We wrote tips in our most recent article for people who want to sell their homes without realtor assistance (see recommendation to always hire a realtor in Part 1 of this article series). In this article, we describe some of the things that a seller can expect in a real estate sale transaction.

If a seller does not use a realtor, the seller should hire a lawyer to prepare the real estate purchase agreement that includes important real estate sale transaction details like the details described in this article. If the buyer is represented by a realtor, the seller should engage a lawyer to examine the buyer’s offer and help the seller write a counteroffer (if the seller chooses to counter the initial offer – it is usually a good idea to submit a counteroffer).

If the seller uses a hires a lawyer to help with a real estate sale, the seller should tell a potential buyer the seller is working with a lawyer, and that the lawyer will prepare a purchase agreement. If the buyer uses a realtor, then the seller should tell the realtor that the seller will consult with a lawyer about the buyer’s offer.

Many variables can exist in a real estate purchase agreement such as these details:

  • the amount of earnest money that a buyer must pay in advance to the seller;
  • what appliances and furnishings will remain in the home for the buyer to enjoy (see the recommendation in Part 1 of this article series about making a list of such items);
  • when the seller must deliver possession of the home to the buyer;
  • whether the buyer can back away from the sale if the buyer cannot obtain adequate bank financing;
  • whether the timing of the sale depends upon the buyer’s ability to sell another piece of property;
  • whether the seller must repair or replace certain broken or defective features of the property;
  • whether the buyer will use a home inspector to inspect the property; and
  • what property defects will excuse the buyer from purchasing the home if an inspection reveals defects.

The seller’s lawyer will:

  • coordinate with the title company and buyer’s lender (and the buyer’s realtor, if the buyer uses a realtor);
  • examine the title insurance commitment and ask the title company to correct any errors that appear in the title insurance commitment;
  • add any details to the warranty deed that the title company may require in the title insurance commitment; and
  • submit the warranty deed and attorney fee invoice directly to the title company so that the title company can use the warranty deed and pay the attorney fee fee as part of the closing costs.

In our next article, Selling an Indiana Home Without a Realtor? (Part 3), we will wind up the series with a discussion of what to expect in real estate closing.

Jeff R. Hawkins and Jennifer J. Hawkins are Trust & Estate Specialty Board Certified Indiana Trust & Estate Lawyers and active members of the Indiana State Bar Association and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Both lawyers are admitted to practice law in Indiana, and Jeff Hawkins is admitted to practice law in Illinois. Jeff is also a registered civil mediator, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the Indiana Bar Foundation;  a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Indiana Association of Mediators; and he was the 2014-15 President of the Indiana State Bar Association.

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