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Sales Contracts

"For Sale by Owner" and Sales Contracts

If you're considering selling your home as a "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO), you're taking on a significant legal responsibility. While FSBO transactions can save on real estate agent fees, it's likely going to be a long, lengthy process in which your money saved will then be redistributed into time spent trying to be well-informed about the legal aspects of the process.

Here’s what FSBO sellers should know about sales contracts and deeds:

AS IS Sale Contract

Drafting a legally sound and protective real estate contract is no small task. It is highly recommended that you seek legal counsel to create the contract for you. An experienced attorney can ensure that the contract safeguards your interests and provides necessary assurances to the buyer. This contract should address crucial details, such as the property’s condition, any agreed-upon repairs, and the timeline for the transaction. Having a professionally drafted contract is crucial to protect both parties and prevent potential disputes.

Disclosure Laws

Selling your home under FSBO means you must adhere to strict disclosure laws. These laws require sellers to disclose any known issues or defects with the property to the buyer. Importantly, this includes issues that are not readily visible, such as hidden structural problems, leaks, or termite infestations. Failure to disclose known issues can lead to legal liability and potential financial damages. It’s advisable to maintain meticulous records of the property’s condition and share this information with the buyer to remain in compliance with the law.

Selecting a Title Company

Typically, the seller is responsible for choosing the title company. The title company plays a vital role in the FSBO transaction by conducting a comprehensive title search. This search uncovers any existing liens, encumbrances, or title defects that might affect the sale. Additionally, the title company often serves as the closing agent, facilitating the signing of all necessary documents to transfer the property’s title from the seller to the buyer. Their role in ensuring a clear and unencumbered title is crucial to the success of the transaction.

Hiring a Real Estate Attorney

Like we stressed above, hiring a real estate attorney is a wise decision when dealing with FSBO transactions. An attorney’s expertise is invaluable in handling your closing documents, safeguarding your interests, and ensuring a smooth process. Your attorney will make sure there are no surprises at closing, all parties follow their contractual obligations, and the transaction proceeds legally. Unlike real estate agents or title company employees, only an attorney can provide you with legal advice during your closing. In cases where the title company’s scope is limited, they may recommend involving an attorney to ensure the transaction is legally sound and all parties are protected.