If you are thinking of selling your home by yourself, consider that you must follow a number of state and local requirements or face potential legal issues. Before you begin, there are a number of things you need to know about selling your home in the Hoosier State.
Consider Using a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent has the tools to determine the current value of comparable homes in your area and can effectively present and market your home so you can welcome a number of ready, willing and able buyers. Find a licensed Indiana real estate agent at Listrealestateagents.com or by getting a referral from someone you know who has had a positive experience.
There are three types of real estate listings:
- Open listing: Owners retain the right to sell the home and pay no commissions.
- Exclusive agency listing: Used for a sale by owner who will execute a listing agreement with a broker and pay a commission only if the broker is the procuring cause of the sale.
- Exclusive right-to-sell listing: The seller agrees to pay a commission to the listing broker regardless of who brings in the buyer.
Typically, your agent determines the selling price by comparing prices of similar homes that have been listed in your area within a quarter- or half-mile of your home. Items in the listing include:
- Price and commission
- Items included or excluded in the sale
- Duties and obligations of seller and agent
Indiana Seller's Disclosures
State law requires that the seller provide certain disclosures including known defects in the home's structure, as well as:
- Building and safety information
- Environmental hazards
- Restrictions, easements, and encroachments
- Sewer-waste water treatment
The failure to disclose known defects or to make other required disclosures can expose you to a lawsuit. Indiana home sellers are required to use the Seller's Residential Real Estate Sales Disclosure. Generally, if an inspection turns up material defects, the buyer can insist that you remedy the defect or lower the purchase price so that the transaction can go forward.
Receiving an Offer
An offer is made by a potential buyer to pay a certain price based on certain terms and conditions. It is not a legally binding contract until the seller accepts the offer and notifies the buyer of its acceptance. A counteroffer is one that rejects the original offer based on price or alters the terms or conditions of sale.
Once an offer is agreed upon, it will go into escrow where the buyer deposits certain funds into an escrow account, secures mortgage approval, arranges a home inspection, and adheres to state and local regulations.
Drafting the Purchasing Agreement
A real estate purchase agreement is a legally binding contract for the sale of real estate. It includes terms and conditions such as:
- Identity of the parties
- Price and financing terms
- Guarantee of clear title
- Date of closing and inspection
At the close of escrow, the following events occur:
- The buyer signs a promissory note
- Fees are paid and documents signed and delivered
- Title insurance is verified
- The deed is recorded on the day escrow closes
As the seller, you need not be present at the closing so long as all costs and documents are signed. You will typically have to turn over the keys to the buyer on the same day as the closing so long as the deed is recorded.
Consider Consulting a Real Estate Lawyer
As Indiana laws are complicated, and your sale is unique, you should consult a real estate attorney before you sell your home.