What's the cheapest way to close a cash sale?

10 Replies

We're buying 6 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to our primary residence, creating a privacy buffer for now, but with an eye to developing it down the road. We're buying with cash directly from the seller without a Realtor involved, and we have a good enough relationship with him that he'll close however we chose.

So in Washington State, what's the cheapest way to close? Any insight will be greatly appreciated.

I understood the question, but I'm not sure what it is you're asking? The only way to save money that I know of is just to call several different escrow companies (or whatever is customary in WA) and ask what their fees are to close a transaction. Some of the fees will be fixed like government charges, others will be their own fee schedule that vary between companies.

@Matt Devincenzo That is what I was thinking, but I thought if there was some trick that the wise ones on BP knew about it would be worth exploring. Thanks for responding, much appreciated!

@Eric Belgau  Did you ever go through with this? We have been closing our own purchases of land. I want to see what you found out. We work in Eastern Washington.

We realized we were paying for $400-800 for escrow on a piece of land that we are only paying a couple thousand for.

We did a few at the bank with a notary. Prepared our own documents.
Since we are buying the parcel and selling the parcel so quickly the title insurance document is only a month or two old. Doing that we have to prepare for the slim possibility that there will be a title issue and we will have to take the property back.

I do not recommend preparing your own transfer documents. In some states, if the margin on the Warranty Deed is not correct, the whole document and transaction is in jeopardy. I find that title companies can complete the paperwork and it is much cheaper than hiring your personal attorney. 

Whether it's recommended or not is another question, but you can draw up your own deed, do your own closing, and record the deed yourself.  For that matter, I know of no law (in my state at least) that says that you must record the deed.  Not legal advice.

@Franco Vallejos  We did end up preparing our own documents.  It was my first time doing it, but the transaction took long enough that I had become friendly with the seller.  That made it easier.  We found a very helpful person at the title company and a very helpful person at the county.  All in, including title insurance, it cost just less than $300.  

@Brian Gibbons  if you do not record the deed, how would you be able to maintain the chain of title. Imagine if you are dealing with who you see as the most recent owner of record only to find out that someone has a signed unrecorded deed showing that he or she is really the owner. Could you see what kind of mess we would have?

Though my research does not indicated that a person is required to register the deed, I so no reason why you wouldn't want to register an honest transaction.

@Simon Campbell  I simply mean that I know of nothing that requires one to register a deed.  And one could possibly avoid some recording fees and transfer taxes by not recording the deed.

I could be totally wrong about this, but I believe that a properly executed deed conveys legal title whether it is recorded or not.  Again, that doesn't mean that I would advise anyone to not record a deed, but back to the OP, it would possibly save some money.

When we went to register the deed, there was an issue with how the property description fit on the page.  (Like an earnest collegiate note-taker, it had violated the margin!)  The woman at the County told us that it wouldn't work and explained how to correct it.  So we did.

In Thurston County we're blessed in a lot of ways...and one of them is that something of a small-town mentality still persists.  So we were able to figure it out, even though we made some mistakes; and we end up with a recorded, valid deed and title insurance.  We did pay for the title search, and there was an issue that had to be remedied.  

I bought this parcel as a privacy buffer.  It's a hill with woods on it, and if I put a yurt at the top of it I'll have a nice little camping spot with a Mt. Rainier view a short hike from my front door.  If I was doing it as an investment, or buying a lot of them, I'd probably figure that my time was worth more than the added cost of paying the escrow fees.  In this case, I got to feel like I was stickin' it to the man by not paying someone a bunch of money to hold a check for thirty seconds...and I learned something.

@Bryan L.  Possibly a dumb question, but if you don't record the deed, how does the County know who to send the property tax bill to?  

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