
  • Type of title
  • Closing costs and who pays for them
  • Legal terms regarding what happens if the contract is breached
  • Any other provisions

Title Reports

Title reports are documents put together by title companies who research the history and status of your title. Real estate title is your right to or ownership of your property. These reports outline your ownership and rights, as well as any other parties’ rights through easements or liens on the property.  

Deed

Title and deed are terms that are often confused. Where title is your right or ownership of property, a deed is the physical document outlining the property. It describes the property and its boundaries in detail, and it’s used to sign-off ownership to the buyer.

Loan Documents

You’ll need to have documents outlining your mortgage, any additional mortgages and/or home equity lines of credit.

Latest Utility And Property Tax Bills

Buyers will want to see your latest electricity, water and/or gas bills, as well as property tax statements to understand what they can expect.

Homeowners Association Agreements And Rules

If your home belongs to a homeowners association (HOA), you’ll need to present any rules, covenants and agreements to the buyer. This includes rules on lawncare, pets, noise ordinances and more. You’ll also want to present statements on paid HOA fees.

Plans And Permits

If any work has been done on the house, such as an addition or a new deck, you’ll need present the work plans and permits you filed for.

Receipts And Warranties

If you installed new appliances or had major repairs or upgrades, you should present receipts and applicable warranties to the buyer.

Paperwork Checklist For Sellers

Want to be organized to sell your home? Use this checklist for some of the most common documents:

 

[   ] Residential Property Disclosure Form

[   ] Sales Contract

[   ] Title Reports

[   ] Deed

[   ] Loan Documents

[   ] Latest Utility And Property Tax Bills

[   ] Homeowners Association Agreements And Rules

[   ] Plans And Permits

[   ] Receipts And Warranties

Paperwork Exceptions

The documents we’ve covered so far are just examples of the most common types. Your state, county and/or city may have specific forms that must be completed for you to sell your home. When you list your house for sale by owner, you take responsibility for using the right documentation and filling it out accurately.

There are 22 states that require a real estate attorney to be present at closing. Legally binding documents must be completed correctly and may be difficult to understand without the help of a real estate attorney.

Before deciding whether to list your home for sale by owner, find out all the specific paperwork required of you.

The Bottom Line

There’s a mountain of paperwork to be populated and filed when selling a home. That’s one major reason people hire a REALTOR®.

If you want to save on paying commission, consider selling your home yourself. Research the specific documents you’ll need and make a checklist. Buyers can become wary of the sale if you’re disorganized and cause confusion or delays. You may need to do a lot of legwork, but it could save you thousands on your home sale.

Do you want someone who can guide you through the paperwork? Sell with a Rocket Homes® Partner Agent.

Andrew Dehan

Andrew Dehan is a professional writer who writes about real estate and homeownership. He is also a published poet, musician and nature-lover. He lives in metro Detroit with his wife, daughter and dogs.