Don't be fooled by Delaware's size when you're selling your house there. The state's real estate laws are as varied and complex as those of any other, and you might face legal problems if you neglect to follow its rules and regulations. Before selling your home, here are a few things you should know.
The Agent's Role
A seller's real estate agent can accurately assess the current value of comparable homes in your area and help you effectively market your house to attract buyers.
Find a Real Estate Agent
Locate a licensed Delaware real estate agent at RealEstateAgent.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.
Setting the Right Price
Your agent determines the selling price by comparing prices of similar homes that have been listed or sold or in your area.
What a Listing Agreement Includes
- Price and commission
- Items included or not included in the sale
- Duties and obligations of the seller and the agent
Required Sellers' Disclosures
In Delaware, sellers are required to give buyers disclosure forms which include known material defects and other issues, such as:
- Environmental issues
- House systems
- Structural integrity
- Deed restrictions
- Basement and crawl spaces
Sellers can use the Seller's Disclosure of Real Property Condition.
After an Offer is Made
When a buyer makes an offer on your home, he agrees to pay a certain price based on specified terms and conditions. The offer becomes a legally binding contract when the seller accepts it and notifies the buyer of its acceptance.
A counteroffer rejects the original offer and presents new terms and conditions.
After an offer is agreed on, the transaction goes into escrow. The buyer deposits funds into an escrow account, along with instructions.
Delaware Purchase Agreements
A purchase agreement is a legally binding contract that includes the sales terms, such as:
- The identities of the parties
- Price and financing terms
- Guarantee of clear title
- Date of closing and inspection
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.
Close of Escrow
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 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 Delaware real estate law. Consult with a real estate attorney to ensure a successful transaction.