I want to sell my house – where do I begin?

April 3, 2013 Paul A. Sarcona, Esq.

Selling your home is a time consuming process and unnerving experience. Everyone wants to sell their home for the highest price possible and for the most part want to sell their house as soon as possible. In some cases, selling your home becomes even more difficult when you try to coordinate your sale with a purchase of a home.

So, where do you begin?

Gather your paper work.

The following documents are useful in selling your home

  1. The deed – the deed is the evidence of ownership for your home. You should have kept this document in a safe place. If you have lost the deed, you can obtain a copy of your deed at the county clerk’s office in the county which the property is located.
  2. Survey – the survey is diagram or map of your property which discloses the state of facts of the property at a moment in time (usually when you purchase your home). The facts that are usually disclosed are encroachments, improvements (such as garages and sheds), decks, etc. The purchaser in some cases may be able to save money by relying on the survey you purchased at your last closing. This can be a savings of up to $800.00.
  3. Certificate of occupancy – a certificate of occupancy is evidence of compliance with building code with the local municipality.
  4. Mortgage statement – the mortgage statement is useful to your attorney and your realtor to determine how the property will be sold. For example, it is extremely important to know that the purchase price exceeds the value of all existing mortgages. The useful information on a mortgage statement is the principal balance of your loan, contact information, and escrow information. Further, a mortgage statement has useful information so that your attorney may be able to contact the lender in order to secure a payoff statement prior to your closing.

Some of the information that you need to obtain is public information and can be obtained online. For example, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and New York counties makes its public records available for free. Some counties in New Jersey also allow free public records. Additionally, you may be able to obtain your certificate of occupancy for free in New York City by visiting www.nyc.gov.

Choose your attorney in anticipation of your sale.

Your attorney will be able to explain the process of selling your own and what fees are involved in the transaction.

Make your attorney aware of any issues that relate to the property prior to selling. Some of these issues will delay your closing if not dealt with in advance:

  1. Title issues, including, prior owner mortgages
  2. Encroachments of structures on your property or beyond your property
  3. Improvements made to your property without securing a proper permit or certificate of occupancy, including, illegal decks or pools
  4. A tenant that will not leave in anticipation of selling your home
  5. Your mortgage amount exceeds the market value of your home.

Additionally, your attorney may be able to assist you with gathering the information above and assisting you to choose a qualified realtor. Certainly, a realtor is not necessary in a real estate transaction. However, realtors offer an additional source of buyers that can visit your home. This exposure to buyers is generally unavailable to you when you sell your home on your own.

Contact your realtor and interview them about ideas of selling your home. Ask a realtor about their approach. Perhaps, some realtors have recommendations about having your home presentable prior to having buyers view your home, for example, paint the house or make some repairs.

Contact my firm to discuss your options in selling your home.

Filed Under: Real Estate