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From your local Sacramento neighborhood expert, Carlos Montoya

Buyer & Seller Responsibilities When Selling a Home

seller responsibilities

Seller Responsibilities

These are the items the seller is responsible for when selling a home:

  • Maintaining the home in good condition
  • Negotiating and possibly repairing something the buyer found during inspection
  • Cancel utilities and notify them of end of service date.
  • Prepare to vacate the home and move.

Seller’s Tip: Don’t cancel your homeowner’s insurance the home transfer is complete and finalized.

Popular Question: Who is Responsible for Home Repairs, The Buyer or The Seller?

Buyer Responsibilities

The buyer is responsible for much more than the seller. They are responsible for:

  • Hiring a home inspector
  • Negotiating with seller on items that come up during inspection
  • Setting up their loan (mortgage)
  • Purchasing homeowner’s insurance
  • Setting up accounts with utilities

Prior to Closing Day

If your lender requires a survey of the property, you’ll need to review the document. This is the time to question the boundaries if you think something is wrong. It is particularly important to have an accurate survey done in rural areas where property boundaries often become an issue. Experts advise buyers to closely scrutinize the survey to determine if your boundary is adjacent to a stream or river that has changed course. Also, a final walk through of the home may be requested. This gives the buyer one last chance to view the property and make sure that agreed upon repairs are completed.

Closing Day

The day a home closes for sale is the day the deed is sent to be filed at the county courthouse. The buyer and seller will sign a stack of closing documents. All fees must be paid – such as agent commissions, mortgage payoffs, down payments, etc. You will receive a proceeds check if one is due to you. The buyer receives the keys, remotes for the garage doors, and possibly reciepts from any work agreed to be done during inspection.

What you need to have in order to Close Escrow

  • The deed to your home, if the home is paid off and has no mortgage or leins
  • Photo ID –  state driver’s license or passport
  • A certified check if required in the amount told to you by Escrow
  • The keys and security codes for the house

Buyer’s Tip: Don’t forget to request warranty and instruction books for heating, cooling, and plumbing systems and for appliances from the seller.

What Are The Seller’s Responsibilities During Escrow?

Some examples of the seller’s responsibilities during escrow might include:

  • Obtaining a title insurance policy
  • Paying escrow service fees
  • Paying for drawing the deed and for drawing/recording the reconveyance deed(s)
  • Paying notary fees
  • Paying county (or possible city) transfer taxes
  • Paying any other charges that may have been agreed upon in the contract

What Are The Buyer’s Responsibilities During Escrow?

Some of the buyer’s responsibilities during escrow may include:

  • Obtaining a standard or owner’s policy of title insurance (varies from area to area)
  • Paying escrow fees
  • Paying fees for drawing a first or second deed
  • Paying notary fees
  • Payng fees for recording the deed
  • Paying any other charges that may have been agreed upon in the contract

What Are Prorated Responsibilities?

Prorated responsibilities are those that could be performed by either the buyer or the seller. Such responsibilities are prorated (i.e. divided up) between the buyer and seller when they write the contract. They may include:

  • Real estate taxes
  • Association fees (assessment)
  • Improvement assessments
  • Any liens or judgments needed to clear title
  • Unpaid and paid rents
  • Security deposits
  • Impound accounts
  • Real estate broker’s commission
  • Any other prorations agreed upon in the contract

What Happens if Something Goes Wrong?

If you are the buyer or seller in the sale of a piece of property and you feel that the other party has failed to perform or unfairly refuses to perform one of his legal responsibilities, then you should seek the help of a real estate laywer that can properly advise you whether the other party has failed in their responsibilities and recommend a course of action.

What the Seller Pays

What the seller pays at closing depends on local laws and the terms stipulated in the sales contract Just remember the rules of the contract. You can’t decide you don’t want to pay something that was already agreed to by both parties and written in your contract – unless both parties agree in writing. This could mean amending the paperwork, and possibly delay the closing.

Typical seller expenses

  • The outstanding mortgage
  • Real estate commissions
  • Property taxes, utility bills, homeowner’s insurance, and condominium dues, if any are due (most of this is prorated at closing)
  • Escrow, Title and/or Attorney fees

If you happen to live in an area where home warranties are popular, this could be another possible expense to concern yourself with.

Because whatever you agreed to pay at closing is deducted from your selling price or proceeds. That is, unless your sales price doesn’t cover the total cost of paying off your loan and the other costs of sale.

Buying or selling a home in Sacramento? Speak with Sacramento Real Estate expert, Carlos Montoya!

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