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Calling a Lawyer Should Be a Private Home Sellers First Move

by: Richard Embro-Pantalony


You are selling your own home because you think you’re up to the task, that it can’t be that difficult? You’re right of course; however you want to make sure you abide by some basic common sense guidelines to help ensure your success. It’s not all about putting a sign on the lawn and an advert in the paper.

Your first step should be calling a lawyer. If you don’t have one you will need to find one. A good bet is to get a referral from friends or family. A lawyer at this stage of your sale will give you all the legal information you need to enter into the sale with a confidence that would be lacking otherwise. Your lawyer can do a title search on your home to make sure it’s free of encumbrances that may only turn up on closing i.e. an encroachment. Do you have an up to date survey? These can be deal killers at the last minute you want to avoid. You’ll need a search done anyway to close your sale.

Lawyers can also advise you on any new by-laws or regulations you should be aware of for your home and area. Every jurisdiction seems to have rules that need to be followed when preparing an offer to purchase form. A lawyer can make sure these special clauses are written into your offer to purchase form. Have your lawyer provide you with copies of the offer to purchase in hard copy format and also on disk so you can print them off your home PC when needed. Ask your lawyer how he would prefer to see your offer set up.

Ask your lawyer to give you any information you will need to make the closing of your sale timely and without any surprises. If there is anything that will hold up or quash your deal you want advance notice so you can take care of the problem now. Count on being charged for your lawyers’ services but it’s the old adage pay me now or pay me later.


Ask your lawyer to give you some insight into your mortgage situation. He can give you details and options based on your current loan that perhaps will help your sale. At the very least the lawyer can give you questions to ask at your lending institution i.e. is your mortgage assumable? If the interest rate and terms are attractive the purchaser may want to assume your current mortgage. All good stuff to know in advance of your sale. Likewise your mortgage may need to be removed so the purchaser can arrange their own financing. What are the ramifications with this, will it be expensive to remove?

When you recruit a real estate agent to help you sell your home, the good ones know all this information in advance. Any information they don’t have that can create problems generally surfaces at closing thanks to the lawyers. Your agent acts in your best interests along with your lawyer to sort out these problems at closing and many issues are usually dealt with to either parties’ satisfaction one way or another.

Not having an agent working for you means your chances of having a problem sometime during the process of trading your real estate is a real probability. The best way to mitigate your chances of potential headaches is to spend the money up front for a legal professional to sort through the landmines before you step on one and your deal disintegrates at the worst possible time. You’ll be investing a great deal of time selling your home. Make sure you are prepared. It is fairly simple to sell your own home. Closing that sale cleanly is another matter entirely.

About The Author

Richard Embro-Pantalony is the President of and author of "How to Sell Your Home Like a Pro". He offers expert advice on selling your home privately and saving agent fees'.


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