“Do I need a real estate attorney to sell my house?”
When you have located a buyer and don’t want to hire a real estate agent to sell your home, you might find yourself asking this very question. The answer, of course, depends on your unique situation.
What a Lawyer Can Do
Based on our experience, many of our clients prefer hiring a lawyer instead of a real estate agent to sell their homes. An attorney is usually less expensive and can be helpful in negotiating and preparing a thorough real estate purchase agreement that outlines all of the terms and contingencies that adequately protect you. We can help you through this long and complex process. After we negotiate and prepare a real estate purchase contract that protects you, we hire a title company to complete the title search and title insurance documents and prepare all of the closing documents. We also negotiate closing fees that can sometimes be expensive and not reasonable. These fees include appraisal, review fees, processing, and settling fees. After all of the closing documents are ready, we review all of the closing documents with our clients to ensure a smooth and problem-free closing.
Finding a Buyer
Once you have carefully researched all comparable sales for similar homes in your area and determined an appropriate selling price, we recommend inflating your sales price to give yourself room to negotiate with the buyer.
When you have found an appropriate buyer and have agreed on the purchase price, it is essential that you make no representations to the buyer concerning the condition of your home. We recommend that our sellers tell the buyer that they can inspect the home and that they are relying solely on their inspection with respect to the condition of your home.
Your purchase agreement needs to include that the buyer knows that he or she is purchasing your home “as is”. Purchasing the home “as is” means that the seller makes no warranties regarding the home and is under no obligation in the event any adverse conditions exist on the property.
We provide our sellers with the necessary guidance and support so that they know all of the key terms and contingencies that are important when they negotiate with the buyer and reach an agreement.
Key Terms and Contingencies
1. Make sure you negotiate which appliances, equipment, fixtures, and assets will be transferred to you and which appliances, equipment, fixtures, and assets will be transferred to the buyer at closing.
2. Make sure that you negotiate a maximum price that you are willing to pay for any repairs that need to be made to the property. Make it clear to the buyer that the buyer will be solely responsible for any and all repairs and costs that exceed the maximum amount that you agree to.
3. Make sure that you have a contingency in the contract that ensures that the buyer must obtain financing within a small period of time from the date the real estate purchase agreement is signed.
4. Make sure that your real estate purchase contract adds a contingency that the buyer will be responsible for paying for the costs of all inspections. Try to negotiate and get the buyer to agree to pay for the costs of the owner’s title insurance commitment and policy. These are some of the most expensive costs for the seller in any real estate closing. Typically these costs are paid by the seller but can be negotiated.
Team Up with an Attorney
In conclusion, selling a home is a lengthy process. Considering all of these points, many of our clients opt to team up with an attorney rather than a real estate agent when selling their homes. If you have questions about starting the process, call our office for more information.