Preparing to sell your house can be a lot of work. There is a lot of moving parts and processes that happen during the sales process. It’s easy for sellers to lose sight of their rights when they focus on ensuring their home is attractive to buyers. There are multiple steps in the sales price that also favor the buyer, so it might feel like the seller is at the whims of the market.
Fortunately, sellers do have rights to protect them when they list their property. Here are a few important rights you should know.
You can sell your home however you want
Many homeowners believe they must sell their homes through a real estate agent. No legal requirements say a seller must go through a licensed real estate agent. In fact, For Sale by Owner (FSBO) sales make up an average of 7% of all home sales each year, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Since you’re not required to work with an agent, you can price your home for whatever number you want. If you opt to sell on your own, set your sales price competitively for your market to incentivize potential buyers.
You can add contingencies to your sales contract
Sellers can dictate terms for the sale of the property. Common contingencies include:
- Length of the closing time (to ensure ample time to move)
- Home won’t sell if you can’t find another house to buy
- Buyer agrees to pay the difference between appraisal and offer
- Set time for a buyer to inspect the property
Sellers can ask buyers for proof of income
Sellers can ask that buyers provide proof of income. Proof of income is not necessarily the same as prequalification. It’s often a document that shows the buyer can cover the down payment and closing costs. This is more common for high-end properties, but all sellers can ask.
You can say no to offers
You can always say no to an offer on your home. You can say no to offers that don’t meet your minimum price or other loan terms. However, there are some qualifications with this right. You cannot legally refuse to sell the property to a buyer based on federally protected characteristics (race, ethnicity, religion, disability, familial status, etc.)
Sellers also choose the offer they accept. Often buyers will even submit letters to sellers if the market is hot. Sometimes having this personal connection with buyers can make leaving your home a little easier.
Sellers can challenge an appraisal
Sometimes, an appraisal returns for less than what the buyer offered to pay for your home. When this happens, a lender will not fund for more than the home’s appraised value. A low appraisal can throw a sale off the rails if the buyer cannot come up with the difference in cash or if you don’t want to lower your sales price.
Sellers may challenge an appraisal if they think they can prove the property is worth more. Ideally, you should have documents of recent sales in your area that show comparable properties if you choose to go this route.
What can’t a seller do?
Sellers have many rights to ensure they get the best deal for their property. However, there are a few things you cannot do.
- Sellers cannot back out of a sale agreement if they get a better offer. (They can back out if the buyer fails to meet deadlines or financing)
- Sellers cannot drop their real estate agent if they find a buyer to save on fees. Most agents have sellers sign contracts, so you could face legal issues if you back out of your agreement.
- Sellers cannot discriminate based on religion, gender, marital status, nation of origin, etc.
Selling your home is the first step to a new adventure. If you’re ready to move forward and want to avoid the hassle of selling through a real estate agent, sell your home for cash. We buy houses in any condition and can make you a cash offer fast. Reach out today to learn more.