Selling your home can be a time-consuming process that can quickly turn into a stressful and overwhelming experience. In many cases, you may also have to coordinate the sale and your move with the purchase of a new home, which can exponentially increase the stress. To help your transaction go as smoothly as possible, and to minimize your stress level, it is important for sellers to be as prepared as possible. Here’s how to get organized:
1. Get your paperwork together
When selling your home, you need to ensure that you have gathered the relevant “title” documents necessary for the process to proceed smoothly. Among the most important documents you should gather and have ready:
· Recorded Deed: This document is the “title” to your home, proof that you own the property. If you have misplaced this document, you can usually obtain a copy from the county clerk’s office in the county where the house is located.
· Owner’s Title Policy: Shortly after you purchased your home, you should have received your Final Title Policy directly from the title company or attorney who handled your closing. The title policy is proof that any prior liens or judgments were properly discharged or addressed.
· Survey: This is a diagram or map of your property that discloses the physical facts (e.g. location of improvements [house, pool, deck, etc.], property lines, fences, and encroachments) of your property as of the date it was completed (usually when you bought your home). In some cases, the survey may be reused when you sell your house, which can help reduce buyer’s costs and your time.
· Mortgage statement: The mortgage statement provides useful information such as the principal balance of your loan, escrow information and contact information. This document is useful to both your realtor and attorney, as it helps them determine how your property should be sold and whom to contact in order to get a mortgage payoff statement, insuring any mortgage is properly paid off AND canceled at closing.
2. Retain an Experienced Real Estate Attorney
Having an experienced attorney involved in the selling process is invaluable. A good attorney can help explain the process of selling your home and disclose the fees involved in the transaction. Additionally, an attorney can work to clear up any issues related to your property that can potentially delay or derail your closing. Some of these issues include:
· Title issues
· Being underwater on your mortgage (i.e. owing more than your home is worth)
· Inspection issues and Encroachments on your property
· Failing to secure permits for improvements you made (e.g. pools or decks)
· Failing to obtain a certificate of occupancy
3. Use a Good Realtor
Although realtors are not necessary in order to sell a home in New Jersey, they can be useful because they are a good source of potential buyers, which may be unavailable to you if you choose to sell your home yourself. Additionally, realtors can recommend ways to make your home more attractive to buyers (e.g. painting the house or making repairs), giving you the best chance of achieving your goal of obtaining top dollar for your home. Realtors also can help you to best price your house in line with others in your surrounding area, thus enhancing buyer prospects.
Because selling a home is the largest and most significant financial transaction in most people’s lives, it is always best to leave nothing to chance and be fully prepared. The experienced real estate attorneys at Mariano & Coiro, P.C. can work on your behalf to protect your best interests and ensure that the transaction goes smoothly and seamlessly.