Selling Your Home With or Without a Real Estate Agent
Selling your home is a big undertaking. It is not as simple as posting a classified ad online and waiting for someone to show up at your door with a check. That is why many people choose to sell their home through a real estate agent—a licensed professional who assumes the responsibility of locating a buyer and in many cases negotiating a sales contract.
The downside to using a real estate agent is that they are typically paid on commission. That is, they receive a fixed percentage of sales prices, usually around 5 or 6 percent. If you have not built up much equity in your home, such a commission might wipe out any profit you expect to receive.
Do You Actually Need a Real Estate Broker?
Legally speaking, you do not have to sell your home through a real estate broker. Florida law licenses and regulates brokers, but the state does not require any buyer or seller to use one. You always have the right to sell your home on your own. But keep in mind, any prospective buyer may choose to use a real estate agent, and that buyer may request you pay his or her agent’s commission as part of the sale.
What Must a Seller Tell a Prospective Buyer?
If you do list your home as “For Sale By Owner,” you need to be aware of certain legal obligations. Florida law requires any home seller to disclose any facts or conditions about the property that might negatively impact its value or livability. While you are not liable for failing to disclose facts that you were not aware of, you must take care that any potential buyer is aware of those problems you do know about. For example, if there are any court proceedings against your property (i.e., a foreclosure action), that must be disclosed. Other issues requiring disclosure may include whether your property is subject to the rules of a condominium or homeowners’ association, if there are any termite infestations, whether there are or have been any sinkholes on the property, and any major problems with any system in the house, such as electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, or kitchen appliances.
A Real Estate Attorney Can Still Help You
Even if you do not wish to use a broker to sell your house, you should still strongly consider hiring an experienced St. Petersburg real estate closing attorney. A real estate attorney can assist you with the final steps of executing and completing a sales contract once you have identified a buyer. Beyond the sales contract itself there are a number of legal formalities that must be observed, such as conducting a title search and preparing a deed formally transferring the property from the seller to the buyer. A closing attorney can assist you with all of these matters. And unlike a broker, an attorney does not work on commission, but rather charges an hourly rate or a flat-fee for his or her services.
If you live in or around St. Petersburg and need the assistance of an attorney with a closing or any other real estate matter, contact the offices of Carnal & Mansfield, P.A., today.