What Happens When I Sell My House?

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One of the most difficult steps in selling your house is finding a viable buyer. Once you jump that major hurdle, it is natural to wonder what you and the buyer must do next to close the deal. The process could take a matter of weeks or months. Learn what happens after you've finally found a buyer, and proceed to sell your house.

Sales Agreement

  • After you find a buyer, you and the other party must draw up and sign a sales or purchase agreement. If you have a real estate agent, he will take care of this step for you. The sales agreement states in writing what you agreed upon for the price, along with any contingencies of the sale. If the terms require you to repair or make improvements to the house, you will start this process next.

Buyer Secures Financing

  • After you finish signing the sales agreement, you will wait for the buyer to secure his financing for the house. During this period, the buyer is working on satisfying the requirements of the loan. The loan paperwork must go through an underwriting process before final approval. The lender and real estate agents coordinate a closing date for transferring ownership.

Closing Process

  • You must finish making repairs and meeting any other terms of the sales agreement before going to the closing table. That includes sweeping the home clean and removing your furniture. At the closing you'll have to sign a few papers and present your identification when requested, but the buyer has the most work to do to finalize the sale. You'll receive a check for any proceeds from the sale of the home after paying off your own mortgage balance.

Give Up the Keys

  • When you complete the sale of your house, the last step is to pass all keys to the new owner. After the closing date, you no longer have rights to enter the home without the buyer's permission. In the weeks or months leading up to the closing, you should be moving your belongings to the new location or storage so the home is completely clear for the buyer to take over ownership and move in.

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