Real Estate Law


Selling a home is one of the most stressful business deals you will ever have to complete. We’re not talking about selling a car or unloading a washing machine that you no longer use.

Chris and Abbey Marshall sold their home about two years ago. They plunged into the home selling process on their own, without the help of a licensed real estate agent.

“After talking to a few real estate agents, we decided to sell our home on our own,” Abbey said. “We came across quite a few legal hurdles that our attorney helped us overcome. In fact, you can say working with our real estate attorney was as helpful as working with a real estate agent.”

Pros and Cons of Selling a Home on Your Own

Selling a home on your own has several advantages and disadvantages. The primary benefit of working without a real estate agent is you keep more of the money from a home sale. On the other hand, the main disadvantage of playing the role of real estate agent is you have to understand al of the legal requirements involved during the home selling process.

Does the Law Mandate I Hire a Real Estate Agent?

No law exists that requires you to hire a real estate agent to sell your home. However, some states require homeowners to hire an attorney to complete the paperwork that completes the sale of a home. The paperwork involved in consummating a home sale is a complex series of filings that you must handle in the correct legal order. Chris and Abbey Marshall discovered that hiring a real estate attorney took care of the paperwork hassle. Some homeowners should consider working with a real estate agent, especially for home sales that include more than the average amount of paperwork filings. As they say, timing is everything. In real estate law, timing makes the difference between selling your home and left standing at the front door of your home holding the keys.

When You Decide to Put Up the “For Sale By Owner” Sign

If you decide to sell your home, without the help of a real estate agent, you will engage in the legal process called “For Sale By Owner.” You save money by not paying real estate agent commission fees, but during the home selling process, you can expect to understand why real estate agents charge commission fees. You must prepare to spend more time and energy selling a home on your home, but more important, you can expect to spend as much or more money on selling a home on your own than the money you spend to hire a licensed real estate agent. Moreover, remember that you will compete with licensed real estate agents that represent homeowners in your market. Unless you live in a home seller’s market, you should consider hiring a real estate agent to help you get the most for your home.

Consult with a Licensed Real Estate Attorney First

Most licensed real state attorneys offer free initial consultations that help clients understand the legal steps required to sell a home. Although a real estate agent takes a cut of the profits you reap by selling your home, the time, effort, and money spent to sell your home is probably not worth the headache of selling a home on your own. Real estate agents not only understand the myriad laws that influence home sales, they also have a thorough understanding of the real estate market in your area that matches you with the right home buyer.

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