I’ve Found a Buyer! What Do I Do Next?
Your realtor will take care of the initial contract. Once it’s signed by both parties, you need to find an experienced real estate attorney to protect your interests as the seller. Do not make the mistake of relying on your realtor’s “legal-like” advice. Only a real estate attorney can provide bonafide legal guidance. If you choose to hire us, the realtor will send a copy of your contract and the Attorney Review process will officially begin.
It’s never a good idea to sign a binding contract without having a lawyer review it first.
What Does It Mean to be in “Attorney Review?”
Once both the seller and buy sign the initial real estate contract, there is a three day waiting period during which terms can still be negotiated. Generally speaking, the initial contract is created by a realtor, but real estate attorneys representing both parties will review the contract during the waiting period. Each side can request and accept or deny terms. The Attorney Review period sometimes takes longer than three days; this is fine as long as both parties and their attorneys agree to the extended period. At the end of the review, once terms are accepted by both parties, the contract becomes valid. If terms cannot be agreed upon, the contract is terminated and any deposit monies are returned to the buyer.
Can I Keep Showing My Home During Attorney Review?
Some people do continue to show their homes, hoping for a better offer. This is legal. However, it’s more likely that once a home is in attorney review, showings and marketing/promotion stop.
The Closing: When Does It Happen and Who Pays What?
If everything goes according to plan, the sale of your home will “close” or be completed on the date set forth in the sales contract. Many closing dates have been known to be postponed, for a variety of reasons.
During the closing, you will sign many documents and your attorney will take care of making sure that paperwork is processed properly to make sure your current mortgage is paid off so, once the sale is complete, you are free of any obligation to the property.
Closing Costs, often paid by the buyer (though this is often a point of negotiation), are the fees paid to complete the sale. Closing costs may include, but are not limited to, prepaid interest, loan points, title insurance and escrow fees.
How Can An Attorney Help with Issues that Arise from a Home Inspection?
It’s likely your buyer will want to conduct a series of home inspections: pest, radon, carbon monoxide, and a general overview of the structure including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, foundation, etc. If the buyer’s inspection reports reveal problems with the property, your attorney can deal with the buyer’s attorney in negotiating ways to mitigate the issues. For example, if there is a termite problem, you may be asked to get an exterminator to take care of it. If there is a major roofing issue, you may be asked to make repairs or offer money at closing to cover the expenses of the repair.
What If I Changed My Mind and No Longer Want to Sell My Home?
If you decide to get out of a contract, you may be sued for damages by buyers. However, there are points where you may be able to reconsider the whole selling process. If you aren’t sure whether or not you want to go through with selling, speak with us about your rights as soon as possible.
Do I Have To Disclose Information About My Home?
Honesty is definitely the best policy if you are trying to sell your home. While some of the information that you may disclose might encourage buyers to offer a lower price, full disclosure protects you from being sued by buyers later on. In most cases, homeowners are legally bound to fully disclose any issues that the property may have.
Information included in the disclosure: major repairs that are needed, cracks in the foundation, HVAC issues, any problems with mold that the home may have, termite issues and more. Talk to us about seller’s disclosure obligations.