Maryland For Sale By Owner Attorney

When selling your home you have the option of working with a Licensed Real Estate Agent or to try to go it alone.  Some people choose to sell their house on their own, which is commonly referred to as “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO). Choosing the FSBO route affords you a few advantages, but it is important that you understand the steps involved so you don’t end up selling your home for less than its worth.

Establishing a Competitive Selling Price is Crucial

Before you start advertising your home for sale, you must price it competitively for your market. The best way to come up with a price that buyers will accept is to check real estate listings online or in the newspaper to see the recent selling prices of homes in your neighborhood. These “comparable” homes and listing prices are referred to as “comps”.  Realtors typically recommend setting the price 5 to 10 percent above the going rate to end up with an offer close to the true value of your home. The best way to price your home accurately is to have it professionally appraised.

Advertising Your Home for Sale

It’s common for FSBO sellers to work with a company (typically they are web-based) that caters to people desiring to sell their home on their own. The advantage of working with one of these companies is you can create a listing and upload photos on the company’s website to broaden your pool of prospective buyers beyond your local area. These websites also provide numerous resources to help you achieve FSBO success. Be sure to remove clutter before you snap any photos.  Also, review other advertisements for comps in your area so you can best position your ad for success.

No matter where you list your ad, it needs to be descriptive and to the point. Only include necessary information such as the number of bathrooms and square footage. Remember that buyers scan ads quickly and don’t have time to read too many details or hyped sales jargon. Try reading several online and newspaper ads yourself to discover a style that you like.

Placing a yard sign will help attract attention from people walking or driving by your home. Just make sure that your sign looks professional and the telephone number is prominent. Scheduling open houses at regular intervals is another way to bring potential buyers to your home. Since people aren’t going to remember everything you say, consider creating a one-page handout with bullet points of the home’s features as well as a clear color photo.

Contact Our Real Estate Legal Firm to Finalize the Transaction

Once you receive an offer from a buyer, it’s a good idea to work with an experienced real estate lawyer to finalize the sale. An attorney from The Law Offices of Matthew S. Evans, III LLC will protect your interests throughout the duration of the transaction. This includes:

  • Assistance with evaluating complicated offers such as those that come with numerous conditions placed on you as the seller
  • Serve as your escrow agent to hold the down payment
  • Review all contracts
  • Evaluate leases with option to buy and complex mortgage situations
  • Accompany you to the home closing
  • Advise you what you must disclose to a buyer by law prior to a sale
  • Prevent you from unintentionally discriminating against a buyer

People who decide to go the FSBO route typically have no problem with setting a selling price, advertising their home, preparing their home for viewing, and negotiating with buyers. It is usually the legal elements involved in selling a home without a realtor that can be problematic for them. It’s especially important for you to work with one of our real estate lawyers if you have never sold a home on your own before. Not only will you receive a fair selling price, you can relax knowing the entire transaction is legal.

Considerations When Buying a House Directly from the Owner

In the early part of the process, buying a home directly from a seller is the same as going through a real estate agent. You will want to evaluate your budget and determine how much you can afford first. Once you have a price range in mind, we recommend requesting your credit report. You can obtain your credit report free of charge once a year from all three major reporting agencies. The benefit of doing this is that you can review the file for accuracy and request corrections of any errors before going forward with the home buying process. It’s also good to know your credit score.

The next step is to apply for mortgage pre-approval. If you have an existing relationship with a bank that offers mortgage loans, that is the best place to start. You will need the following documentation to prove your income:

  • Your last two paystubs
  • Your last two tax returns if self-employed
  • Statements from your checking and savings accounts

You’re ready to start shopping for homes once you have received pre-approval. When you find one that interests you, contact the seller directly to arrange a showing. You may also want to request a valuation report to compare the asking price of the home you’re interested in to other homes that recently sold in the area.

Hire Us to Help You Close the Deal

The negotiation process can be challenging, especially when you have not worked with a home seller directly in the past. A real estate attorney from The Law Offices of Matthew S. Evans III LLC can assist you with this process to ensure that you don’t pay more than necessary for your new home. We will also help you understand real estate ordinances in place in Maryland and Washington, D.C. that affect your sale. It is also essential that you understand disclosure laws and taxes that apply to your transaction.

If the seller accepts your offer, you need to lock in your mortgage rate with your lender and have the home inspected. You don’t have to go through with the sale as is if the inspection doesn’t meet with your satisfaction. You can re-negotiate the price, request the seller repair certain things, or back out of the deal altogether. As our client, we will advise you of the most logical steps to take after receiving the home inspection report.

Whether you’re a FSBO seller or buyer, our experienced team is ready to help you today.  Contact our office today at (410) 626-6009 or use our online contact form.

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