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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we discuss what to expect when selling a residential property in Iowa including:

  • What You Need to Know About Selling a Home inIowa
  • Selling a Home by Owner in Iowa
  • Required Disclosures in Iowa Real Estate
  • General Steps to Selling a Home in Iowa

Selling a home can be stressful. Whether it’s your first time or your fifth, knowing what to expect can make the difference between a smooth experience and a nightmare. Although you may not be legally required to hire one, finding a good real estate lawyer and agent should be your first step. These individuals will guide you through the process of selling your home in Iowa. For more on whether you need an attorney or not, visit our article entitled Do I Need An Attorney When Buying or Selling a Home?.

What You Need to Know About Selling a Home in Iowa

When putting your home on the market, it is important to first do some research on the Iowa housing market. It is smart to attend open houses in your area to scope out the competition, get some staging ideas, selling tips and an idea of what price you should list your home for. Consider what you would want your buying experience to be like when selling your home.

Selling a Home by Owner in Iowa

When selling a home on your own, much of the work goes into creating the perfect listing and getting that listing in front of as many buyers as possible. If you decide to list your home For Sale By Owner (FSBO),you may want to consider utilizing the services of an Iowa flat fee MLS listing company. This will require that you list with a broker, but you still retain the right to sell FSBO. This is a good idea if you still want to have your hands in the process of selling your own home, but want help finding buyers and want to save money by paying a flat fee to list your home on popular websites. For more information on selling a home by contract, visit our Buying a Home on Contract in Iowa article.

Be sure to pay special attention to the required property disclosures in Iowa to avoid any law suits or fines. At minimum, you must disclose any imperfections in the home such as the presence of lead paint or out-of-date electrical or plumbing systems. Also, be cognizant that the language used in your listing does not facilitate discrimination. For more information about avoiding discrimination, read this article. If you have any questions contact an attorney.

Required Disclosures in Iowa Real Estate

Iowa Code § 558A requires that sellers provide a written disclosure of any “material” defects before accepting any written offers. All information contained in the disclosure must be made in “good faith”, meaning you must disclose any defects you had knowledge of at the time, and any misleading or inaccurate language you become aware of must be corrected. This must be delivered to the buyer personally or sent via regular or certified mail. Disclosures not provided before the acceptance of the written offer run the risk that the buyer will cancel the purchase agreement contract, which they may do within 3-5 days of receiving the disclosure. This disclosure is then signed by the buyer and filed with the county clerk. More information on required disclosures can be found here.

If you do not make timely disclosures of defects in your home, your buyer may have the option to “withdraw” from negotiations after having submitted a written offer due to the nondisclosure. If the buyer does not discover the defect until after they have moved in, Iowa permits them to pursue legal action to recover the cost of the repair. There are some exclusions to the disclosure requirements, such as homes that are being transferred due to foreclosure. For more information about foreclosures, checkout our article about Judicial and Nonjudicial Foreclosures.  If you have any questions about what you must disclose, contact an experienced attorney at O’Flaherty Law.

General Steps to Selling a Home in Iowa

Regardless of whether you sell your home on your own or with the assistance of a real estate agent, there are several general steps to the process of selling a residential property.

  1. Put your home on the market. Disclose what is required!
  2. Receive written offers.
  3. Enter into negotiations with buyers on price and closing terms.
  4. Draft and sign an Iowa purchase agreement. (This is a legal document and this may be a good time to consult an attorney atO’Flaherty Law. Call our office at (630) 324-6666, email, or schedule a consultation.)
  5. Prepare for inspection and appraisal.
  6. Renegotiate (if applicable).
  7. Closing!

O’Flaherty Law understands the complex process of selling a home in Iowa. Our real estate lawyers have years of experience. We can prepare you for the expected and unexpected issues when selling a home.  Call our office at (630) 324-6666 to speak with one of our experienced real estate lawyers today. You can also fill out our confidential contact form and we will get back to you shortly.  




Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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