Can You Sell a Home With a Power of Attorney?

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

Can You Sell a Home With a Power of Attorney?

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

Depending on the type of authority given to you, you can sell a home. A power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document which can give the attorney-in-fact or agent broad authority to handle decisions for someone else, including selling real estate. The person granting this authority is called a principal, and it is their decision as to how much and what authority to give the agent.

Man and woman standing outside a home with a "For Sale" sign

Acting as an attorney-in-fact is a responsibility someone should not take lightly. It comes with a great duty of care to make sure they are acting in the best interests of the principal.

Specific Language and Duties

When you've decided that you need a power of attorney, it's important to ensure your document has specific language in it regarding the sale of a home. Because your agent will deal with banks and real estate professionals, they will each want to be certain you have granted the authority to the individual. They won't want to help sell your property if they aren't sure it's what you want.

Many banks will want a minimum sale price listed in the document. This will give the financial institution peace of mind that you put thought into your decision and you understand the minimum you will receive for the sale of your house. Depending on where you live, your state may also have specific requirements to ensure your attorney-in-fact can carry out the sale of your home.

You must also choose a person you trust. This person has a fiduciary responsibility to always act in your best interest. So if they sell your home for a lower price when they received offers that were higher, you could hold them accountable for the difference. This person also cannot sell the property to him or herself.

Types of Authority

Powers of attorney documents can vary based on the type. While there are many types, there are four applicable to the sale of a house.

Limited

These documents are drafted specifically for one purpose. In this case, for the sale of a house. Many times, banks will require a limited power of attorney so they are comfortable that your agent is acting in your best interest.

General

These documents grant your attorney-in-fact great authority to do anything you could do. This includes buying and selling items, accessing bank accounts, and even selling property. However, banks will generally require a limited power of attorney for the specific purpose of selling a home.

Durable

Regardless of the reason for using such a document, this type gives someone the power to act on your behalf from the date the document is signed through any incapacity you may experience, such as a physical or mental disease.

Non-durable

With this type of document, once you become incapacitated, your agent is unable to complete any transactions on your behalf. If you anticipate this, it's best to choose a different option to move forward with the sale.

When deciding to use a power of attorney to sell your home, it's important to understand the options you have available. Selling your house is important and you want to do everything in your power to make sure it goes smoothly.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.