No one ever said that selling a house in Vermont is easy. You can easily risk serious legal problems by not adhering to the state's many real estate laws and rules. Before you sell your home, be aware of what you need to know.
Why Not a Real Estate Agent?
A seller's real estate agent has the means to accurately assess the current value of comparable homes in your area and effectively market your house to credible buyers. Locate a licensed Vermont real estate agent at Lookingaround.com.
Property Listing Agreements
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 procuring 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.
Your agent will determine the selling price of your house by comparing prices of similar homes that have been listed in your immediate area.
Your listing should include the house's price and commission, items included or not in the sale, and duties and obligations of the seller and agent.
Mandatory Seller Disclosures
The seller must disclose known defects in the home's structure as well as the following:
- Length of occupancy and year built
- Hazardous conditions
- Electrical, sewage and heating systems
- Issues affecting title
Your failure to make the required disclosures can expose you to a lawsuit. Vermont home sellers generally use the Vermont Residential Real Estate Sales Disclosure Statement.
What Happens With the Offer
An offer is one that is made to pay a certain price based on certain terms and conditions. It is a legally binding contract when the seller accepts the offer and notifies the buyer of its acceptance.
Sellers can counteroffer, which rejects the original offer and presents a new offer.
Once an offer is agreed upon, it will go into escrow where the buyer deposits certain funds into an escrow account along with instructions.
Vermont Purchasing Agreements
A purchase agreement is a legally binding contract containing the sales terms, including identity of the parties, price and financing terms, guarantee of clear title, and date of closing and inspection.
Negotiations After the Contract is Signed
Generally, if an inspection turns up material defects, the buyer can insist that you pay to remedy the defect or lower the purchase price.
What is the Closing?
At the close of escrow, the buyer signs a promissory note, and costs and fees are paid. All documents are signed and transferred, and finally, the deed is recorded.
Sellers need not be present at the closing so long as all costs are paid and documents are signed. You will typically have to turn over the keys to the buyer the same day as the closing or when you take occupancy.
Protect Your Transaction with a Real Estate Lawyer
This article is not a complete review of the intricacies of Vermont real estate law. Property laws and regulations are not the same in each state, so to be on the safe side, consult with a real estate lawyer before selling your home.