For Sale By Owner

What Paperwork Do I Need to Sell My Home Without an Agent?

Gathering the documents you need for an FSBO home sale

One of the primary advantages of using a realtor to help sell your home is document retrieval. Most agents will work with an escrow company to gather and organize all of the paperwork required for the sale, relieving the seller of a task that is not only burdensome but can carry the potential to sink a deal if any documents are omitted or submitted incorrectly.

Of course, selling with a realtor does come with one obvious downside: their fee. Sellers who have some experience working with legal and financial documents stand to make significantly more money off their sale by rolling up their sleeves and handling the paperwork—among other duties—themselves, pocketing the sale percentage that would otherwise go to an agent.

If you decided to sell your home without an agent, you’ll want to have all of your paperwork prepared before you even begin showing the home. The exact documentation required will vary by state, but here’s a rough rundown of what you’ll need to prepare.

Basic document retrieval

Savvy (or well-represented) buyers are going to request copies of a number of documents for inspection. Make sure to have hard copies of the following on hand:

  • Deed and title
  • Documentation of the property boundaries
  • Certificate of occupancy
  • Loan documents, including mortgages and any lines of credit
  • Verification of city and county property tax
  • Recent utility bills
  • Recent property tax bill
  • Floor plan or blueprint of the home
  • Proof of homeowner’s insurance
  • Receipts, permits and documentation for any upgrades or additions made to the home
  • Homeowner’s association agreements and regulations (if applicable)

Inspection report

Most buyers will hire an inspector before closing on a home, but if the home has been inspected within the past few years, a copy of the existing inspection report can go a long way to assure the buyer that your home is worth moving forward on.

Disclosure

There are dozens of conditions that you are required by law to disclose to a buyer before they purchase. Contact your local realtor association to get a boilerplate disclosure agreement, which will list all of the conditions that require disclosure, including structural issues, mold, lead paint, asbestos, nearby flight paths, flood zones and any other potentially hazardous conditions.

Providing an accurate and complete disclosure agreement to buyers isn’t just a legal requirement, it also protects you from any claims of hazards or defects a buyer might make after purchasing.

Sale contract

Unless you are a real estate attorney, this is one document you may need some help with. You’ll need an attorney to draft the sales contract, which will be reviewed by the buyer’s attorney and submitted to a mortgage lender to begin the closing process.

While there are boilerplate contract forms available, the details of each sale vary significantly. Every contract should include details regarding the financial requirements of both parties, sale contingencies, prorations for taxes and assessments and a host of other details and provisions that carry substantial legal weight.