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What Documents Do You Need to Sell a House? Be Prepared, Sell Faster

Posted by Justin Havre on Wednesday, May 17th, 2023 at 9:36am.

The Key Paperwork You Need to Sell a Home
Navigating real estate transactions can be daunting, especially when it comes to knowing what paperwork you need to sell your home. This process involves a few different documents that serve to protect both the buyer and the seller while ensuring that the transaction complies with all relevant laws and regulations. Whether you've sold a home before and just need a refresher or you're a first-time home seller, navigate the market efficiently by knowing what documents you need ahead of time.

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Provide Documents Buyers Want

Instead of trying to provide only the necessary pieces, it can be helpful to use transparent and comprehensive documentation to help build trust with potential buyers. By providing documents that will help inform the buyer, you're demonstrating your diligence as a homeowner, which can help potential buyers have confidence in the state of your home and gives them the assurance that they're making an informed decision on their purchase. This helps create peace of mind for everyone involved in the transaction process and can reduce the hassle for sellers. These documents can include title searches and surveys, tax information, utility bills, and other expenses associated with owning and maintaining the home. 

Document Repairs & Regular Maintenance

Showing all the work you've done to keep your home in tip-top shape can be a great way to demonstrate your care for it, so don't forget to document repairs and regular maintenance. This could include a kitchen renovation, new appliances, plumbing, roofing, HVAC, or pest control services. It can certainly help when negotiating to show the paper trail for any completed home improvements before selling. As an added bonus, provide any manuals you might have for appliances that will be staying on the property.

Sellers will also need to identify what is and isn't included in the sale of the home by providing a list to buyers. There is no such thing as going overboard on this list, so list everything from light fixtures to mirrors to avoid any potential arguments in case you forget something like a satellite dish or an ATV and need to prove ownership. Finally, sellers should consider commissioning a Certificate of Location, whether it's required in their province or not. This document is prepared by a surveyor who gives his professional opinion about the safety and condition of both the building and grounds.

Don't Omit Important Documentation

First and foremost, buyers want to know about any potential problems long before they have to handle the closing paperwork. This includes anything from a lien on the property to a neighbor's claim that they own the hedges along the perimeter of the estate. For the most part, this will usually be included in the title information. If the seller still has a mortgage, they should also have their mortgage information handy. Be sure to include everything from the payment details to any penalties that may have been incurred to help achieve a quick, honest home sale, including:

  • Any liens of claims on the property
  • Payment details of any mortgages still owed
  • Penalties incurred in order to achieve the sale

Being proactive about gathering and sharing this information beforehand can save both parties a lot of headaches down the line and make for a smooth transaction. If you're considering leaving anything out when selling, understand that it will likely become apparent anyway, and you'll have a much more successful sale if you're upfront.

Documents Outlining Potential Costs

Be sure to provide detailed documents outlining any potential costs associated with the property so that buyers can accurately assess their home-buying budgetSellers should aim to give buyers as much information as possible so the buyer has transparency when it comes to budgeting for the costs of the home. If the seller had a three-year contract with a pool cleaner, for example, then the buyer will need to have this paperwork prior to closing.

Sellers should also provide information on property taxes for the past year, as well as any lease information relevant to the home sale. A municipal tax assessment is easy to obtain and can generally be found at the seller's local municipal office. Sellers need to be diligent and forthright with the information they provide to potential buyers, as any mistakes can block them from having a smooth escrow period.

Set Yourself Up For Success

Paperwork Needed to Sell a Home

The key to a successful closing is diligent prep work before putting the home on the market. Sellers who have documentation readily available send a strong message to potential buyers. Having the paperwork can also speed up the closing process, which can be a major plus for both the buyer and the seller.

When it comes time to close, sellers need to be sure that the information on the original paperwork matches that of the closing documents exactly. If the buyer makes a last-minute request or a seller realizes that their calculations were off, this can delay the selling process by days or even weeks. Having all of your ducks in a row when it comes to documentation helps ensure a quick and profitable home sale.

Take Control of Your Home Sale: Provide the Right Documentation

The process of selling your home can be streamlined, expedited, and even more profitable when the correct documents are provided. Ensuring that you have all necessary paperwork, such as the statement of adjustments, property tax assessments, and any relevant renovation permits, can instill confidence in potential buyers and expedite the transaction process. Furthermore, these documents can demonstrate the value of your home, which can directly contribute to a higher sale price.

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