top of page

Looking for Something Different?

Find posts related to the topic(s) you're interested in.

FOR SALE BY OWNER – Why It’s Important For You To Control The Process

Updated: Jul 25, 2022


You’ve made the choice to sell your own home – Great! The savings on realtor commissions can be huge. The growing number of online services that assist home sellers not affiliated with realtors has changed the way real estate is marketed in sold and will continue to do so (check out some links below). Some experts estimate that FSBO homes account for twenty-five percent of the homes sold each year. Does this mean that the process of selling a home has gotten any easier or less complicated? No. A recent report on mortgage closings from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau describes real estate closings as confusion, stress, time pressure, cost and delays. Choosing the right attorney as the settlement agent is critical to avoiding these common complaints.

As a homeowner selling your own home, you have some basic goals: get a deal on paper, close the deal quickly, avoid problems during the settlement process and no surprises at the closing table. Getting the right attorney involved can help you achieve these goals.

Get a Deal On Paper: If your buyer is not using a realtor, someone will need to prepare a sales agreement. There are lots of form agreements available on line but beware; every agreement has a particular “slant” toward one party or another. Quality varies quite a bit. A poor quality agreement can give a buyer many “loopholes” that can be used to get out of the deal. If the buyer has a realtor who presents you with an agreement, you will want to make sure the agreement is reviewed and modified by your attorney to make it most likely that the deal with close.

Close the Deal Quickly: Once the deal is signed, there are LOTS of things that need to happen before the closing. Title searches, title insurance, tax clearance letters, inspections and appraisals are but a few of those items. Have your own attorney handle these things if the buyer does not have anyone in mind. If YOUR attorney is controlling the process, it makes it far more likely that a closing happens as soon as possible. You may need to close on your home in order to purchase another. Maybe a delay costs you an extra mortgage payment or other costs associated with owning your home. Not controlling the process can cost you money.

Avoid Problems: Title searches, inspections and other items that happen during the time between the signing of the agreement and closing can cause major problems that can derail the deal. If you get an attorney involved before you sign a deal, that person can check to make sure that the title to your property is “clean” and will not pose any problems. You may think you have a “clear title” but title problems are fairly common. Get advice up front on potential issues, such as problems with the title, house, unpaid tax liens and old unsatisfied mortgages that could either derail the closing or give the buyer an opportunity to ask that you reduce the sales price.

No Surprises at the Closing Table: Surprise fees and costs at the closing table are common complaints about real estate closings. Many consumers report that even though they encounter discrepancies that result in unease at the closing table, they often feel pressured to sign documents during the allotted time in order to avoid risking delays or even losing the deal. You should ask to see the settlement statement (HUD-1 Form) at least 24 hours prior to closing so that you can understand costs on the form, ask any questions that you have and get things clarified without feeling pressure at the closing table.

Making the choice to sell your own home is making a choice to retain “control.” Using your own attorney to handle most aspects of the closing process is a great way to maintain control and ensure that the deal actually closes.

Fiffik Law Group provides a full range of services to residential and commercial real estate buyers and sellers. Our real estate services include many experienced attorneys and staff. Reach them at (412) 391-1014.


bottom of page