Brace yourself: When you sell your house, there’s a lot of paperwork to collect, submit, and sign. Organization is a must, because while some of the documents you’ll need are pretty straightforward (think W-2s and bank statements), others? Not so much. The key is to give yourself plenty of time to gather what you need.
Here are some of the more commonly needed documents, but keep in mind, the full list can vary from closing to closing. For instance, some states require specific certification letters, including confirmation of hurricane-grade windows. Or, if your buyer is getting a Veterans Affairs loan, you may need additional certifications to secure loan approval.
- Sales contract. You’ll need to supply the original sales contract and purchase price of your home.
- Proof of homeownership. You’ll need documents establishing title and homeownership, including a property survey. Other documents include a certificate of occupancy, certificates of compliance, and zoning codes.
- Inspection documents. Two of the more common examples of inspection documents are termite letters (proof of a clean inspection) and letters confirming the details of any buried oil tanks on the property. Who’s responsible for the inspections is negotiable; some lenders will require proof of an inspection before a sale can close.
- Lead paint letter. If your home was built before 1978, federal law requires that you disclose any known indoor lead paint hazards and provide reports to a potential buyer.
- HOA or condo association details. If you’re selling a condo or a home in a neighborhood governed by a homeowners’ association (HOA), potential buyers will want to see documents such as condo association rules (the CC&Rs) and maybe even the minutes of recent HOA meetings.
- Property survey. Have that survey document handy to assure the buyer that the land is actually theirs and not part of a neighbor’s property.
- Home improvements records. Did you install a new bathroom shower? Upgrade the electrical system? Make sure to have those home maintenance and upgrade receipts handy to show the age and value of what you’ve done to your house.
- Proof of payoffs. If you owe money to plumbers, contractors, or another bank for a home equity loan, you’ll need documents showing all debts have been settled.
- Property tax receipts. You’ll need receipts for property taxes paid in the past few weeks. For some home sales, the full property tax payments have not been made for the year at the time of sale. That could leave you and the buyer negotiating details of the remaining payments.
- Miscellaneous. Other documents you’ll need include homeowners insurance records, manuals and warranty information, listing agreements, and written communications with your real estate agent.