Whether you're downsizing due to an empty nest or moving up to a larger place, selling a home is a complicated undertaking with legal ramifications. Becoming familiar with the process ahead of time can help you avoid problems. Although the steps involved in selling a home are similar in every state, Arkansas' laws are unique in some respects.
Do I Need An Agent?
Although it's possible to handle a transaction on your own, there are potential pitfalls in the "for sale by owner" path. Without a broker behind you, something as simple as getting people to see the house is a challenge. Opting for an agent gives your property visibility and offers you guidance through the process. The Arkansas Real Estate Commission has an online database that can help you begin your search for an agent.
How to List Your Home
There are several methods you can use to list your home. An open listing lets you work with several agents, while an exclusive agency listing ties you to one firm - although you can sell the home on your own. An exclusive right to sell listing, the most common type, means your broker is the only one who can sell the house. Consider these details, as well as factors such as length of listing, when negotiating an agreement with a broker.
Setting a Price
Decide how much to ask for your home by determining what other homes in your neighborhood have sold for and by looking at listings for similar homes. In today's market, sellers often under-price homes to attract more potential buyers, and this can drive up the price.
Under Arkansas law, sellers must disclose problems that could make buyers think twice about purchasing the house. These issues can include anything from problems with the foundation to water supplies. The buyer can sue you later if you fail to disclose. Review a sample disclosure form to give you an idea of what you must reveal to potential buyers.
Getting an Offer
After your house has been listed, someone will make an offer. You don't have to accept that offer, however. Potential buyers usually negotiate amenities, repairs and price, and this process can go back and forth several times.
A Purchase Agreement
After you've accepted an offer, hammer out a purchase agreement to outline the details, such as the price and the closing date. This document legally commits you to the sale of your home.
Once in a while, a home inspection will turn up problems after a purchase agreement has been signed. You and the buyer still can resolve the issues through negotiation. You can agree to split the repair costs, or you could come down in price to allow the buyer to fix the problem.
At closing, documents are finalized and the keys change hands. You'll also have to take care of any fees or taxes that are due. You'll need to attend the closing. Remember to bring a driver's license or other identification.
Consult with an Arkansas Real Estate Lawyer
This article is intended as a general overview. Consult with an Arkansas attorney for more specific legal advice.