Real estate trading and management is a highly regulated sector. Normally a national regulatory body runs a database of proof of real estate ownership and its transfer. Realtors upload critical documents to the centralized digital data repository whenever any real estate is transferred to any of their client. Therefore, many documents required to close a deal are available online. Still, there are few requirements that only an owner can possess and furnish at the time of closing the transaction.

Realtors complain often that despite consistent hard work, their profits (commissions) liquidate due to proper paperwork not available in time. By the time documents are in order either the owner finds a new prospect through another agent, or seller loses interest in that particular property.

Most house owners are not aware of the sensitivity of the documents relating to their property. It may even be necessary to get a document renewed or reissued before closing out a house deal. For these and other reasons, the real challenge in a realtor’s job is sourcing arranging the right paperwork in time.

The specific documents required to sell a house successfully, vary with the state or country of sale. However, by following simple logic a generic list generates that will be applicable with little customization to different territories.

Successful realtors always use proper filing to maintain area wise catalogue of documents for each terrain that they deal in.

Below is a generic list of documents to require to close a deal successfully.

Listing Agreement

A listing agreement is seller’s expression of intent to sell his owned property through a specific agent. It is the appointment letter for a realtor who is assigned therein. A homeowner contacts realtors only when he has a specific profit target in mind to sell the property owned. Purchase price listing is the initial demand at which point seller intends to advertise his property. The scope of the listing agreement is the detailed in the scope of services section. The realtors’ cut (commission) as a percentage and their entitlement to processing or other fees is also fixed under listing agreement.

List of Contacts

In a highly regulated sector like real estate the realtor cannot work alone to make a successful home sale. Some sellers may want to hire professional lawyers to ease out any legal wrinkles in the sales deed. Other might want to work on money matters only through a professional accountant’s firm who will manage the escrow account.

Successful realtors deal with their clients specified points of contact and also coordinate communication to the buyer. On the other hand, a buyer also requires contacts with the facilities manager office or other critical service providers. Having a well organized list of accountants, lawyers, appraisers and other professionals involved in the transaction is very helpful.

Offer Forms

Standard templates of offer and counter offer forms help smooths the negotiation with clear understanding of terms and conditions. It is especially helpful when you have multiple offers to buy the property each with a differing set of terms. Realtors handle multiple deals each day and working with memory could be a real havoc. Carefully pre-numbered documented offers and counter offers are the best way to maintain transparent and correct records.


Sometimes the legislation requires seller to notify buyer of certain house improvement which raise health concerns e.g. lead based paint. A buyer only has limited number of days to get the house inspection on lead paints. For sake of urgency they might request a direct contact to the property inspector who managed the property last. This disclosure form will also contain details of furnishing included and excluded in the sales deal of furnished house. This will evidence whether things like parking space, curtains, carpets and works of art on the walls etc. are included in list price, or priced separately or entirely not subject to the sale.

Property disclosure must also contain membership of the seller with a home-owners’ association and the additional costs contingent to buying his home. A re-seller certificate and fees involved should be kept ready for sharing with buyer. In case of non-disclosure, the sales deal can terminate with losses solely occurring to the seller.

Title Deed

Title deed is the sole proof of ownership of the property in the hands of the owner. Transfer of title is only possible if title deed in original is available with the owner or his financier (mortgagor). A copy of this is always available in the land records of the country or terrain where the piece of land is registered. If seller reports a title deed as lost or destroyed the house is not sell-ready. Realtors must ensure that the possessor of the title deed has applied for a certified copy of the deed from land department. The land department issues such certified copy only after verifying the applicant’s claim to the title and also the open mortgage on it.

Pre-Mortgage Approval Documents

A large number of house sellers have a mortgage on their property under sale. A buyer must arrange a pre-mortgage if the listed house is under mortgage and seller does not want to renew. Buyer can get a home mortgage from the seller’s financier or a third party financer. In the latter case, a third party financing addendum is required of the buyers. Buyers can lose the token money in their escrow account if the new mortgage application is refused by the bank. Realtor must therefore educate the buyer regarding why he needs to arrange a pre-mortgage from a third party financier.

Property Insurance

Sellers obtain property insurance to cover their risk before or after the property listing to cover themselves from risk of various losses. Different policies covers the risk of loss to the house exterior or interior, to the home owners belonging, loss to the resident tenants or buyer viewing a property while they are at the property.

Title insurance

title insurance policy is used to secure the interest of the mortgagor is the title is lost due to a legal defect in purchase / sale deed. Title is ensured after a sales deed is made to protect the mortgagor from defects in the title transfer.

Sales Deed

The final step is preparing the sales deed which contains all information regarding the particular transaction. The purpose of having a detailed sales deed is to ensure that the process of a standard deal is agreed and any additional features are also mentioned clearly.

A typical sales deed will identify the house under sale with an entry in the land registrar’s database. It further identifies the seller and the buyers with clear proof of identification.

The final price with clear expression of items treated inclusive or exclusive (such as garage space or furnishing etc.) and other ancillary items is also detailed in Sales agreement. The agreement also highlights milestones of the property transfer and the management of escrow account.