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What documents do I need to sell my house without an agent?

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Purchase And Sale Agreement

Regardless of whether you sell your house with or without an agent (For Sale By Owner), the most important document you need is a Purchase And Sale Agreement. Commonly referred to as the "PSA" and "Contract Of Sale", this form is the legally binding agreement signed by both the Seller and the Buyer, that details the terms upon which real property (i.e. your house and the land it sits on) will be conveyed from you to the Buyer.

In most cases, the Buyer will submit their offer to you formally as a Purchase and Sale Agreement, and it will contain the following terms:

  • Purchase Price: the amount the Buyer will pay to the Seller
  • Earnest Money Deposit: the amount of money the Buyer will place in an escrow account as a good faith gesture once the Seller accepts the agreement. If the Buyer fails to perform their responsibilities in the agreement, the Seller will receive the Earnest Money ("EMD") as damages. This amount is typically 1% - 2.5% of the purchase price of the home but can be higher in a hot housing market.
  • Acceptable financing: the types of financing the Buyer can use (i.e. cash, conventional financing, FHA financing, VA financing, seller financing)
  • Close by date: the date by or before which settlement will occur
  • Inspection window/Study period: for how long will the Buyer have the right to inspect the property?
  • Contingencies: what would allow the Buyer or Seller to cancel the agreement and have their Earnest Money Deposit refunded? Common contingencies include inspection results, financing falling through, and buyer's home sale falling through.
  • Closing costs: how will items such as documentary stamps, recordation taxes, State and local transfer taxes be allocated to the Buyer and Seller?

Read: Pro Tips To Get Your Offer Accepted

In traditional real estate transactions, this document is signed by the Buyer and then provided to the Seller or Seller's Agent by the Buyer or Buyer's Agent as their formal offer. If the Seller accepts the terms in the agreement, they sign. Once the agreement is signed by the seller ("acceptance"), the contract is considered executed and the responsibilities detailed in the agreement for each Party must be met.

Property Disclosure or Disclaimer Statements

Certain states require the Seller to provide property disclosure or disclaimer statements to the buyer before the buyer formally submits their offer. This requirement is commonly waived if the buyer does not intend to live in the property.

Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards

To cover your bases, you should complete the EPA's Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards form.

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