Thinking of selling your Alabama house? Before you do, you should know that you might risk legal problems if you don't follow the state's real estate laws and rules. Before you sell your sweet Alabama home, get an understanding of what's required.
The Role of the Seller's Agent
A seller's real estate agent can accurately assess the current value of comparable homes in your area so you can effectively market your house to attract buyers.
Where to Find a Real Estate Agent
Locate a licensed Alabama real estate agent at AL.com.
There are three kinds of real estate listings:
- Open listing: Owners retain the right to sell the home and pay no commissions.
- Exclusive agency listing: Owners execute a listing agreement with a broker and pay a commission only if the broker is the cause of the sale.
- Exclusive right to sell listing: The seller pays a commission to the listing broker regardless of who brings in the buyer.
Determining the Price
Your agent determines your home's sales price by comparing prices of similar homes that have been listed or sold in your area.
The Listing Agreement's Contents
- Price and commission
- Items included or not included in the sale
- Duties and obligations of the seller and the agent
Alabama law doesn't require that sellers give buyers disclosure forms regarding property defects. Some sellers choose to do so anyway, however, and some insurers require it. If you do make a disclosure, you should include information such as:
- Environmental issues
- House systems
- Structural integrity
- Wood-destroying organisms
Alabama home sellers can use the state's Seller's Property Condition Disclosure Statement.
Receiving an Offer
An offer is an agreement to pay a certain price for your home based on specified terms and conditions. It becomes a legally binding contract when the seller accepts the offer and notifies the buyer of its acceptance.
A counteroffer rejects the original offer and presents new terms.
After an offer is agreed on, the transaction goes into escrow. The buyer deposits funds into an escrow account, along with instructions.
A purchase agreement is a legally binding contract containing the sales terms, such as:
- The identities of the parties
- Price and financing terms
- Guarantee of clear title
- Date of closing and inspection
Negotiating Post-Contract Problems
If the buyer's home inspection turns up material defects, he can insist that you pay to remedy the problems or lower the purchase price accordingly.
At the close of escrow, the following events occur.
- The buyer signs a promissory note.
- Costs and fees are paid.
- All documents are signed and transferred.
- The deed is recorded.
As the seller, you don't have to be present at the closing as long as all costs are paid and documents are signed ahead of time. You must typically turn the keys over to the buyer the same day.
Consult With a Real Estate Lawyer
This article provides a brief overview of Alabama real estate law. Consult with a real estate attorney to ensure a successful home sale.