From contracting with an agent to getting to closing day, selling a house involves a lot of paperwork, estimated at about 180 sheets give or take in some states. The documents needed to sell a house reflect every step in the home selling process, and here we walk you through what to expect from start to finish.
Note: The paperwork required for your home sale can vary by state and county, so check to see what’s required for your location. This article is intended for educational purposes only, and we recommend consulting with your real estate agent and a real estate attorney for your particular situation.
Documents needed before listing your home
Original sales contract
The original sales contract is the agreement you made with the previous owner of your home when you bought it. This contract outlines the terms of the purchase and maps out the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, and “why” of the transaction. This way, the buyer makes no mistake about who has previously owned the house, and the terms and conditions under which it was transferred to a new owner. The sales contract notes the price at which the house was sold, and elaborates on any disclosures about the property that were made before the sale.
Appraisal from when you bought your home
An appraisal is a professional assessment of the fair market value of your home that determines how much a mortgage lender will lend to a buyer. To go forward with the sale, you’ll need a brand new appraisal (unless you’re working with a cash buyer who doesn’t need financing, which we’ll dive into later).
Mortgage statement (payoff amount)
If you’re selling before you pay off your current mortgage in full, contact your lender or servicer and request a statement showing your payoff amount. The payoff amount is the total you’ll have to pay to satisfy the terms of your mortgage loan, including any interest you owe until the day you plan to pay your loan in full.
The payoff amount is not the same as your current balance, which will appear on your most recent account statement and may not include interest. Your lender is required to provide your payoff amount to you, so don’t be shy about asking. With that information, you’ll be able to calculate your estimated home sale proceeds.
Homeowners insurance records
Before you sell your home, you want to be transparent with your buyer about any damages and repairs made to your home. You’ll need to provide the buyer with proof of your homeowners insurance information, as well as a claims report or a list of all the claims on your home since the time of purchase.
This will also give the buyer an idea of how much their homeowners insurance will cost when they move in.
Homeowners Association (HOA) documents
If you want to sell property that is part of a development, odds are you’re already part of a Homeowners Association (HOA) that runs the whole thing.
The HOA often has certain guidelines about the appearance of your home, what you pay for assessments of your property, and whether you can rent your home to other parties.
These are all key pieces of information the buyer will need to know before they make a purchase. They will need the following governing HOA documents:
- Articles of incorporation
- Rules and regulations
- Homeowners dues amount statement
- Copies of the minutes from the Association’s meetings of the past two years
- The Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions
Home repair and maintenance records
Home repair and maintenance records are hard evidence of all that work you’ve done to your home while you’ve proudly owned it. These records also let the buyers know what needs immediate attention when they move in. Your home repair and maintenance records should contain the following:
- Maintenance receipts such as roof repairs, chimney cleanings, appliance warranty plans, etc.
- Dated records of your most recent painting, gutter cleanings, window washings
- Utility maps for your electric and gas systems