The direct sale of a home by an owner -- without the use of a realtor -- is not a terribly complicated process and can usually result in substantial savings to the seller.
But understanding the requirements of what is needed to successfully sell a home is the key to the transaction.
The successful sale of a home without the services of a realtor depends greatly on the owner's efforts and ability to market and present the home to potential purchasers, then handle the legal 'paperwork' requirements of completing the transaction.
To successfully complete the sale and legal transfer of one's home, the following steps are generally taken:
1) The property must be valued by the seller in order to obtain a legitimate and reasonable sales price for the property. It must then be placed on market for sale and advertised.
2) A written Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement, a Lead Hazard Disclosure form and other Real Property Disclosure forms (and other legal documents as may be required by the laws of the state in which the home is located) must be prepared by seller and presented to purchaser. These documents are then signed by the parties. A down payment/deposit is then usually paid to seller by purchaser at this time.
3) The purchaser begins the process of obtaining financing to pay the purchase price. This step may require that the purchaser obtain a survey and/or have a title search completed (or other activity as required by lender). The purchaser and/or lender may require a title insurance policy to be purchased and issued on the property, too.
4) The seller prepares a Deed (Quitclaim, Warranty or some other form of Deed), signs it, has it witnessed and notarized so that the property can be transferred to the purchaser.
5) The closing takes place and the purchaser (and/or lender) tenders the remainder of purchase price (that amount that is to be paid after the down payment is applied to the purchase price of the property) to the seller. The seller pays off all liens and mortgages on the property, and the revised Deed is tendered to purchaser. The purchaser then files that Deed with the governmental recording office in the county or parish in which the property is located so that property is legally transferred to purchaser's name.
While some additional steps are required if a bank loan is involved (e.g. the bank may require a survey, a home inspection, or may even require some testing for environmental issues), the steps listed above are those usually required in a For Sale by Owner real estate transaction.
Additionally, a closing agent (usually a title company) can assist the buyer and seller in helping the parties transfer funds, file the deed and generally "close" the sale. The cost of a title company services are usually fairly modest.
Please note that each home sale transaction may be unique and that issues may arise in the transaction requiring additional or different steps be taken (and, in some cases, additional forms and documents may be required). It is recommended that should any issues arise in the transaction that are not "typical", a licensed attorney be contacted. This article is not intended to provide any legal advice with regard to the purchase or sale of any residential property.
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DISCLAIMER REGARDING LEGAL ADVICE: None of information contained on this web site is intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and you should not rely solely on the information contained on the site for making legal decisions. When necessary, you should consult with an attorney for specific advice tailored to your situation.