How To Protect Yourself When Selling Your Home

Beth KirtonSeptember 10, 2018

Getting ready to sell your home can be a stressful time. It is important to know what to expect and also how to protect yourself from things like legal quandaries and theft while opening up your home to potential buyers and real estate agents. For most people, your home is your most important investment and it is crucial to protect it and yourself. Here are a few things you can do to ensure a smooth, seamless process.

Be completely honest on your seller disclosure

The seller’s property disclosure statement details the state of your home, like whether it’s suffered any fire or water damage. It might be tempting to gloss over certain events that have occurred in your home when filling out your seller disclosure, after all, you want to make your home seem as appealing as possible, right? But this is a mistake that you can’t afford to make. If something is discovered during the inspection, or even after you’ve already sold, then you could potentially face legal action for withholding that information. This is one of the most serious responsibilities a seller has, so disclose, disclose, disclose! After all, you want to be worry-free once the deal closes. Find an example of what a typical seller disclosure statement looks like here.

Put everything in writing

Even if you feel confident and trust your buyer, make sure all changes, agreements and deals are in your purchase agreement. You’ll be glad you went by the book if your buyer comes after you for keeping the playset when they mentioned wanting it over coffee.

Only allow preapproved buyers to see your home

Showing your home is a time-consuming ordeal. Why make that sacrifice for those who aren’t even in a position to make a serious offer yet? Make sure your agent properly vets potential buyers to ensure they’re serious about buying and are in a position to do so by having a preapproval letter in hand. Only letting serious buyers to see your home will save you time and convenience.

Clear away personal and valuable items

Thanks to third-party sites, when your home is on the market, anyone with internet access will potentially be able to view photos of it. In the interest of privacy, you should remove any personal items for the photo shoot and while showing your home. Remove prescription medications from medicine cabinets and don’t leave any valuables in plain sight. Take down all family and personal pictures as well. An added bonus is fewer personal items displayed will allow your potential buyer to envision it as their future home!

Remove dogs or other pets during showings

Your home should be as neutral a setting as possible while showing. There are also liability issues to consider having pets in the house. Even the nicest dog could get spooked at a stranger in their home, and some people have allergies. You are essentially inviting someone to your private property, so it is important to make your home a safe and welcoming environment for everyone who walks through.

Provide a home warranty for your buyer

A home warranty is a relatively inexpensive way to boost your home’s attractiveness to potential buyers. If you have a long occupancy period, and you continue to live in your home after it closes, it will safeguard you against having to replace costly items like a furnace or refrigerator if either were to fall into disrepair. Learn more about home warranties here.

Opening up your home for sale can make you feel vulnerable, especially if you’re selling for the first time. It’s important to note that these are some of the worst case scenarios that we want to prepare you for. Take the above tips to heart, and you’ll be able to sell your home with less stress and put your mind at ease!

Beth Kirton

The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.