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Seller's Rights When Selling a House

The home selling process can be a complicated one. Between listings, ads, inspections, negotiations, title review, mortgage loans, contracts, and escrow, there are an endless array of moving parts to consider, all creating or affecting the buyer's and seller's rights and responsibilities.

If you're considering putting your home on the market, make sure you go into the process knowing your rights as a seller, as well as your legal obligations.

Offers

While real estate statutes can vary from state to state, a home seller generally has an array of rights when it comes to putting a house on the market. As the seller, you may advertise the property in a public listing or other similar forum, set a reasonable price for the home, and request a home inspection prior to sale. You may also enter into a brokerage contract with a real estate agent or attorney to provide these services for you.

And there are certain conditions you may place on the buyer, so long as they are reasonable. A seller may request a deposit or that a certain amount of the purchase price be placed in escrow before closing, and may request verification of financing or a mortgage loan before the sale is finalized.

Rejections

Home sellers have the right to accept an offer on the house as well as the right to reject an offer, so long as the rejection is not for an illegal reason. Valid reasons for rejecting an offer to buy your house include:

  • The offer wasn't high enough;
  • You're not sure the buyer can get a loan; or
  • You changed your mind and don't want to sell anymore.

But you can't refuse to sell based on a buyer's race, color, sex, familial status, or national origin. The Fair Housing Act makes such discrimination in home sales illegal.

You also have the right to legal representation during the home selling process. An experienced real estate attorney can aid in contract review, negotiation, and even tax questions. Contact one near you.

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