Before listing your home for sale, you may want to take some time to understand how the process works and some of the legal issues involved. Here are a few things to know.
Using a Real Estate Agent
Selling your home "by owner" has become a popular option, but it's also tricky. Without a firm grasp of real estate law and housing markets, it's easy to make a mistake. A seller's agent can help you avoid mistakes in areas like property disclosures and counteroffers.
If you need help finding an agent, you can download a list of real estate brokerages from the Wyoming Real Estate Commission.
Listing Your Home
Your agent will also help you price and list your home. He or she will evaluate the current market and recent sales prices, as well as create a listing that includes a description of your home and any items that are not part of the sale.
Your contract with your agent will also include a listing type. Your agent is likely to prefer a type that guarantees a commission, no matter how the house sells, such as the Exclusive Right to Sell listing. A similar type is the Exclusive Agency listing, in which your agent gets a commission if another agent sells it, but not if you find a buyer.
Unlike most states, Wyoming does not provide a disclosure form for real estate transactions. Even so, it is in your best interest to give potential buyers written notice of any known problems to avoid possible lawsuits later. Federal law requires that you disclose the presence of lead-based paint in homes built after 1977.
Accepting an Offer
An interested buyer will submit a written offer for you to consider. You do not need to accept any offer that does not meet your needs. If you find only a few terms unfavorable, you can submit a counteroffer with proposed changes to just those terms. Then it's up to the buyer to respond.
Finalizing a Purchasing Agreement
Once you and your buyer have agreed on all terms in writing, the final document becomes your legally binding purchasing agreement.
Negotiating Post-Contract Items
A finalized purchase agreement does not necessarily end all negotiations. If your contract includes contingencies (and most do), these items will have to be resolved before you can close the deal. For example, your buyer may expect you to fix any major defects found during the inspection or lower the purchase price. You will need to decide if you want to do this or risk losing the sale.
Closing the Sale
If you attend the closing, you will sign the final sales contract and any other necessary paperwork, such as paying off your mortgage with proceeds of the sale. If you don't attend, you can sign the documents a few days early and have your attorney bring them to the closing.
Consulting With a Lawyer
Selling a house is a legal transaction, and it's important to be sure you follow state law. An attorney experienced in real estate law can help ensure you do.