When you’re selling your home, it’s crucial to stay legally compliant, which means you need to sell your house in accordance with the law. In general, you will need to research the laws in your state, as well as the laws of the country, to ensure that no legal problems occur during the process.
Here are some ways you can ensure you stay legally compliant.
Above All Else: Ask Your Broker
Your broker is responsible for writing up your contract, and a good real estate broker can ensure compliance as they should know the required laws in a particular state before writing and completing a contract.
On top of that, they will do their best to ensure that the following regulations on this list are followed precisely, so you avoid any legal issues in the future.
What Constitutes an Offer of Purchase?
An offer of purchase is a clause that, by law, a real estate agent is required to show all housing offers to the seller. As soon as the seller is offered one purchase, you can counteroffer, but accepting the request includes a renegotiation of price.
To stay legally compliant, you can’t withhold or cancel an offer once it’s made; it’s in the other person’s wishes as to whether or not they want to counteroffer or reject and default to the original price.
As a home seller, you also have to understand contingencies that could make a potential buyer counteroffer like a lead paint inspection, financing approval, or home inspection.
Do You Need to Disclose Problems?
Property owners only need to disclose and issue to a real estate agent if they are aware of the problem. You don’t usually need to hire a home inspector to inspect your property for various issues in most states, but others have stricter requirements.
For example, you may need to identify if you’re aware of lead paint, termite damage, or leaks. California is one of the strictest states, where you must disclose all problems in detail.
Do I Need to Repair Known Problems?
If you do hire an inspector to inspect your property, an unknown problem becomes a ‘known’ issue. This doesn’t mean you have to repair these problems; you only have to disclose them once they’re known.
Some homeowners will fix known issues on their property and include that repair cost in the home’s selling price. However, it isn’t legally required to repair them, so you’re still legally compliant if you don’t.
Title 5 or Cesspool Inspection Disclosure
If your home or property has a waste disposal system like a cesspool or a septic system, it must be inspected one to two years before selling the home, or 6 months after if poor weather won’t allow the pre-sale inspection to take place.
You cannot inspect the private waste disposal yourself – a professional must conduct these inspections. If the inspection fails, the buyer and seller can negotiate who will replace or repair the system.
Fair Housing Act
To stay legally compliant, the seller cannot restrict or deny any housing to any person based on color, race, sex, religion, familial status, disability, or national origin.
You also cannot deny access to anyone based on marital status, age, ancestry, veteran or military status, and sexual orientation.
Doing so wouldn’t just break state laws, but also the country’s laws that state you cannot deny anyone necessities based on what was previously mentioned.