5 quick tips for home sellers

[Editor's note: Fannie Mae recently issued new restrictions on use of Power of Attorney. Please read this article and contact our office with any questions.]

If you must use Power of Attorney, please contact our office.

You have just selected an agent to list your house for sale. Now what? Here are five tips that will save you from some common problems experienced by many sellers.

1. Set your expectations early by knowing your proceeds of sale. While a seasoned real estate agent will guide you to a realistic expectation for your net sale proceeds, many sellers are faced with the surprise of unexpected county/state transfer taxes, withholdings, real estate tax pro-rations, higher mortgage payoff amounts, etc. Here is an excellent resource to accurately determine your net proceeds: Sales Proceeds Calculator

2. Check the local online tax records to confirm that your sales contract clearly identifies the proper legal references (i.e., Lot(s) and Square(s)) as well as ownership. For DC properties, check DC Real Property Tax Search; for MD properties, check MD Real Property Tax Search; for VA properties, check VA Real Property Tax Search.

3. Locate your Owner's Title Insurance Policy and send a copy to the title company that is handling your closing as soon as possible. This will help avoid potential closing delays by allowing the title company to compare the policy against the most current public records for any title discrepancies.

4. If you are selling a single family home, locate a copy of your location survey/drawing (i.e., plat) and be sure to present a copy along with the listing materials to prospective buyers. Buyers will then be fully informed of the lot size and any existing structure or fence encroachments. If you have built additions or altered the footprint of any structures, it’s advisable to obtain a new location survey to be presented to prospective buyers. For a few hundred dollars well-spent, any local title company can order and obtain a new survey on your behalf.

5. Make yourself available to sign the closing documents. Many sellers seek to appoint friends or family members to sign the documents on their behalf through the use of a Power of Attorney. If you cannot attend the closing, most title companies will accommodate your schedule by allowing you to sign your seller documents in advance of the closing date. (Use of a Power of Attorney is ill-advised.)

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