The home-selling process in Alabama can be complex and overwhelming for some people. There are a lot of steps in the process, and each must be completed in accordance with the law. Failure to do so could result in unnecessary delays and setbacks. For someone trying to sell their home or another residential property, time may very well be a significant factor and so delays and other frustrations should be avoided at all costs.
At Stone, Britt, & Webb, LLC, our real estate lawyers in Wetumpka understands the worries and frustrations many homeowners face when they try to sell their property. We work with your interests in mind and use our resources strategically. Contact us today at 334-517-6520 to schedule a consultation.
Selling Residential Real Estate in Alabama
Once you decide to sell your home, there are some steps you can take to ensure the process is as smooth as possible. Described here are some of the most important ones.
Hire a Real Estate Lawyer
One of the first decisions you need to make is whether or not you want or need the assistance of a real estate lawyer. You want to keep in mind when making this decision that there are many legal hoops to jump through and quite possibly a few legal issues that may arise during the real estate transaction. A lawyer can, depending on the situation, proactively work to prevent legal issues or address them immediately to minimize negative outcomes. A lawyer is the one whom you can trust to make sure all legal matters are handled appropriately and timely.
Hire a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can help you with listing your home and showing your home, among other things. You do not have to pay for their services upfront; instead, they will collect a previously agreed-upon percentage of the sale price at the closing.
Have an Inspection Conducted
Even though you live in your home, there may be issues that you are not even aware of that should be remedied before listing your home. Having a licensed inspector come in and take a look around the home will help you identify what these issues are so you can have them repaired before listing your home for sale.
Know the Value of Your Home
Before listing your home for sale, it is very important that you know its value. If you have retained the services of a real estate lawyer or an agent, they will conduct an analysis of comparable homes that have recently sold near yours and tell you what they believe is the value of your house. Under most circumstances, a licensed appraiser should also be retained to perform this work. They will tell you the amount you can expect to receive for your home, and using an unlicensed appraiser opens the door to additional and unnecessary negotiation.
Review and Accept an Offer
You could receive multiple offers on your home. You will need to review each offer and determine which one you are going to accept. The highest offer may not always be the overall best offer because they may make certain demands or place unwarranted conditions on the real estate transaction. A lawyer can help you determine the best offer aligned with your interests.
Attend the Closing
A closing is an event in which you sign the deed that transfers ownership of your property to another person. You will receive documentation of any deductions that are coming out of the amount you will receive from the sale. Then, after the documents are all signed, you should receive the money you are due from the sale. An attorney's presence is particularly important during the closing process. Some states even require it. To know for sure about what's required in Alabama, speak to a real estate lawyer to learn more.
Documents Needed to Sell a Home
Selling a home requires you to gather numerous documents to help make certain the transaction goes smoothly. Your lawyer will advise you of what you need and where to get the documentation if you do not know yourself.
Documents essential to a residential real estate closing include the following.
- Loan Payoff Amount: If you have one or more mortgages on your property, they will need to be paid off at the closing. This means that you will need a payoff statement from your lender with a good through date.
- HOA Documentation: If you live in a community with an HOA, you will need to provide those documents at closing.
- Proof of Repairs: Many home sales are contingent upon certain repairs being made to the property. You will need to be able to provide proof that these repairs were completed and the repairman paid unless they are to be paid at closing.
There will likely be other documents, which you will be made aware of, that you must present as well.
Remedies in Alabama When Buyers Breach Real Estate Sales Contracts
Unfortunately, contracts for the sale of a home often fall through for one reason or another. Some of the more common reasons include:
- Inability on the part of the buyer to obtain financing
- The buyer changed their mind
- A home inspection reveals a structural problem that was unknown when the contract was entered into
- The appraisal came back for less than the purchase price
As a seller, your remedies are limited by the reason the sale is not taking place and the actual terms of the sales contract. Typically, you have three options.
- Earnest Money. When the buyer made their initial offer to purchase the home, they put down “earnest money.” This money refers to a term in the contract that states you get to keep a certain amount in cases where the buyer backs out of the contract. Keeping this earnest money, canceling the contract, and moving forward with listing the home again might be your best option.
- Specific Performance. You may be able to sue for specific performance. If you are successful, the buyer would be forced to go through with their purchase pursuant to the terms of the contract.
Breach of Contract. Due to a buyer's failure to follow through with the home purchase, you may be able to sue them for breach of contract. Breaches of the contract can materialize in different ways, including:
- Buyer fails to come to the transaction in good faithBuyer does not have adequate funds to make a contract deposit and the check bouncesBuyer does not tender the balance of the purchase priceBuyer purposely defaults,
- , the buyer fails to provide a mortgage commitment letter or other bank documents as required Buyer fails to provide honest warranties and representations
The remedy best for you is something you should discuss with an experienced real estate attorney.
Contact a Residential Real Estate Attorney in Wetumpka Today
Selling your home or another residential property can be rewarding once it is all done and over, but the process itself is time-consuming and overwhelming. Make sure you do it right by retaining a real estate lawyer in Wetumpka. Contact Stone, Britt, & Webb, LLC by filling out our online form or calling us at 334-517-6520 to learn more about our real estate services.