Selling a home is a legal transition, and as such, comes with certain risks. Although lawsuits are rare, they do happen. Here are a few ways to protect yourself when selling a home in MA.
1 – Always Be Truthful in Disclosures
When selling a home, you should always be truthful in your answers to buyers’ questions about the property. You need not disclosure personal information about yourself, such as why you are moving. However, any questions about the history and condition of the home should be truthful and accurate. There may be questions that you do not have answers to, and it’s okay to say that you don’t know. In fact, it’s better to say that you don’t know than to give incorrect information. Hiding information, on the other hand, can backfire.
For instance, a buyer may ask if you’ve ever had water issues in the basement. Let’s assume that you answered no, but the buyer later finds out that you obtained a quote from contractors to address moisture issues. This could be used as evidence that you intentionally misled the buyer.
2 – Use a Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents provide critical guidance throughout the selling process. They help you avoid making certain mistakes in the marketing of your home, such as using language that is against fair housing or anti-discrimination laws. They prompt you to complete certain legal disclosures to potential buyers. By acting as an intermediary, you are less likely to say the wrong thing in direct communications with potential buyers. They also refer you to important resources and other services providers, when appropriate. Their industry expertise can help you avoid costly mistakes.
3 – Hire an Attorney for P&S Review
The Purchase and Sales agreement is the most important contract in the sale of your home. It outlines your responsibilities as a seller and the specific agreement between you and a buyer. Unless you are a real estate attorney yourself, you should hire one to review this document for you. This is one of the most important ways to protect yourself when selling a home in MA. Your attorney can identify ways to promote your interests and reduce your potential liability in the sale. In many court cases regarding home sale transitions, interpretations of the language in the P&S contract make or break a case. Thus, it cannot be overstated just how important this document is!
Other Ways to Protect Yourself When Selling a Home in MA
Every real estate transaction is unique depending on the property, buyer and seller involved. The above are just 3 examples of ways to protect yourself when selling a home in MA. Number 3 is most important since your attorney can help address other potential issues based on the specific circumstances of the same. For instance, a buyer may request to store items at the property before the closing, or you may request to stay in the home a few days after the closing. These unique scenarios require special terms to minimize your risk. If you are selling a home in Massachusetts, contact us to learn more about how we can help protect you in that sale.