Buy a House Other Products & Services The Home Search

5 Keys to Buying a Home Directly From a For Sale By Owner Seller [Infographic]

Buying a home directly from the seller — whether you use an agent or not — can be a very rewarding experience. Here are the steps to signing on the dotted line.

5 Keys to Buying a Home Directly From a For Sale By Owner Seller

To view, download and print 5 Keys to Buying a Home Directly From a For Sale By Owner Seller [Infographic] as a PDF, click here.

Articles Negotiating Other Products & Services Virtual Agent

5 Signs of a Savvy Negotiator [Infographic]

Got an offer? Great. Now it’s time to negotiate with the buyer to reach a deal that you both can agree on. Here are five ways to be professional and prepared in your discussions.

5 Signs of a Savvy Negotiator

To view, download and print 5 Signs of a Savvy Negotiator [Infographic] as a PDF, click here.

Articles Closing FAQs Virtual Agent

When to Hire a Real Estate Attorney and Title Company

Every seller pays for a real estate attorney or title company whether they sell a house with an agent or FSBO. Hire a lawyer to protect your home sale and a title company to coordinate the paperwork.

What a Good Lawyer Does for FSBO Sellers
There are many, many variables in the real estate sale and purchase process that require you to make decisions: How much should I list my home for? Should I sell my home now, or wait another month? Should I paint my walls white, or buff? You get a break with this one: Don’t just think about hiring a real estate attorney, hire one as soon as you move into the closing phase. There is just too much at stake to risk letting some sort of legal snafu torpedo your sale. Your state might require you to hire an attorney, but even if that’s not the case, don’t skimp on this worthwhile expenditure (likely less than $500).

An attorney will guide you through the paperwork, ensuring that you are complying with state law every step of the way. Your real estate attorney will also work closely with the title or settlement company and the buyer’s attorney to make sure that the transaction proceeds smoothly. A local real estate attorney is likely to have worked with the title company and opposing attorney on past transactions, making it even more likely that your deal will move forward without complications.

The last place you want to be is at the closing table with a professional closer and your buyer’s attorney staring at you and expecting you to respond to a legal question that you are not prepared to answer. You need an experienced advocate on your side to be certain that your interests are always represented.

How to Choose a Title Insurance Company
Once you’ve hired an attorney, ask her for a recommendation of a title company or settlement agent to hire for your closing. Don’t hire that company before doing research about its costs vs. competitors and reputation in the marketplace. With a real estate attorney recommendation you’ll have a good starting point.

Also, title insurance industry practices vary due to differences in state law and local real estate custom. Find out from your attorney what the local practices and customs are in the title business in your local market.

In most states, home sellers pay for the owner’s title insurance policy, in effect paying to assure the buyer that the home is really theirs to sell. The fee that the seller pays includes the property search done by the title company and the policy for the new owner. (The buyer typically pays for the policy that protects their mortgage lender). Because the seller is bearing the upfront title search cost, the seller has the right to choose the title insurer.

For more information, check out Amrock’s title insurance explainer video and get the For-Sale-by-Owner Guide created for home buyers and sellers.

Articles Preparing Virtual Agent

3 Experts Every Seller Needs to Hire

You’re not alone when you sell by owner. Just as you would when you sell with an agent, you’ll need to rely on the expertise of these three key experts.

Who’s on your team will be determined by where you live. Generally speaking, real estate transactions west of the Mississippi are handled by title companies. East of the Mississippi, real estate attorneys traditionally handle the closing paperwork.

It’s important to have an attorney review the contract regardless of where you live. You can also rely on your attorney to coach you through negotiations.

Mortgage Lender

  • Prequalifies buyers so you don’t waste time on those who can’t afford your house. Sort the solid prospects from the tourists by requesting proof that they can afford to buy your house.
  • Prepares several financing highlights for your listing sheet, such as estimated monthly payments at current interest rates.
  • Supplies information about state and federal loan programs that might appeal to buyers, such as FHA and workforce housing programs.

Real Estate Attorney and/or Title Company

  • Attorney: Coaches you through negotiations
  • Attorney: Reviews your contract for flaws and loopholes
  • Title Company/Attorney: Provides a checklist of documents required for closing and a timeline
  • Title Company/Attorney: Coordinates the closing with the lender and buyer’s legal representative


  • Equips you with a current analysis of your home’s value so you can set a reasonable price
  • A cornerstone for negotiating with buyers, the appraisal provides the most credible evidence of the value of your house