Real Estate

What Paperwork Is Needed To Sell A House?

6 minutes to read.

When the time comes to sell your home, you have a lot to think about and plan for to complete the transaction. Before you start packing your boxes and hanging a for sale sign outside, though, it’s important to know what to expect.

The Legal Process Requires Paperwork

Because real estate is a valuable transaction, one that typically is high in value, there are a number of legal requirements during the sale. Much of this process is still handled by paperwork. Here’s a look at some of the forms you may need to complete. And remember, your city, county, and state may have another long list of requirements to fill out, too.

The Sales Contract

This is where it starts. The original sales contract spells out the details of the purchase. It includes a description of the home as well as the price the buyer plans to pay for it. Sales contracts are somewhat complex. They typically need to include wording that outlines any risks and rights of the home buyer and seller during the transactions. Any restrictions on the sale and terms are fully outlined here, too.

Florida’s Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase

The Deed

There are a wide range of deed types that may need to be filed as a component of the sale process. Here is a look at some of the most common deeds in real estate:

Special Warranty Deed: This type of deed states the grantor of the deed (the seller of the property) has the right to hold the title of that property. It states that the title isn’t encumbered at this point and was not encumbered before the grantor purchased the property. This type of deed is common when property changes hands in trusts.

Quitclaim Deed: A quitclaim deed is not used as often. It transfers any interest that the deed grantor (the seller) might have in the home to the buyer. There is limited actual protection here for buyers since this deed doesn’t offer any guarantee.

General Warranty Deed: This is the more common option, and it provides the most protection for the home buyer. It provides protection and warranties to the seller. It states that the grantor of the property and the legal right to sell that real estate and that the real estate’s title is free from any type of debt, lien, or other encumbrance.

Sample of a Warranty Deed in Georgia

Bargain and Sale Deed: With this deed, the home buyer has very little protection if any from encumbrances on the title. This is typically found when the property is sold through foreclosure or tax sales.

Disclosure Forms

The disclosure form is a document you’ll take time with because it works to inform the buyer of anything that could be wrong with the property. Miss something here, and you could face legal limitations. Things like a leaking roof or a problem with the utilities need to be disclosed to the buyer.

Sample Lead Paint Disclosure Packet form Massachusetts

Mortgage Note

The mortgage note is the document that outlines the actual ownership of the home through your loan with your lender. The note is a type of promissory note, a legal contract that binds you to the purchase of the real estate by making payments over a set period of time. This document outlines the borrowed funds, the interest rate, and details of the term.

Title Insurance

Sample Title Insurance Policy

A title search is a process by which the history of the title for the home is investigated. The goal is to ensure no one else can claim ownership of the property. It ensures the person selling the property has the legal right to the sale. Generally, property buyers must purchase title insurance as a way of safeguarding their investment from claims of previous ownership rights. It is a form of indemnity insurance protecting from financial loss if there are defects of any type in the title itself.

Addendums and Riders

In real estate, an addendum or rider to a contract or purchase agreement is a change to the original document. There are many reasons this may be done, but the short answer is that it needs to be done any time there is a change to the original agreement. Some examples include:

  • Septic addendums that provide that there are terms and deadlines for the septic system inspection
  • Inspection addendums that make the purchase contingent on the inspection
  • Sale of another property, which may be necessary if the buyer needs to sell their existing home before moving forward with the current purchase
  • Well water addendums to ensure there is a water supply to the property
  • HOA addendums to ensure the sale is approved by the local organization

There are many others. This includes electronic signature addendums, property tax disclosures, and mandated disclosures by local law.


An owner’s affidavit is a document you’ll sign during the process in which you swear that you are either unaware of any type of problem that is present with the title of the property or that you have disclosed any concerns. This is a common requirement that must be notarized.


An estoppel applies to common or shared property. It generally is used in the transfer of property that is a part of a condominium association or homeowners’ association. It clarifies any fees the owner has paid and that the property can be transferred according to the association’s requirements.

Additional Paperwork

Other types of paperwork that can be a part of the sale of a home include:

  • Tax records that show clear tax payment information and current costs
  • Home repair and maintenance records
  • Certificates of occupancy
  • Certification of compliance that the property is within all building codes
  • Manuals and warranty information for any major appliances
  • Documentation of investments in the home
  • Professional appraisal information documenting the value of the home
  • A property survey may be a requirement

As noted, most property owners will need to follow all local requirements for paperwork as well. And, if the buyer’s mortgage company wants more information, that may be necessary.

A Faster, More Efficient Solution Is Possible

If you’re hoping to avoid at least some of these problems, consider getting cash for your home. Use to learn about the ways you can skip the paperwork and sell your home without all of the hassles. We take care of all of the paperwork for you so you can move on without frustration.

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