Don't Believe Everything You Read On Line - Here is Another Example

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties DC AB15253


I found this information on a real estate posting service to which I subscribe.  Generally I agree with most of what the service writes, but this posting seemed unnecessarily scary - and frequently wrong.  The only thing I could really agree with is its final advice to hire a good realtor! 

Selling your home will involve a lot of paperwork. The requirements may vary somewhat depending on where you live, but the following are some of the most important documents you’ll likely need:

Documents From Your Purchase of the House
You’ll need the original sales contract from the time when you bought the house. That’ll let the buyer know who the previous owner was, the sale price at the time, and any disclosures that were made then. You’ll also need to provide the appraisal that was conducted before you bought the house.  I have never given these documents to a buyer and can't imagine any other agent in the Mid Atlantic area providing them either.  The ownership of your property will be verified by the title attorney who will search not only your ownership but the ownership "back through time" to assure clear title.

Documents Related to Maintenance, Repairs and Current Problems
You should’ve kept records of maintenance and repairs during the time you owned the house. Those can give the buyer an accurate idea of the condition of the house now and any repairs that might be needed in the future. If you had any new appliances installed, you should give the buyers the warranties.  Nice but not required.

You’ll also need to provide a potential buyer with homeowners insurance records. These should include any claims you submitted so the buyer will be aware of any significant past damage and repairs that were made.  Not needed.  The Buyer can get the insurance records through a CLUE report. If you don't know what a CLUE report is I will be glad to explain.

Once a buyer has made an offer and you’ve accepted it, you’ll need to follow mandatory disclosure laws and provide information on any known damage or hazards. That could include everything from lead paint and water damage to broken appliances and disputes over the property line. Failing to provide this information could lead to a lawsuit later.  This is unnecessarily scary.  All three jurisdictions that I work in (DC, MD and VA have disclosure requirements, but in some of them, the right to the disclosures expires with the completion of closing.  Any required documents such as the Federal lead disclosure form should be provided prior to ratifying an offer - not afterwards.   The offer is not fully ratified until the buyer receives all required documents.  You certainly don't want to provide a loophole by failing to provide required documents and permitting the buyer to walk away.

Documents Needed to Complete the Transaction
A purchase offer spells out the agreement between the buyer and seller. The real estate agents or attorneys representing the buyer and seller will later draft a final purchase and sale agreement that includes specifics on the sale price as well as other terms, such as the closing date and contingencies.  Contracts related to the purchase of real estate must be in writing to be enforceable.

The buyer will most likely have the house inspected to find out about any problems. If anything serious is discovered, you and the buyer will need to decide whether you’ll make repairs before closing or lower the asking price.  A home inspection is advisable for the buyer's information and peace of mind but is not required.  In a "hot market" many buyers waive the home inspection.

If the buyer will need to get a mortgage to buy the house, the lender will require an appraisal to determine its value. The appraiser will provide the buyer with a report, and a copy will be made available to you.  The appraisal is done for the benefit of the bank.  Buyers get a copy of the appraisal in most instances, but the seller does not unless there is an issue with the appraisal.

The deed is a document that officially transfers ownership from the seller(s) to the buyer(s). It will include the names of all parties involved in the transaction and a description of the property itself.  In DC, MD and VA, this will be prepared by the title attorney.

Working With the Right Real Estate Agent Is Key
Selling a house is complicated. Your real estate agent should be able to guide you through the process. When interviewing agents, look for someone who has the knowledge and patience to walk you through all the steps and the documents that’ll be required and to answer all your questions.


Comments (67)

Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - you are so kind!  Thanks for the support!

Sep 20, 2020 08:05 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Shirley Coomer - you are so right!!! I can't begin to say how irritating it is when a buyer wants to know how much the current seller paid for the house - and the comments about how they are getting a lot of $$ at closing - UGH! as if that matters

Sep 20, 2020 08:06 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Well I'll keep this short - what a bunch of hooey. This service and writer   has no idea of what he/she is talking about.  Are they even a licensed agent? And let's not forget every state requires different forms/info. Most of what was mentioned is not part of the contract in our state AZ.

Sep 20, 2020 11:21 AM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Buckhead - Midtown - Westside ... Love our City - Love our Clients! - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Lise Howe 
You made it easy to see which comments you thought were wrong.
Made it easy to follow.
Thanks! Lynn

Sep 20, 2020 01:14 PM
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Disclosures are required even if a person selling FSBO. Its a State law in Ohio.

Once a buyer has made an offer and you’ve accepted it, you’ll need to follow mandatory disclosure laws and provide information on any known damage or hazards. That could include everything from lead paint and water damage to broken appliances and disputes over the property line. Failing to provide this information could lead to a lawsuit later.

Sep 20, 2020 01:57 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Sham Reddy CRS    in  Maryland until the seller provides the property condition disclosure the contract is not fully ratified and the buyer can void at any time - even up to closing - unless they have made a loan application.  Therefore, we give the disclosures prior to making an offer.  It just demonstrates that there are many differences from state to state and no one document can advise sellers safely. 

Sep 20, 2020 03:53 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Lise Howe,

I'm shocked someone published that and believes it's true! I wonder  if they even a licensed agent. Sad but shows you how false and misleading some of the Internet information is. Thanks for sharing.

Sep 20, 2020 05:01 PM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Hi Lise Howe   Thanks for the entertaining blog. Yes, each state is a a little different.  I usually spend a ton of time telling folks to flush their brains of what they think know about real estate sales. Of course everyone is an expert.

And quite knowledgeable on the subject...just ask them.  I agree with your assessment of the article. Have a profitable week!

Sep 20, 2020 06:37 PM
Philip A. Raices
Turn Key Real Estate - Great Neck, NY
1 of the Most Knowledgeable Brokers on the Net!

Good eves Lise,

Up in NY/Long Island we have the same issues as I believe it is not unique to any one state, city or town.  You are 150% correct as to how some services, especially the largest one, who will remain nameless, I am quite sure all Rain Makers know who I am talking about, that posts information that is far from accurate but brokers and agents still pay a hefty fee to be associated with them.  I happen to know the CEO, but I won't go into details here since I am not looking to embarass anyone, since it is not my style.  But I left the company in Nov 2018 because I believe and surely know now there are better ways to spend our money and I was with them almost from the beginning!  We have saved countless tens of thousands of and have utilized several other higher quality services that blow the doors off of who we used to use @ a much lower cost per lead and they are of excellent quality and our R.O.I has been much, much improved!  However, our job is really to guide and consult our clients through the sometimes arduous and complicated transactions that less and less purchasers are truly understanding of the process, because more and more had and have been brought up in rentals, besides those that had parents who owned and due to the Covid-19 Pandemic throughout the U.S. there will be a greater disportioniate amount of new tenants for a long time to come due to the loss of jobs and businesses, especially in the hospitality and airline sectors (I believe there might be as much as 20,000,000 long term unemployed) who will not be able to purchase right away but staying in touch with them will build one's rapport and relationships for future referrals and "money in the bank" for our future income.  So doing our business on the highest professional level and with expert knowledge (the majority do not have!) makes us so much more necessary than ever and providing that service becomes tantamount in creating a very  lucrative, profitable and rewarding enterprise!   So we are truly a necessity and were deemed that in March (although Gov Cuomo in NY, shut us down as not really being essential  but let Home Depot and Lowes stay open with less than stellar social distancing (no rules enforced in any stores that I entered) and more than 50% of the shoppers weren't even wearing s!!!  When buyers purchase they buy refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, W/D  and a multitude of other consumer staples as well as the costs of fixing up a house to turn it into a home!  I think the Gov dropped the ball with respect to sequestering us all 2 our homes and we of all businesses would have followed the rules and regulations more than most, because it is our business and nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care!   So our clientele suffered probably as much as we did and we were no longer able to perform the proper services, let alone make the maximum living that top producers are accustomed to earning (I still did very well) but I feel bad about all those who didn't.  We are as essential as any can be and I hope this Virus eventually subsides, but then again, that vaccine, oh boy   wait til that comes out and the fireworks begin.  Sorry for the rant, just had to get it off my chest!     If anyone wants to know what a few of the services that we use, I would be more than happy to provide them to you if you reside outside of NY, since I love competition but not on my back door! LOL text me (516) 647-4289 or email: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com

Sep 20, 2020 09:00 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Wow! this is some really bad advice... not worth the ink to print it let alone the paper! Is there no regulations regarding this kind of bad information?

Probably not, you cant believe anything the major media outlets print or televised. Why would a service like this have to be truthful

The world is upside down!!



Sep 21, 2020 12:38 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker - that is great advice!  Between HGTV and everything people read on the internet it is amazing that they come to us at all! LOL

Sep 21, 2020 04:20 AM
Shannon Jones
The Shannon Jones Team - Long Beach, CA
Long Beach CA Real Estate

And this is why you always need an expert agent like Lise Howe on your side!

Sep 21, 2020 11:20 AM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Yikes Lise, who wrote this stuff? Glad you went thru the mis-information & told clients what is necessary & what is not.

Sep 21, 2020 12:28 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Lise, that is crazy providing the original contract....have never heard of that! 

Sep 22, 2020 06:37 AM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

I have to agree, providing the original contract is something I have never heard of and probably something many couldn't find if they needed it!

Sep 23, 2020 12:25 PM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

A preliminary title report should disclose the previous transactions including the sold price, yet, with multiple offers, many that have an appraisal price contingency, repairs to all inspection items prior to close, a TDS, and a pest disclosure report, the buyer should feel comfortable, if not, simply don't make an offer. I agree, being represented by an experienced Realtor should ensure a smooth and unencumbered transaction. 

Sep 26, 2020 10:31 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Congratulations on the well deserved feature!

I like how you stated each of your thoughts in bold....well done!

Oct 07, 2020 05:06 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

WOW! Very interesting that an 'expert' in the field thinks this to be true, Lise. GREAT job explaining each bit of misinformation!

Oct 08, 2020 10:04 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Bad advice abounds. I cannot imagine asking the seller to provide documents from his/her purchase of the house. What they paid and when is nobody's business.

Not long ago I wrote about an "advice" article telling new agents they should sell new construction because they didn't need to know anything and could get paid when they simply turned the buyers over to the contractor's representative.

You don't have to have knowledge to write an article - which is a shame for consumers and new agents looking for good advice.


Oct 18, 2020 01:43 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Some home buyers feel this is the season one can offer lower. As it turns out this is a very competitive year and homes only appreciate in Silicon VAlley. 

Always multiple offers sold this year higher than asked for in almost all cases.

Oct 18, 2020 08:41 PM

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