When selling a home, many people choose to forgo the traditional method of working with a realtor. Instead, they are engaging in for sale by owner (FSBO) transactions. This type of transaction eliminates the middleman (the realtor), allowing the buyer and the seller to communicate directly with each other.
FSBO has become increasingly attractive for sellers because it allows them to keep the full amount of their property sale rather than paying a large percentage or fee to the agent. However, all real estate sales benefit from the involvement of a qualified and experienced attorney.
Why Do I Need an Attorney for an FSBO?
While several states require the involvement of a certified real estate attorney when a transaction closes, Iowa state law does not impose this stipulation. However, hiring an attorney for your FSBO transaction can be essential to the success of your sale.
FSBO transactions require overwhelming amounts of paperwork. Legal issues can arise from requirements such as title clearance, inspections, and contingencies. While selling your home without an agent can give you a lot of freedom, you will also be assuming more responsibilities. An experienced real estate lawyer will be thoroughly familiar with the laws and regulations at the state and local levels. They will ensure that you avoid common pitfalls, which can give you peace of mind as you navigate your sale.
Legal Paperwork and Contracts
When you agree to a real estate sale, you need to draft a purchase agreement outlining the sale’s terms and conditions. This document will contain information about:
- The home you are selling
- The parties involved
- The sale price
- The amount of the initial deposit
- Any conditions that may lead to the termination of the contract
- Closing and move-in dates
An attorney can draft, review, and edit this contract so you can be confident that it complies with all applicable laws.
Your attorney can also handle third party-transactions and pertinent documents such as:
- Title search
- Insurance policies
- Inspection reports
- Housing association paperwork
- Closing documents
Legal Representation at Closing
The sale process can often be months long, so you will want to set yourself up for a smooth closing. However, the closing can often present its own unexpected challenges. Having an attorney who can prepare, review, and organize the required closing documents can help make things move as efficiently as possible. Your lawyer will also work with the buyer’s legal representative to review and edit the final documents.
Selling to Family Members
Many sellers elect FSBO transactions when they are selling to a family member or a close friend because they believe this type of sale will go more smoothly than a transaction with a stranger. However, large financial transactions can present problems for anyone. Working with a qualified lawyer can help protect your best interests, whether you are selling to someone close to you or a member of the general public.
Contact Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP
Since 1952, Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP, has developed a reputation of excellence in Council Bluffs and throughout Iowa. Our experienced real estate attorneys are fully versed in local and state real estate laws, and we are committed to protecting our clients’ best interests.
If you are engaged in an FSBO transaction for your property, our skilled lawyers can guide you through every step of the process. From initiating the sale to closing, you can rest assured that our seasoned professionals will work to make your transaction as efficient as possible. Call us today at 712-309-3738 or contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team.