Whether you’re looking to downsize now that everyone has moved out, making room for an expanding family, or just looking for a change of scenery, you might be considering selling your home. It’s an exciting prospect. It can also be a headache.

There are so many rules and regulations to keep track of, a dizzying array of disclosure requirements, contractual language and terms, financial pressures – it’s a lot. Especially if you want to list it as for sale by owner, rather than going through a real estate agent. Before you make the leap, here are some things you might want to consider.

A clear contract

Every detail regarding a home sale – the closing date, the price, the property description, indoor and outdoor fixtures and fittings, and more – is included in a contract. That makes it “the most important document,” according to the Mississippi Bar.

You absolutely do not want to make a mistake on it, which is why many people choose to have a real estate attorney go over everything. They can help make the language as close to airtight as possible, while ensuring there are not vital aspects missing, or contingencies that are unfair to you as a seller.

Giving the proper information

There are legal requirements you, as a seller, need to meet in order to move a sale forward. That includes allowing the buyer to inspect the property, and fully disclosing information about its condition. Among the many disclosures needed:

  • The current state of the foundation, and any repair history
  • The status of the walls and soil
  • How the roof is holding up, and whether there are any issues such as dry rot or leaks
  • Knowledge of insect or bug infestations
  • Whether any appliances or mechanical systems are on the property
  • The presence of lead-based paint, asbestos and other toxic materials
  • The source of the water supply

It is a long, thorough list, and requires a dedicated attention to detail.

Protecting yourself

While avoiding any disputes with a buyer is ideal, they do happen. Maybe it’s a disagreement over the wording of a specific clause, or a claim that you didn’t disclose an expensive roofing issue. If you sold the house on your own, with no real estate agent or even an attorney, it might leave you in a tough situation.

There are other potential problems that could arise as well. Maybe there are issues with the buyer’s finances, for example, or there is a hitch during the closing process. Selling a home can be a daunting, complex process, one that may go more smoothly with a little support behind you.