For Sale By Owner – Do I Really Need An Attorney?

If you are considering selling your home without using a Real Estate Agent or Broker in order to save on commissions, there are three important things you need to know. First and foremost, you absolutely need the assistance of a real estate attorney to ensure the sale is done in compliance with all California laws. Real estate agents cannot give you legal advice, so if you have questions about the sale agreement, or are not using a Realtor, you will need to contact an attorney. Although an attorney can handle drafting all documents in connection with the sale and assist you in the transaction process, they will not be able to market your property like a Realtor, so it is vital that a seller get an appraisal done to confirm the current fair market value of their home. Many sales by owners are to friends, family members, or existing tenants, so you want to make sure you are getting a good price for your home. Secondly, it will be essential to find a reliable title company and escrow company to handle the transaction. With large amounts of money being transferred in a property sale, escrow will ensure that money is protected, all loans are paid off, and all disbursements are accurate. A title company is also extremely important because they will prepare a preliminary title report which will disclose all matters affecting title to the property (ie/ mortgages, easements, homeowner associations). Often clients express concern about the cost of a title policy, escrow, or legal fees, but I remind clients that these costs are minimal compared to the tens of thousands of dollars you will have to pay in litigation if the sale is not handled correctly and the buyer sues you down the road. Thirdly, there are many intricacies of a property transaction that cannot be waived or overlooked under California law, such as statutory disclosures by the seller, payment of existing loans and encumbrances, and ensuring the proper parties are transferring the property. Having an attorney involved in the process will give you the peace of mind that the sale is being handled properly, and that your interests are protected.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions related to this article, please contact the Law Office of Ashley M. Peterson, and we would be happy to answer whatever legal questions you may have.

Comments 2

  1. Current tenants want to buy our rental property in California. What would a real estate attorney charge to handle the transaction?

    1. Post

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