Bureaucracy could be the worst ‘invention’ in human history. With everything else you need to do to close a sale, bureaucracy is the last thing you want to have on your mind. Unfortunately, there’s no escaping it, but the process can be simplified. That’s why we’ve provided a full checklist of the documents required to sell property.
We hope this article can make the process clearer and get you one step closer to selling your house. However, there’s one caveat – some documents you are legally obligated to have, while some help the process go smoother and it can vary state by state. This article will focus on the documents needed to sell a house in California.
First, we should note that there are two types of documents needed to sell a house – the documents you’ll always need to provide and situational documents. The first category is not contingent on anything and you’ll always need to have them, while the second will depend on your specific situation. We have categorized them accordingly.
When you are selling a house in California, these are the documents you will always need to have for the sale to go through. Who prepares the documents is another matter – your agent or title company may take care of some of them, while you take care of the rest. If you are selling personally, without an agent, expect that you will need to obtain them all. So here is the list of obligatory paperwork for selling a house:
You will need the original or a copy of the original sales agreement, including any addendums that were made. That is the document you signed when you purchased the house from the previous owner. It should clearly display the terms and conditions under which the property was bought and contain disclosures related to the property before the sale was completed.
You will need the deed that proves that you are the rightful owner of the property. After the sale is complete, you will sign over the deed to the buyer, thereby making them the new owner of the property.
You will also need an affidavit of title. The affidavit is not the same document as the deed. The affidavit is a statement of fact – a document that needs to be notarized, wherein you swear that you are the owner of the property (that’s where the confusion with the deed comes from), that the property is not currently being sold to a third party, that there are no liens or unpaid taxes, and that you are not in bankruptcy proceedings.
This document will include all the costs associated with the sale, so the closing costs, and an agreement on who is responsible to pay for them – you as the seller or your buyer. Your agent or the title company will usually prepare this document.
The bill of sale should include both the seller’s and buyer’s information. It will list what was included in the sale and the final price that was agreed upon.
What documents from this category you’ll need to have will depend on your exact situation and possibly what the buyer requests. You could need (and if you want to be on the safe side, you should) the following documents to sell a house:
If a home inspection was conducted, you’ll want to have the documents on hand. More than likely, your buyer will also have done an inspection so you should have the documents from your own inspection to compare and find any inconsistencies, if necessary.
This document is used to prove where the property lines are and your buyer may request to see the survey results. You can also use an affidavit that verifies a previous survey that was conducted.
If you have taken out a mortgage on your home, you will need a document that proves how much is still owed and if there are any additional fees. If the mortgage is paid in full, the document should prove that.
When you are selling an inherited property, you will need to provide documentation that proves that the home belongs to you. This could include wills and trusts, or any other documents that prove you are the rightful owner.
If the property you are selling is part of a Home Owners Association, you will need to supply the rules, regulations, codes, documents related to monthly/annual fees, etc. that apply to your HOA.
If you have done any major repairs or renovations that have increased the value of your property, you should have documents proving it. These documents can demonstrate the added value and increase the cost basis of your house, which can lower the capital gains tax you’ll eventually have to pay.
Your buyer may request the home warranty services agreement that explicitly lists what is covered by warranty, for how long, and whether there are any costs associated with it.
Finally, you will possibly need documents disclosing anything that could affect the buyer’s desire to buy the house. By law, you need to disclose all “material facts” related to your house. The real estate transfer disclosure statement is the general document that is used. You should list all known issues with your home in it, like malfunctioning appliances, if lead-based paint was used, whether there is any water damage, etc.
You may also need to provide a natural hazard disclosure statement. This is only applicable if your property is on or near any mapped area where natural hazards are likely, such as seasonal flooding, wildfires, if the home is in an airport influence area, if the home is located on fault lines - thus earthquakes happen, etc.
Please note that providing disclosure forms is very important, as you could be held liable for any facts related to your home that you failed to let the buyer know about before the sale was completed. With disclosure forms, the rule of thumb is – if you are unsure if something should be included, include it.
If it is, it’s understandable. If you decide to sell your home to SleeveUp Homes, we will take care of almost all of the documents required to sell property for you and you can always contact us if you are still unsure about anything. Even with the mounds of paperwork needed, you can close within 7 days.
We are not wholesalers, don’t work with realtors, and do all of the repairs in-house, which is why we can offer you top dollar for your property, regardless of the state it’s in. Request an offer and if we make a deal, you can get $10 000 in advance, before you close.