Five Things To Consider Before Selling a House: Tips from a Real Estate Attorney

There are few decisions more financially and materially significant than buying or selling a house. If you’re selling a house, every choice you make could impact the sale price, and either create or prevent legal problems down the road.  An experienced real estate attorney can help you anticipate problems, minimize risk, and maximize your selling price. Before you consult an attorney, you might want to prepare by taking these five tips for selling a house

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Getting Ready To Sell

  1. Select a realtor you can trust. You’re going to be working closely with your realtor. Because the realtor will take a percentage of the sale price (usually six or seven percent), the realtor will want to get the sale price of your home as high as reasonably possible. But you need to select the realtor interested in you, and not just a final sale price. If a realtor can’t give answers to your questions or doesn’t respond quickly to communications, you need to find someone else.
  2. Know the market. Your realtor should be able to give you information on recent comparable sales. That way you can set an appropriate sale price, and minimize the time your home is on the market.
  3. Gather important documents. Before you sell a house, you’ll need the title search, survey, property tax receipts, and mortgage statements. You’ll also want to give your realtor a year’s worth of utility bills and any other related information – it’s best to be above-board and provide this at open houses.
  4. Take time out for repairs. You don’t need to remodel a kitchen or add an addition before you sell a house, but you should take a hard look and consider making cosmetic improvements. Perhaps a wall needs a new coat of paint, a stone tile in the patio is missing, or there’s a leaky faucet. Draw up a list and then tackle these things to add “curb appeal” and maximize perceived value.
  5. Understand the legal side of the sale. Your sale will involve a contract – a legal document. You may want to speak with an attorney specializing in real estate, who can answer your questions, help you come to a better understanding of the legal side of the transaction, and help insulate you from any problems that could arise after the sale.

We’re Here To Help

Richard H. Cole of Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner, & Gambino, P.C. is a real estate attorney with over 20 years of experience serving clients in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas. He would be happy to answer your questions about the process and help you plan to sell – or buy – a home. Contact him today to set up a legal consultation.

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27 thoughts on “Five Things To Consider Before Selling a House: Tips from a Real Estate Attorney

  1. Brynne Jones says:

    I like how you suggested finding a realtor who you can trust. It makes sense to select an agent who is interested in you and not just a final sale price. My sister and her growing family have been considering selling their home and purchasing a larger one. Choosing a realtor that she can rely on could be beneficial to her, and make the moving process smoother.

  2. Lauren Jones says:

    We are looking to downsize on our house now that our kids are all out of the house, and we are in need of some advice. It is good to know that when selling a home, one should take the time out for repairs. I like what was said about giving walls a new coat of paint or fixing a leaky faucet. We will be sure to put this information to good use, thanks.

  3. Heather says:

    Finding a good real estate agent should be the number one priority for anyone selling a home. It’ll only make the rest of the steps that much harder if you have to fight to hear from them or isn’t well-informed.

  4. Brynne Jones says:

    I like how you included selecting a realtor that you can trust. It makes sense to choose a realtor who can answer your questions and communicate well with you. My brother has been considering selling his home but doesn’t have very much knowledge about the real estate process. It could be beneficial for him to consider using a real estate agent to assist him with this process.

  5. Taylor Bishop says:

    Thanks for the interesting read on some tips for selling a house. I’m glad that you mentioned that it’s important to take the time to make repairs, and maybe draw up a list. It could be worth it to change your perspective to see if you would want to buy the home in the condition it’s in. If there’s something that would hinder your personal decision, it’s most likely something that is worth fixing.

  6. Kenneth Gladman says:

    I like your advice on gathering up utility bills from the past year when getting ready to sell. This can help your realtor properly evaluate pricing and energy efficiency. It could really help you get more money if you have been good on your home’s maintenance.

  7. Gina Henrie says:

    My husband and I are looking to sell our home but never had a clue on how to get it ready to sell. I like what you said about knowing the market so that you can set an appropriate price, that’s something I need to look into. Thank you for sharing!

  8. alena says:

    My husband and I have talked about listing our house, and so we are doing our homework. We want to get the best bang for our buck, so we would need to make a few repairs. Once that is done we will have to find us a real estate agent.

  9. Derek Dewitt says:

    My wife and I are getting ready to sell our home but we aren’t sure where to start. I like that you suggest gathering important documents like utility bills to give to your realtor. We want the paperwork portion of the process to go smoothly and be above board like you said, so we’ll be sure to be honest about our finances with him or her. Thanks for sharing!

  10. alena says:

    I like the tip to take the time to do repairs. I wanted to put my house on the market this month, but my kitchen could use an update. Since kitchens are big selling points, I’ll be sure to make sure it’s done before putting it on the market. Thanks.

  11. Ken Hwan says:

    I think it’s really important to understand the contract like you mentioned. Since I have little experience with that, I definitely would hire a real estate attorney. They can walk you through the process and make sure you’re not overlooking anything.

  12. Troy Blackburn says:

    My mother was a real estate agent for quite some time and I can tell you that trust is really the best first step when looking for an agent just as this article suggests. There are times when a real estate lawyer needs to get involved, and knowing that you have a seasoned and professional agent can be very helpful. Be sure to always keep important and informative documents related to the house on hand.

  13. scott says:

    I like that you point out to take time for some repairs. It might be helpful to have a professional come look at your house and tell you what things could do for an upgrade. That way, you can get working on those things.

  14. Jack Titchener says:

    I think it would be wise to have a lawyer present to help you navigate through the paperwork of a sale. This way he or she can help you avoid any legal complications you might miss otherwise and end up costing you a lot of money in the future. I’ll have to consider getting a lawyer if I ever need to go house hunting.

  15. Bethel Smith says:

    We have decided to sell our home and move to a house that will better fit our growing family. I appreciate your tips about getting ready to sell. We will be sure to gather all of the important documents so that they are ready to go once we find a buyer.

  16. Derek McDoogle says:

    I agree, if you’re going to re-carpet your house, you should ask the buyer what color they want before having it installed. My friend will be happy to hear this when I tell him on the morrow. He is going to be selling his house next month, so this directly applies to him. Thanks so much for the lovely information.

  17. Katie Dunn says:

    I really like your point about picking out a real estate agent that I can trust, because my husband and I are looking to sell our house. However, I’d really like to make sure that I’d be able to trust them before having to interact too much with them. Because of this, I think that we will look at online reviews as well as ask for personal references of past clients to help us get a gage on trustworthiness.

  18. Ashley Turns says:

    Thanks for pointing out that we should take a little time to repair some of the minor issues on the real estate property we are selling before we list it. My husband and I are trying to sell our home pretty quickly, since his new job that we’re moving for starts in just a few short weeks. We’ll be sure to patch up a few of the small problems that exist on our real estate property before we attempt to sell it so that it will be gone quickly.

  19. Harper Campbell says:

    My husband and I are considering selling our house but we would like to know the best way to go about doing it. I am glad that you mentioned that we need to make sure that we have all the proper documents gathered so that we can provide potential buyers with the right information. This is something that we will have to start doing so we get things done right.

  20. Derek Dewitt says:

    My wife and I are getting ready to sell our home and buy a new one but we aren’t sure where to start. I like that you suggest speaking with an attorney specializing in real estate to get a better idea about what legal documents you need. We’ve never had to do the paperwork on our own before so this would be really helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Kyle Wayne says:

    I like that you mention hiring a real estate agent you can really trust. My brother is looking to get into real estate and wants professional help. I’ll be sure to talk to him about finding a professional that he can trust.

  22. Steele Honda says:

    I totally agree that if you do not trust your agent, you will not close a successful deal. My sister is going to sell her house, and now she is looking for a professional real estate agent. I will make sure to advise her to choose the one she can trust. Thanks for the tips!

  23. Bobby Saint says:

    I totally agree with what you mentioned to get a realtor whom you can trust. He should be someone whom you can rely on especially if you have any questions or concerns regarding the selling of your house. It’s important that you have a good working relationship with this agent to make sure that everything goes smooth. One way to know if you were able to hire a good agent is if he is able to communicate well with you and is willing to provide his expert advice. If I were to sell my house, I would make sure to hire a good realtor. Thanks.

  24. Derek Dewitt says:

    My wife and I are getting ready to sell our home next year, so these tips were really helpful. I like that you suggest getting your title search, survey, property tax receipts, and mortgage statements for your realtor. We’ll be sure to dig these things out and give him or her a year’s worth of utility bills too like you said. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Jeremy Thompson says:

    I do like how you mentioned that when it comes to a real estate agent, it would be wise to get someone you can trust as you would be working closely with them. That is perfect to have known as I was just looking into how I could get a potentially trustworthy real estate agent for me. Once I do find one, I would be sure to learn as much as I can from them too. Thanks!

  26. Hazel Owens says:

    Thanks for the tip to pick a realtor who isn’t just interested in getting the highest sale price for your home but also interested in what you have to say. My husband and I are looking to move closer to his parents since they are getting older and need more help. We’ll have to find a realtor that’ll help us sell our home relatively quickly since that would help us out more instead of just getting a really high price for our home.

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