I must again state my disclaimer: Even though the title of this post includes the word "legal," I am not offering legal advice. I am not an attorney; I am a Realtor. If you'd like legal advice, I recommend speaking with a real estate attorney.
The issues I will discuss here are things we, as Realtors, deal with regularly and can certainly counsel our clients on a reasonable path forward and normally problems can be avoided. Again, an attorney is the best person to provide legal advice.
OK... so let's proceed. Here are other mistakes that many sellers make or "almost" make:
1. Not excluding items from the home sale that the seller wants to keep: When selling a home, anything that can be considered "attached" to the home is "part" of the home and, unless determined in the sales contract that it is NOT included in the sale, it IS included in the sale. Often sellers and their agents don't think about this when negotiating a contract with a buyer. Items often missed include chandeliers, built-in speakers, certain types of shelving (built-in?) and other things "attached" to the house. The best thing to do is tell your Realtor when you first meet with him/her if there's anything that you want to ensure you can take with you when you move. If you forget to discuss it at that time, then you have a second opportunity when you're negotiating the contract. You can always "counter" the buyer's offer and acknowledge what it NOT included as part of the sale. In addition, if you're not sure if something could be considered as part of the property, then it's better to be overly-cautious and ensure it's in writing anyway. That way, there's no confusion on the part of either party. When in doubt, put it in writing.
2. Not obtaining a written acknowledgement from the buyers about receiving the property disclosures: In real estate, everything must be in writing. A real estate transaction is too big and too important not to have everything in writing. And ANYTHING that has been "disclosed" to the buyers must not only BE IN WRITING, but also must be ACKNOWLEGED by the buyers IN WRITING. Each disclosure form has a section for both sellers and buyers to sign indicating they've received and reviewed the disclosure. There are also forms that summarize which disclosures have been received by the buyers. Your Realtor will ensure all proper documents and disclosures are completed.
Have questions about buying or selling? Call me on my direct line at 916-241-8000 or 530-677-1332.