For Sale by Owner
The internet has changed the real estate marketplace and as a result of websites such as Trulia, Realtor.com, Craigslist and Zillow, more and more homeowner’s are opting to sell their homes without the assistance of a real estate agent. These sales are often referred to as For Sale by Owner (FSBO). When a homeowner elects to sell a home on their own, the services of a qualified real estate attorney can help ensure the sale goes off without a hitch for a fraction of the cost of a real estate agent. This page provides some basic information about hiring our firm to assist you with your FSBO transaction.
Can’t I just use the standard forms off the internet?
Although standard real estate forms are available from websites, such as the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors (www.kcrar.org), these forms do not come with an explanation of the various terms or when certain disclosures are required. For most people, the sale or purchase of a home is one of the largest transactions they will ever be a party to. With so much money at stake, it is important to ensure that all the paperwork is completed correctly and that the buyer and seller are protected from future liability. An experienced real estate attorney can ensure the property ownership is properly transferred and/or help address issues that arise during the closing process.
Do I need title insurance?
If the buyer is paying in cash or the seller is providing financing, title insurance is not required to complete the transaction. However, it is strongly recommended that title insurance is a part of every real estate transaction. Title insurance protects the buyer (and mortgage company, if applicable) in the event another party claims an ownership interest in part or all of the property. We have experience working with many of the title insurance agencies in the area and can provide recommendations if needed.
Isn’t a real estate attorney expensive?
Especially when comparing the costs to that of a real estate agent, an experienced real estate attorney is rather inexpensive. For Sale by Owner packages start at only a few hundred dollars or less than half a percent of the purchase price for a $100,000 home. The standard real estate agent’s commission on that same home would be $6,000 or over 12 times the cost of hiring an experienced Real Estate Attorney.
What is the process and when do I contact the attorney?
If you are just beginning the process of looking for or selling your home without a real estate agent, click here to request a copy of our FSBO Resource Guide, which includes an outline of the FSBO Process, Sample Forms (Seller Disclosure, Lead Based Paint Disclosure, and Letter of Intent), and several articles from our website and other websites on issues related to a for sale by owner transaction. This is a free resource and by providing your information now, we are able to move quickly when you are ready to have a contract drafted for your transaction.
If you have already identified a home or buyer and are ready to have a contract drafted, you can click here to send us the information we need to start drafting the contract. If you have already pre-registered with our office by completing the form above, we can have the contract drafted within one business day. If you have not pre-registered, our standard processing time is two-business days for a basic real estate contract.
In order to minimize the risk of either party walking away while our office drafts the contracts, you can execute a “Letter of Intent” that can be used when someone is viewing your home and wants to make an offer. The Letter of Intent is not the purchase contract, but it can be used to memorialize some basic terms while the contract is being drafted and to create a an obligation on the parties to continue to negotiate the sale in good faith until such time as the final contract is signed by both parties.
Once the contract is drafted, the transaction can go one of two ways. If you are using a title company for the closing, I will forward the signed contract to the title company and the buyer should promptly deliver a certified check for the escrow deposit to the title company. From there, the title company will take over drafting of the necessary paperwork and I will either step out of the transaction or can continue to work as a liaison with the title company, including reviewing the title paperwork prior to your closing.
If we will be performing your closing (e.g. it is a cash sale or seller financing), we will prepare the paperwork necessary to effectuate the transfer of the property. We will then schedule a closing date and coordinate the execution of all the various documents by the parties. Once the paperwork is signed, we will record it with the county to ensure the proper transfer of title to the property.