Selling your house on the open market can be quite the process. You have to prepare your house for selling, price it correctly, list it properly online, find enough interested buyers, and then hope that at least of them like your property enough to purchase it. It can feel like a lot just to get to this point, but even though someone has decided to move forward with the sale, there is still a lot left to do. And if you’re selling a house in Nebraska, there are specific rules that you need to know in order to make it a smooth process.
You can skip the hassle, fees, and unknowns by selling your house as-is to a cash buyer like Element Homebuyers. Doing so means you can skip the repairs, skip hiring an agent, and skip dealing with buyer demands. You get a cash offer quickly and can move forward right away.
But if you’re set on selling your house on the open market, here are all the steps to sell your Nebraska home during the closing process.
What Is The Closing Process In Nebraska?
Sign the Offer
Once you are in contract, there are some very specific actions that you and the buyer need to take in order to complete the sale of your Nebraska house. First and foremost, an offer is made and accepted by the seller. You and the potential buyer will sign and accept a contract that means you’re stopping interactions with other buyers to act in good faith in the sale.
At this point, a deposit known as earnest money is paid into an escrow account or real estate attorney. It takes a long time from the agreement of the sale price to the closing date and both parties will want some kind of assurance that the other side won’t just walk away without reason. That’s where the escrow account comes in to keep everything safe with a third party until the entire process has been settled one way or another.
Do a Title Search
The signed contract is then delivered either to a title company or attorney who then begins the title search. Titles are how you prove true ownership of a property and the title search of public records determines 100 percent that you are the legal owner of the property. It’s also a way to find out what kind of claims, such as judgment liens, might be attached to the property.
Also part of this step is making sure that there is title insurance in place. This protects the seller from any financial losses sustained from title issues. It also protects owners and lenders against any damages that come from liens or defects in the title.
Disclose Any Issues
The buyer must review and sign off on any disclosures about flaws, repairs, or potential hazards related to the property. As the seller, you will have filled out a seller property disclosure statement and provided it by the day the contract is officially signed. If your Nebraska home was built before 1978 it will be an EPA-mandated lead paint disclosure as well that stats whether or not you had knowledge of lead paint on the property.
Unless the buyer has agreed to no inspection (only in rare instances when the market is unbalanced), they will bring in a home inspector to take a look at the condition of the property. The buyer is likely to also want a termite inspection separately. If the inspector does find any serious issues with the house, the buyer will likely want to renegotiate the terms of the deal or may even back out entirely. Be prepared for the buyer to try to find ways to cut the cost in order to make up for any perceived issues and push back if you don’t agree.
Finalize Mortgage Details
Most likely, the buyer already has a pre-approval for a mortgage or is paying cash. Now that they have a specific house in mind, that approval process will begin in full. In Nebraska, this involves a specific Uniform Residential Loan Application. Within three days, the lender will send a “Good Faith Estimate,” or GFE, to the buyer. This will provide a breakdown of estimated closing costs, which are likely to differ somewhat from the contract price.
Once the buyer has satisfied the lender’s needs, they will render an approval decision and issue a loan commitment letter, which means they will provide the loan so long as specific conditions are met. Chief among these conditions is usually an appraisal.
At this point, the buyer will either remove the loan contingency before the loan contingency date expires. If not, then they are effectively saying they no longer want to purchase the house and they can still recover their earnest money deposit. If they do this after the date, the seller has the right to keep that deposit.
Get an Appraisal
The biggest contingency on any mortgage lender completing the deal will be an appraisal from an inspector. While choosing a specific appraiser is not allowed, a mortgage broker or lender can reject an appraiser and ask for a different one if they feel there’s a conflict of interest. If the appraisal ends up coming in lower than the purchase price, there may be a clause in the contract that allows the buyer to back out of the deal without any penalties. It might also mean the lender won’t approve the loan.
Remove the Contingencies
Along with the appraisal, several contingencies were likely put in place that also needs to be settled before the sale could be closed. They might include financing and any agreed-upon repairs. As these contingencies are met they should be removed from the purchase offer in order to make it clear that everything agreed to is being done. Otherwise, that could be grounds for cancellation of the deal.
Do a Final Walkthrough
Before you and the buyer finalize the sale, you should do one more walkthrough of the house or property just to make sure everything is as it should be. It’s also a good way to confirm that repairs have been done, issues have been solved, no new problems have occurred, and nothing has been removed (other than your personal property).
The Closing Date
Once you set the closing date, the escrow accounts open up, both sides get what they agreed to in the sale, and ownership of the Nebraska house is officially transferred. Make sure you are either very clear about what you are signing as there will be plenty of documents to finish the deal. You may want to have an expert available to walk you through it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get clarification. This is important and should be handled smartly. Once everything is signed and funds are transferred, you hand over the keys to the buyer and, unless there is some agreed-upon date determined in the contract, the home is officially theirs.