Should You Use an Attorney for a For Sale By Owner Closing?
April 20th, 2022
Buying or selling a house is a complex process that requires knowledge of local, state, and federal laws. While many people opt to work with a realtor when buying or selling a house, an increasing number of real estate transactions are for sale by owner, or “FSBO” (pronounced fizz-bow).
People choose to sell a house by owner for a variety of reasons. They may want to avoid the additional expense of a realtor’s commission, or perhaps they want additional control over the process. Regardless of the reason, FSBO transactions are increasingly common. And even if you are not the one selling the house, there is a chance that the home you want to buy will be for sale by owner.
How a Real Estate Attorney Can Help
Whether you are the buyer or are listing your house for sale by owner, important documents are needed to complete the transaction. They must be reviewed, understood, and signed. An experienced real estate attorney can help you avoid potential pitfalls, protect your interests, and ensure a smooth transaction.
Many real estate contracts and other documents are standardized forms. But anything that is even slightly outside of the norm can pose a problem for the unwary. While standard legal forms provide the basics for completing a real estate transaction, an attorney can offer additional guidance and address any issues that arise during the process.
For example, an attorney can help address any liens, easements, or other title issues on the property. Additionally, an attorney can help negotiate the price, which party is responsible for closing costs and repairs, and whether appliances will stay. An attorney can also help with insurance, warranties, and other terms in the purchase or financing agreements.
Do I Need an Attorney to Buy or Sell a House?
Some states require that an attorney participates in the closing process. Ohio does not. Nonetheless, it is wise to hire a lawyer to review the documents needed to buy or sell a home.
The purchase agreement is the contract between the buyer and seller that specifies the terms of the sale. It must identify the property being sold, provide information about the buyer and the seller, and provide pricing and financing information.
The purchase agreement may also include information about fixtures and appliances that are included or excluded from the sale, inspection dates, closing and possession dates, the earnest money deposit amount, the amount and who is responsible for closing costs and transfer taxes, conditions for terminating the sale, conditions that must be met to complete the sale, whether property taxes will be prorated, and whether the buyer has acknowledged receipt of the seller disclosure statement.
You will also need to review and sign the title insurance policy, review any applicable homeowners or condominium association documents, understand any building and use restrictions, and identify other items that might impact your ownership interest in the home.
Even if your real estate transaction appears straightforward, an experienced real estate attorney can guide you through the process, offer advice, assist with negotiations, and represent you at the closing.
In short, an attorney will protect your interests and ensure that the transaction goes smoothly.
Representing You at Closing
The real estate closing is the culmination of months of hard work. It is exciting, but also complicated. An attorney can help by preparing and organizing the closing documents and overseeing the process.
The buyer and seller can each have a lawyer present at the closing. The lawyers will prepare and draft the closing documents and ensure that any additional items necessary to complete the transaction are included. A lawyer will also perform a title search and identify any liens, easements, or other issues with the property. These issues should all have been addressed before the closing.
A lawyer will also coordinate the closing date, review the closing documents, and ensure that the money is distributed properly at the end of the sale.
The RKPT Advantage
RKPT attorneys have been representing buyers and sellers in real estate transactions for more than 50 years. We have extensive experience managing any real estate transaction and can ensure an efficient outcome that will protect you and facilitate a smooth transaction.
Our lawyers have developed an extensive network of resources that can be brought to bear upon any real estate transaction. We also operate our own title company, Safe Title Agency, Inc., which allows us to close your transaction efficiently while providing exceptional customer service.
For more information and to learn how we can help, contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.