FAQ’s on FSBO Transactions

Please see the answers below to some commonly asked questions related to FSBO transactions.

Can’t I just use the standard forms off the internet?

Although standard real estate forms are available from websites, such as the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors (www.kcrar.org), these forms do not come with an explanation of the various terms or when certain disclosures are required. For most people, the sale or purchase of a home is one of the largest transactions they will ever be a party to. With so much money at stake, it is important to ensure that all the paperwork is completed correctly and that the buyer and seller are protected from future liability. An experienced real estate attorney can ensure the property ownership is properly transferred and/or help address issues that arise during the closing process.

Do I need title insurance?

If the buyer is paying in cash or the seller is providing financing, title insurance is not required to complete the transaction. However, it is strongly recommended that title insurance is a part of every real estate transaction. Title insurance protects the buyer (and mortgage company, if applicable) in the event another party claims an ownership interest in part or all of the property. We have experience working with many of the title insurance agencies in the area and can provide recommendations if needed.

Isn’t a real estate attorney expensive?

Especially when comparing the costs to that of a real estate agent, an experienced real estate attorney is rather inexpensive. For Sale by Owner packages start at only a few hundred dollars or less than half a percent of the purchase price for a $100,000 home. The standard real estate agent’s commission on that same home would be $6,000 or over 10 times the cost of hiring an experienced Real Estate Attorney to draft a contract.

What is the process and when do I contact the attorney?

If you are just beginning the process of looking for or selling your home without a real estate agent, click here to request a copy of our FSBO Resource Guide, which includes an outline of the FSBO Process, Sample Forms (Seller Disclosure, Lead Based Paint Disclosure, and Letter of Intent), and several articles from our website and other websites on issues related to a for sale by owner transaction. This is a free resource and by providing your information now, we are able to move quickly when you are ready to have a contract drafted for your transaction.

If you have already identified a home or buyer and are ready to have a contract drafted, you can click here to send us the information we need to start drafting the contract. If you have already pre-registered with our office by completing the form above, we can have the contract drafted within one business day. If you have not pre-registered, our standard processing time is two-business days for a basic real estate contract.

In order to minimize the risk of either party walking away while our office drafts the contracts, you can execute a “Letter of Intent” that can be used when someone is viewing your home and wants to make an offer. The Letter of Intent is not the purchase contract, but it can be used to memorialize some basic terms while the contract is being drafted and to create a an obligation on the parties to continue to negotiate the sale in good faith until such time as the final contract is signed by both parties.

Once the contract is drafted, the transaction can go one of two ways. If you are using a title company for the closing, I will forward the signed contract to the title company and the buyer should promptly deliver a certified check for the escrow deposit to the title company. From there, the title company will take over drafting of the necessary paperwork and I will either step out of the transaction or can continue to work as a liaison with the title company, including reviewing the title paperwork prior to your closing.

If we will be performing your closing (e.g. it is a cash sale or seller financing), we will prepare the paperwork necessary to effectuate the transfer of the property. We will then schedule a closing date and coordinate the execution of all the various documents by the parties. Once the paperwork is signed, we will record it with the county to ensure the proper transfer of title to the property.

About the author

Rick Davis is an attorney with Levy Craig Law Firm in Kansas City Missouri. Mr. Davis' practice focuses primarily on the areas of real estate and construction law and he regularly represents parties in all facets of the real estate industry. His past and current clients include real estate investors, developers, brokers and agents, contractors, homeowners, lenders, and others in the real estate industry. He serves clients in both Kansas and Missouri. Mr. Davis is a member of the Kansas Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, the American Bar Foundation, the American Bar Association Real Property Trust and Estate Law Section, and the Construction Lawyer Society of America. He graduated with his B.G.S. degree from the University of Kansas and earned his J.D. degree from Washburn University School of Law. Rick has received numerous awards, including an Martindale-Hubbel AV peer rating (the highest available) and being selected as a fellow to the American Bar Foundation. This webpage is a personal page hosted by Rick Davis and is not associated with the Levy Craig Law Firm.