Paperwork in Real Estate

Anyone who has bought or sold a home recently can attest to the amount of papers, forms and contracts that need to be signed, copied and distributed.

What is all this paperwork, and is it really necessary? The short answer is, it varies, and yes, it’s all very necessary.

Let’s begin with the process to list a home. Your REALTOR® will come to your house armed with all sorts of papers, some for you just to read, some for you to fill out, and some for you to sign. Some of these, like the voluntary Seller's Real Property Disclosure Statement and Lead Based Paint Disclosure (if applicable), will be filled out and given to prospective purchasers. Others, like the listing agreement, you will keep a copy.

By this time, you will have figured out you need a file folder to start keeping track of the papers. It won’t match the one your REALTOR® has, though. But by the time your property is sold, you’ll have a folder that needs a rubber band around it to keep all the papers straight.

Sometimes all this paperwork makes selling a property more difficult. In cases where the either the sellers or buyers are out of town, for example, moving the papers back and forth in a timely fashion becomes a concern. Members of the Daytona Beach Area Association of REALTORS® have access to state of the art computer systems that allow the contracts to be emailed back and forth, and even signed digitally.

On the buyer’s side, the paperwork is about the same. Your REALTOR® may ask you to sign a Buyer Broker agreement. Then he or she will begin to provide information about homes for sale and possible showings. Or, you may go to open houses where you’ll pick up more papers. As a buyer, you’ll need the same type of file folder.

Once you get ready to make an offer, even more paperwork is required. Then come inspection reports, an appraisal, maybe a survey, mortgage papers, and more. By the time you close, your folder will need a rubber band, too.

So is all this paperwork really necessary? Yes. Some has to do with the process of buying and selling, some has to do with government regulation, and some has to do with financing. But it’s all necessary.

It’s also part of what you pay your REALTOR® to do – help guide you through this maze of paperwork.

So the next time you buy or sell, think about all the paperwork. Think about how your REALTOR® handles it all so you don’t have to worry about it. And keep your file folder handy with a rubber band – you’ll need it!