Selling Property Without Attorney

7 Replies

Selling a property that I own free and clear. What do I need in order to sell it without an attorney. The buyer doesn't want to pay for an attorney. What can I do to transfer ownership without an attorney?

You can but you'll have to find yourself a title company. See: Using a title company

I always had an attorney, and my buyers always had an attorney during closings. I don't want to hear after the closing that someone got cheated because he didn't have an attorney.

I once bought from a seller who's a jerk. At the closing, his attorney forgot to deduct from funds due me for heating oil in the tank, value of $160. He took me to small claims.

The first thing the judge asked if we were too cheap to use an attorney which always winds up in small claims. The judge was upset that we even bought the case as it's obviously an attorney oversight.

We told him we both had attorneys. The end result was the case was dismissed, even though the P&S contract allows some errors to survive the closing.

The buyer is too cheap to use an attorney but you're selling your property to them? That's a red flag.

Let the buyer do whatever they want but YOU should use an attorney or an agent and protect yourself.

The cost of Deed prep is likely your responsibility anyway. 

Closing without a title company or attorney isn't smart. Any money "saved" is sometimes recovered later in a lawsuit.

@Tommy Reed I agree with the others.  Trying to save a few hundred or even several hundred on an attorney's fees is penny wise and pound foolish.

The best outcome is that you can save some money.  

The worst outcome is that your deal goes sideways and you end up in court because you missed something in the P&S. Legal fees and damages can outweigh whatever you "saved" by far.

A good real estate attorney is cheap insurance.

Typically 3 ways you can close (from buyer perspective): 

1) Go to Office depot and print out a warranty deed ($10 dollars i think). Fill out the doc and meet seller at a bank to sign and notary. Then go to local court house and file ($25-$35). Easiest for seller and worst for buyer (riskiest)

2) Go to a title company to pull title and check ownership ($150-$300) and then follow step 1 above. About 7 days wait to pull title and very less risk for buyer. 

3) Go to a title company and go through the whole process. Buyer gets peace in mind due to Title Insurance 

I have done all 3.... :) 

All good insights.  You get what you pay for.  It very well may work out, but it’s about quantifying risk.  It’s not all that dissimilar to driving without a seatbelt.  Most times, you’re fine.  But that one time - that’s the time you’ll have wished you would have just followed everyone’s advice.  

Something to note: It's best to choose a title company that is run by an attorney, not all are. They are still not your attorney looking out after your interests. My lesson learned was to have an attorney represent my side of the transaction. Once I sold to a friend and used one attorney for the deal, it came back to bite me because the attorney neglected to be sure all the bases where covered to protect me.

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