Are you thinking about selling your own home? It’s not uncommon for home sellers to question whether it’s a good idea to sell a home on their own versus hiring a real estate agent to manage the process. Your results may vary. Real estate markets fluctuate, and you might live in an area or own a home that is in high demand.
Selling a home can be a stressful and complex process. If you are unfamiliar with the real estate market and even the lingo used, you may not know where to begin. There are pros and cons to choosing either path to selling a home, but there is also a middle of the road solution that can help protect your rights.
Do You Need a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home?
First, there is no requirement by law that you must have a real estate agent to sell or buy a home in Maryland. There are pros and cons to signing a contract with an agent. The biggest benefit is that you will receive the expertise of a real estate professional, including access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which can give your home more exposure.
The downside to using a real estate agent is that you are going to pay your agent a significant percentage of the sales price (about 5%-7%) at the closing. So, if your home sells for $350,000, your agent fee could be as high as $24,500. For this reason alone, many homebuyers are now opting to sell their homes themselves and enlist the services of a real estate attorney.
How to Sell Your Home by Yourself
If you plan to sell your home without a real estate agent, this is called For Sale by Owner (FSBO). Depending on your market and the features of your home, this might be more work than you’re willing to take on or it could be a fun challenge. Some of the tasks that you’ll need to handle include:
- Studying the local market and values of comparable homes
- Determining an appropriate listing price for your home
- Deciding what you will repair and improve (if anything) in advance of listing your home for sale
- Creating presentation and advertising materials to market your home
- Completing the appropriate disclosure documents for the home
- Placing ads online or in the local newspaper to attract buyers
- Arranging for interested parties to visit and view your home
- Answering questions of potential visitors and their real estate agents
- Potentially scheduling and holding one or more open houses
- Receiving, considering, and negotiating offers
- Navigating any issues that lead up to closing
A Real Estate Attorney’s Role in Selling Your Home
The above list seems like a lot of work – and it is! While most of this will need to be handled by the seller if they are not using an agent, an experienced real estate attorney can provide some valuable services along the way as well as prevent future problems.
Ideally, you will speak with a real estate attorney at the start of this process, since selling a home involves a series of legal forms and agreements. Your real estate attorney can assist with several vital tasks, including:
- Review your home disclosure forms
- Prepare and review all legal documents, including the Agreement of Purchase and Sale
- Negotiate the terms and conditions associated with the sale to safeguard your interests
- Prepare the deed for your home
- Check that the buyer has secured title insurance
- Deal with any special issues that arise between contract and closing
- Ensure all legal requirements are met for a successful closing
- Prepare the statement of financial adjustments
- Represent your interests at closing
Speak with a Qualified Maryland Real Estate Attorney
In a seller’s market, it might make sense to sell your own home, but there is still a lot of work involved. Even if you have a real estate working for you, there may be some legal issues that you’d like reviewed. In both cases, an experienced Maryland real estate attorney can be an invaluable resource.
The Evans Law is a full-service real estate firm that can help you with all of your real estate needs. Contact our Annapolis office now at 410-626-6009 or reach us online to schedule a consultation.