What Are the Documents Needed to Sell a House by Owner?

by | May 23, 2022 | Selling Advice

If you’re looking to sell your house by owner (FSBO), you’ll need to provide some documentation to the buyer.

This document checklist will help you make sure you have everything ready before listing your home.

Having all of the necessary paperwork in order will make the selling process go more smoothly and help ensure a quick sale.

What do with your home before gathering documents

One way to avoid overspending on realtor commissions is to list your home as FSBO. But before you start gathering the required documents, it’s important to take some key steps to prepare your home for sale.

First, consult with a local real estate attorney to make sure you’re taking the proper legal steps and understand your rights and responsibilities as a seller.

Then, get your home in tip-top shape by decluttering, deep cleaning, and making any necessary repairs or cosmetic updates. Once your home is ready to show, take professional-quality photos and create compelling marketing materials.

Documents to prepare before listing your home

These are 3 stages of the necessary paperwork needed when you list a home For Sale by Owner (FSBO):

  1. Paperwork needed before you list your home
  2. Documents needed when you list your home
  3. FSBO contracts needed at closing

The most important document is the sales contract, which should be prepared by an experienced real estate attorney.

You’ll also need to have a current property survey and title insurance policy. You can also collect any warranties or manuals for major appliances or systems for future owners.

*Important note! The documents required to sell your home will vary depending on your state and county. Please check with a real estate attorney, agent, or local area websites to find out which ones are required for your location. Some of the documents mentioned below may not be required for you.

Paperwork needed before you list your home

Here are the following documents you’ll need to gather before you can list your home as a FSBO:

Original Sales Contract

An Original Sales Contract is a document that outlines the terms of a real estate transaction. This contract is typically between you and the buyer, but can also involve other parties such as real estate agents or Attorneys.

The contract will outline things like price, repairs that need to be made, inspection dates, and more. It is important to have an original sales contract because it protects both the buyer and you as the seller.

For the buyer, it ensures that they are getting what they agreed to purchase. For you as the seller, it protects you from any legal liability if something goes wrong with the property after the sale.

Having an original sales contract is essential for any real estate transaction as it ensures that everyone involved knows their rights and responsibilities, and can help to avoid any potential problems down the road.

Mortgage payoff statement

A mortgage payoff statement is a document that shows how much you owe on your mortgage, as well as any outstanding interest and fees.

If you’re selling your house, your mortgage lender will usually require a payoff statement in order to process the sale. The statement serves as a “closing document” of sorts, showing that you’ve paid off your debt and are no longer obligated to make monthly payments.

Typically, you would provide a payoff statement to your real estate agent but since you’re selling on your own, you’ll provide the statement to the title company in order to move forward with the sale.

Seller’s net sheet

A seller’s net sheet is a document that itemizes all of the costs associated with selling a house. This includes real estate commissions, transfer taxes, escrow fees, and other closing costs.

The net sheet also subtracts these costs from the sales price of the home to give you an estimate of how much money you will actually walk away with at closing.

While the final numbers on a net sheet are never exact, they can give you a good idea of what to expect when you sell your home. This can be helpful when determining whether or not to accept an offer on your home.

Additionally, knowing the bottom line up front can help you to negotiate with buyers who are trying to lowball you.

Comparative market analysis

A comparative market analysis (CMA) is an assessment of the prices at which similar properties in the same area that recently sold.

Real estate agents use CMAs to help their clients determine a listing price for their homes, but you don’t need to be working with an agent to get one. You can request a CMA from a real estate agent in your area even if you’re not planning to list your home with that agent. 

Even if you’ve been following your local real estate market closely, it’s hard to know exactly how much your home is worth without looking at comparable sales in your neighborhood. 

A CMA gives you an estimate of your home’s value based on actual sales data, rather than opinions or suggestions. This can be helpful in negotiating with buyers, as well as in setting your expectations for how long it might take to sell your home and how much money you’ll ultimately receive from the sale. 

By looking at recent sales data, you can also get a sense of whether prices in your area are rising, falling, or staying about the same. This information can help you decide whether now is a good time to sell or whether you should hold off for a better market.

Preliminary title report (Prelim)

A preliminary title report is a document that provides an overview of the property’s titles and encumbrances.

It is typically prepared by a title company or an attorney and is used to help buyers and sellers determine whether there are any outstanding claims or liens on the property.

Preliminary title reports are usually required when selling your house, as they can help to ensure that the sale goes smoothly and that the buyer is getting clear title to the property.

In some cases, a preliminary title report may also be required by lenders in order to approve a loan for the purchase of a property.

Certificate of compliance

A certificate of compliance, also known as a final inspection or occupancy certificate, is a document that verifies that your home meets all the building code requirements for safety and habitability.

In most municipalities, you need to obtain a certificate of compliance before you can sell your home. The certificate of compliance is issued by the building department after they inspect the home and confirm that it meets all the relevant code requirements.

The certificate of compliance is an important document because it protects both the buyer and the seller from liability in case there are any problems with the home after the sale is finalized.

Other misc documents

  • Homeowners insurance records – Homeowners insurance records show how much your home is worth, what kind of coverage you have, and what kind of deductibles you have.

  • Homeowners Association (HOA) documents – HOA documents outline the rules and regulations for a neighborhood or housing development. These documents can include everything from design guidelines to pet restrictions and annual fees due.

  • Property survey – Property survey documents show the boundaries of your property, as well as any structures or improvements that are on it.

  • Home repair and maintenance records – Home repair and maintenance records provide proof that you have kept up with routine maintenance, which can be helpful in convincing potential buyers that your home has been well-cared for. 
  • Warranties or manuals for major appliances – Including warranties and manuals for major appliances in the sale can give buyers peace of mind knowing that they won’t have to worry about expensive repairs down the road with existing warranties. Also, providing manuals ensures that the new owners will be able to properly operate and maintain their appliances.

Documents needed when you list your home

Now, let’s discuss the documents you’ll need when listing your home by owner and what each one signifies. By being prepared with the right paperwork, you can help ensure a successful transition from listing to sale.

Purchase and sale agreement

A purchase and sale agreement is a contract between a buyer and seller that outlines the terms of a real estate transaction.

The agreement is legally binding, so it’s important to have one in place before you sell your house. The agreement should include the price of the home, the down payment, the closing date, and any other conditions that need to be met.

Having a purchase and sale agreement in place protects both the buyer and the seller, and ensures that everyone understands the terms of the sale.

Purchase offer

A purchase offer outlines the terms of the sale, including the price, closing date, financing contingency, and any special conditions that have been negotiated. It’s also typically contingent upon a home inspection, which allows the buyer to back out of the contract if significant problems are discovered.

For sellers, accepting a purchase offer is one of the most important steps in selling a house. Once a purchase offer has been accepted, the buyer is typically obligated to follow through with the sale.

Mandatory seller disclosures

When you sell your house, you are legally required to provide certain information to buyers. This information is typically included in a document called the mandatory seller disclosure.

The contents of the disclosure vary from state to state but generally include information about the condition of the property, any known defects, and any recent repairs or renovations.

The seller disclosure is an important part of the home-selling process, and failure to provide accurate and complete information could result in legal consequences.

Home inspection report

A home inspection report is a document that outlines the condition of a property. It covers everything from the condition of the foundation to the roof and everything in between.

Inspectors look for any major problems that could affect the value of your home or pose a safety hazard. Home inspection reports typically include recommendations for repairs and maintenance. 

While most sellers are not required to make all the recommended repairs, potential buyers will often ask for repairs to be made as a condition of their offer. 

Home appraisal report

When you’re selling your house, one of the first steps is to hire a professional appraiser. The appraiser will visit your home and assess its value. This value will be used to help determine the asking price for your home.

It’s important to have a realistic idea of your home’s worth before you list it for sale. An appraisal report can also be helpful if you’re trying to get a mortgage or refinance your home.

The lender will want to see an appraisal report in order to determine how much they’re willing to lend you.

An appraisal report can also help you price your home appropriately and avoid any surprises at the closing table.

Contingency removal form (California only)

When you sell your house in California, you’ll need to fill out a Contingency Removal form. This form states that the buyer is waiving their right to cancel the purchase if certain contingencies aren’t met.

For example, the buyer might waive their right to cancel if they can’t get financing or if the appraisal comes in lower than expected. The form also outlines what will happen if the buyer does cancel the purchase.

For example, the buyer might agree to forfeit their earnest money deposit. As a seller, it’s important to have a Contingency Removal form in place to protect yourself from buyers who try to back out of the deal at the last minute.

woman selling home and completing documents on laptop

FSBO contracts needed at closing

Closing a home sale without an agent can be tricky. There are many documents you will need in order to complete the sale. Having the right paperwork will make the process smoother and help avoid any delays.

Deed

A deed is a legal document that transfers ownership of real property from one person to another. When you sell your house, the deed is used to transfer ownership of the property from you to the buyer.

The deed must be signed by both parties and typically includes the following information: the names of the parties involved in the transaction, a description of the property being transferred, and the date of the sale.

In some cases, the deed may also be registered with the local land registry office. The purpose of registering the deed is to provide public notice of the transfer of ownership and to ensure that the new owner has a clear title to the property.

Property tax records

Property tax records provide you with an estimate of your home’s value, as well as valuable information about your home’s history. Property tax records can also help you to understand your property taxes and make sure that you are paying the correct amount.

Property tax records can be used to verify the ownership of your home and make sure that there are no liens or other encumbrances on your property. All of this information can be extremely helpful when negotiating with buyers and preparing your home during closing.

1099-S tax form

The 1099-S tax form is a document that is required to be filed with the IRS when selling a property.

The form is used to report the proceeds from the sale, and it is also used to calculate any capital gains taxes that may be due on the sale. The 1099-S tax form is generally issued by the title company or closing agent, and it must be filed with the IRS within 60 days of the sale.

Failure to file the form can result in penalties, so it is important to be aware of its requirements when selling a property.

Affidavit of title

An affidavit of title is a written statement that is used to show that the person who is selling a piece of property is the rightful owner of that property.

This document can be used to help prove ownership in the event that there is any dispute over the property. When selling your house, an affidavit of title can be used to help show that you are the rightful owner of the property and that you have the right to sell it.

Affidavit of title can also help to ensure that the buyers are aware of any potential claims or encumbrances on the property. Without an affidavit of title, it may be more difficult to sell your house, as potential buyers may be hesitant to purchase a property without knowing for sure that the seller is the rightful owner.

Closing statement (aka settlement sheet)

The closing statement is a document that lists all of the final costs associated with the sale of the property. This includes things like real estate commissions, loan payoff amounts, and any prorated taxes or utilities. The closing statement also includes the final purchase price of the home.

The purpose of the closing statement is to ensure that both the buyer and seller are aware of all of the costs associated with the sale and that there are no surprises. The closing statement is also used to track the distribution of funds from the sale.

For example, if there is a mortgage on the property, the closing statement will show how much of the proceeds from the sale are going to pay off the loan.

The buyers and sellers will both receive copies of the closing statement at the close of escrow.

Where can I find FSBO documents?

If you’re looking for FSBO documents, your best bet is to search online. There are a number of websites that specialize in providing forms and templates for use in real estate transactions.

Each state and local governments have their own sites with forms and information specifically for FSBO transactions. With a little bit of searching, you should be able to find everything you need to get started.

You can also consult with a local real estate agent or attorney for guidance on the documents you need.

Final thoughts

Selling a house by owner can be a daunting task, but it is definitely possible with the right preparation. One of the most important things to do when selling your home is to make sure that you have all of the necessary documents in order.

The deed, property tax records, and closing statement are just a few of the documents that you will need in order to sell your house. By being prepared and knowing what to expect, you can make the process of selling your home go much smoother.

Learn more about selling your house with our other resources:

  1. Are sell your house for cash companies legitimate?
  2. Sell your house on Facebook marketplace to get buyers quickly!
  3. 15 Best Neutral Paint Colors for Selling a House [Exterior & Interior]

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