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Ready to Sell, Refinance, or Transfer Your Home? Probably Not (Yet)

Homeowners who would like to sell, refinance, or transfer ownership of their primary residence are often woefully unprepared for the transaction. In fact, many closings, mortgage refinances, and transfers of ownership are delayed or postponed because homeowners do not have all the necessary documentation to move forward to seal the deal.

Even if you’re not planning to sell, refinance, or transfer ownership of your home anytime soon, you should nevertheless have a “dress rehearsal” for that day by taking the following steps:

  • Review your original deed for accuracy as to how title was held.

  • Make sure the Certificate of Occupancy is correct (especially if you made any additions that would require Building Department intervention).

  • Review subsidy or grant documents, if any. If the time period has elapsed for forgiveness, get a satisfaction of payoff from HPD or HUD--a process that could take several months.

  • Have your attorney conduct a lien search to check for any liens or judgments against the home or you.

  • Determine if you will owe any capital gains taxes as a result of the sale of your home.

  • Have all original papers for your home in a convenient place in case you are called upon to produce them.

  • Make sure there are no estate issues regarding the title of the home, especially if the home was passed down from generation to generation, possibly without a Deed transfer.

  • Have a Power of Attorney in place in case one owner becomes incompetent. It may not be possible to transfer ownership if an owner is incompetent.

Good luck and remember the adage “fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.”


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