Selling a property requires the use of a contract or purchase agreement. It’s very important to make sure that everything is in order or you could end up being out thousands of dollars.

Selling your property can be a bit of an involved process and it’s important that it is done correctly. When you use a real estate agent, she can handle all of the paperwork for you, but if you are selling on your own, you will need to take matters into your own hands. This checklist will help you stay on track with each step of the process.

Keep in mind that you will need to check all documents after the Buyer has looked them over and revised them. This can take a while to complete, so be prepared. A house sale can last weeks when things aren’t organized.

Before the Purchase Agreement

Before anything is signed, you’ll need to do a little preparation. If you need help for any of it, you can find templates online to help you draft up a proper agreement. It’s also a good idea to have a real estate lawyer to help out and ensure that you don’t miss any crucial lines. Before you get started, you need to do a few things.

1. Prepare the Agreement for Purchase and Sale of Real Estate. In general, this will be your job to handle, but it is possible for the buyer to get the agreement ready. Keep in mind that if they are the ones doing the prep, you need to be very careful in checking it to make sure there is nothing that will cause problems at a later date.

2. If necessary, prepare the Affidavit and Memorandum of Agreement for Purchase and Sale of Real Estate. This isn’t always necessary, but if there are worries that the house won’t be transferred properly, this will be kept in public records and will ease the buyer’s mind when it comes to the deed transfer.

3. Prepare escrow if required. Depending on the trust between the two parties, escrow may be a good idea. This allows the buyer to put the money into escrow where it is safe and available to the seller as soon as the property transfer is complete. If there are any trust issues, this will ease them, as both parties can be certain that they are getting what they need.

4. Write up or prepare an escrow agreement if you are using this option. Use a template like this one for your escrow agreement.

5. Both parties will need to look over the documents and agree on any changes that need to be made. It’s very common for this part of the process to take some time as the details are hashed out. A big decision that must be addressed is who pays which fees. This needs to be decided and put into writing before anything is signed, in order to avoid potential issues at closing.

After the Contract

Once the Purchase Agreement is signed, there are still a few things to be done. These will finalize the sale and help ensure that everything is kosher for the buyer.

1. Provide a Title Certificate and Commitment for Title Insurance. You will have to order these to present to the buyer as evidence that you hold the title. They will also check for any outstanding leases as this can affect the sale.

2. Have an inspection performed. This can be either the responsibility of the buyer or you, and should be decided ahead of time. The inspection will cover the building, looking for termites and a survey of the property. If the buyer desires, he or she can also ask for an appraisal of the home.

3. Get an Estoppel Affidavit. If there is an outstanding mortgage, all mortgage holders will need Estoppel Affidavit, which allow the mortgage responsibilities to be transferred to the buyer.

4. The buyer will check that all taxes have been paid up to date. If they haven’t, this may affect the selling price, so it’s a good idea to take care of property taxes before selling.


This is the final step in the sale, so once you’re done it, you are finished and can walk away!

1. Prepare a closing statement. You can find templates for this online, or you may want to leave it to a lawyer to prepare this paperwork. The closing statement should include:

  • Property taxes
  • Interest

2. Receive the money and ensure that everything has been completed satisfactorily. Your real estate lawyer can double-check everything on this account.

3. Double-check your documents. Make sure that you have recorded Satisfactions of Mortgage, Termination Statements under the Uniform Commercial Code

Selling a house or property isn’t just as simple as getting the money and handing over the deed these days and if you have any outstanding payments or taxes on the house, this could make it even more complicated to sell. However, following these steps will get you to the final sale, safe and sound.