Sell Home Using Lawyer – Not an Agent
Sell Home using Lawyer Instead of Real Estate Agent and save $30,000 to $90,000 or more!
No law requires you to hire a real estate agent when you sell a house or buy a house. Instead of using a real estate agent whose commission can deplete up to 6% of the home’s sales price, sell home using lawyer assistance.
My service makes sense if you have a buyer lined up. On the other hand, if you are BUYING a home from a FSBO SELLER, my services might also be the perfect solution. In the transaction I will be YOUR lawyer to protect YOUR interests. I am there to advise you, assist you with offers, reviewing seller disclosures, contracts, and all necessary legal advice. My affordable fees are less than the commission of a real estate agent.
This is the age of Zillow, Trulia, Airbnb, Lyft, Uber, and Netflix cord cutters – people getting what they want, when they want, and at their price point! These days, home sellers and home buyers can hire a good Real Estate Lawyer/Broker, a good property inspector, an appraiser if they haven’t already determined their home value, and apply online for a quick mortgage approval. Sell home using lawyer instead of an agent to save considerable cash and preserve your equity.
Save $30,000 to $90,000 – Sell Home Using Lawyer
For Sale By Owner – Selling a house without a real estate agent is called a FSBO (pronounced “fizzbo”). If you sell your home yourself without using a real estate agent, you can save $30,000 to $90,000 (or more) on a commission given expensive Southern California and particularly-pricey Orange County real estate.
My ‘For Sale By Owner Service’ – is for California property owners who –typically– already have their buyer in mind, know what their property is worth, and don’t require marketing assistance. The sale can involve land, commercial, residential, retail, or industrial property.
Most of my clients use my FSBO services to sell their primary home, their inherited home or a rental or investment home. Most property owners who sell home using lawyer assistance already have an interested buyer. With a buyer in hand, hiring me can save you tens-of-thousands of dollars by eliminating the real estate agent’s commission. If you are typical of my FSBO clients, your buyer might be a neighbor, a long-term tenant who has been renting your property, a friend, co-worker, relative or family member.
Hopefully you are dialed-in to the local market and your homes’ value. These days with Zillow, Zestimate, Trulia, a plethora of competent real estate appraisers, sellers either know or soon learn the true value of their home. If you are not confident of the value of your home, and still want to save money doing a FSBO, please hire one or more appraisers to so you don’t end up selling your home for less than it’s worth. Home appraisals in Orange County, Los Angeles or anywhere in Southern California are quite affordable and very accurate.
“You can buy or sell a home using lawyer help without an agent. I did it twice now.” —Gene
Real Estate Attorney –OR– Real Estate Agent?
The process of selling or buying your home is quite complex. Many states1 require buyers and sellers to use a licensed Real Estate attorney to close a sale. Western states, like California, have allowed buyers and sellers to used licensed real estate agents who are overseen by a DRE licensed Real Estate Broker without a mandatory real estate attorney. In California, having a real estate attorney representing YOUR interests is recommended but optional.
Real Estate Agents and their Brokers2 CANNOT offer LEGAL ADVICE. By law. They are always informing their clients verbally and in writing that they are NOT lawyers, and suggest to their clients to involve a real estate lawyer if they have ANY QUESTIONS about ANY part of the process: the listing agreement, the purchase and sales agreement, offers, counter offers, financing, mortgages, how to hold title, easements, disclaimers, title insurance, etc. Tragically, sellers and buyers sign numerous legal, binding, contracts they really do not understand clearly.
I am BOTH a licensed Real Estate attorney AND a DRE-Licensed Real Estate Broker!
For more than 30-years…
I offer my clients the best of BOTH professions while saving my clients tens of thousands $$$ of dollars per transaction. Realtors, as expensive as they can be, do offer a value if you have not already located the home you want to buy privately, or have a buyer lined-up to purchase your home (FSBO). Their value includes helping you come up with your home’s listing price, their marketing resources, holding open houses, etc.
My services do NOT include marketing. My clients typically already have a buyer for their home and do not require any sales or marketing help. Other clients of mine, want to privately purchase a property from a seller who understands the potential savings possible to BOTH parties by eliminating a real estate sales commission by selling FSBO.
Value of a Real Estate Attorney on Your Team
There are numerous reasons why you should sell home using lawyer assistance. You are in California where non-attorney real estate sales agents can assist you in the purchase or sale of your home, but even their literature advises you to involve a real estate lawyer!
A real estate lawyer represents ONLY YOUR interest in a transaction that –for most people– is one of the largest financial transactions in their entire lifetime. An agent often balances many ‘interests’. A sales agent certainly has their own self-interest in mind. Most agents desperately strive to close a sale resulting in getting a commission. Closing a sale is not always in the buyer or seller’s interest. Logically, a real estate agent wants the largest possible commission for themselves and their broker-boss. Many of my clients report that their agent suggest making a “Strong Offer”. While a ‘strong offer’ might rush a home into escrow, is it always the smartest move and in the client’s best interest?
Most real estate agents are constantly striving against their own associates to become the biggest ‘mover of property,’ to advance to the next “$10-100 million-dollar sales club” or other career-making achievement. We applaud that there are amazing local agents who work very hard and become local stars in their neighborhoods. Kudos. Sincerely. On the other hand, many of my clients know exactly what they want, and want to preserve their cash, equity and capital by avoiding real estate commissions in an evolving DIY real estate landscape paved by the power of online resources.
NOTE: As YOUR real estate lawyer I only represent YOU and YOUR interests. Period.
“You and your real estate lawyer are the only people with your best interests in mind. Not the agent, the other agent, either broker, the escrow officer; NONE. The only advice you will hear from your agent is ‘we have to move fast’ and ‘we have to make a strong offer’.”
BUYING Home from a ‘For Sale By Owner’ SELLER
If you are buying a home or other property from a ‘For Sale By Owner’ seller – Please CALL me.
Call me ANYTIME – 24/7 (714) 395-5605
If the FSBO seller is using some low-cost service to handle all the paperwork — THAT might make it even more critical for you to call me! For FSBO (For Sale By Owner) purchases of any kind of property, you as the buyer should have a lawyer prepare (or at least review) all documents. If you haven’t already made a written offer, you will need to. Many lawsuits are filed in Southern California weekly resulting from the fallout of poorly drafted offers and counter-offers!
Times Are Changing in Real Estate Transactions
Like Amazon turning shopping malls into cavernous ghost towns.. For most people with some smarts in their local real estate market, it is easy to do your own searching, value assessment, and mortgage pre-qualification when searching for a home to buy (or sell). Many people simply do not need a real estate agent anymore. But you will require legal services. Fortunately, a skilled real estate attorney / no-commission broker costs far less than any commission. You can save a pile of money while getting better service. Personalized service that has YOUR interests (and no one else’s) clearly in-focus!
“You don’t need an agent to buy a home. I bought my first home without an agent and then sold it myself. I just purchased my 2nd home without an agent or big commission. There’s so many resources these days: Internet… Internet… Internet… Just do your homework.” —Joan
Since 1987 I have worked as a real estate attorney structuring and closing real estate transactions including: (1) residential (2) Investment units (apartments), (3) commercial developments (4) retail and industrial units, (5) land deals, (6) business opportunity transactions, (7) seller-financed transactions, and (8) lease-option deals.
As a three-decades+ experienced real estate attorney I have more tools available to put deals together than an agent. As a DRE Licensed Broker, I have daily comunication and unfettered access to title insurance companies and local MLS resources. Real estate sales agents are legally-restricted to filling out C.A.R. Standard Forms. When there are complexities or you have a significant question, they must advise you to retain the services of an attorney. To do that –on escrow closing day for example– often slows down your transaction.
Deer-in-the-Headlights on Binge-Signing Day
Many real estate buyers and sellers find themselves without any legal advice or counsel throughout the entire real estate purchase/sell transaction. Then… it is ‘escrow closing day’. Binge-Signing Day! You might sit down with a professional “signature gatherer” or at the desk of a busy escrow officer. Either way, if you’re normal, you’ll feel pressured that you should know what you’re doing (even if you don’t) and be feeling pressured to move through the stack of documents quickly.
You will be expected to sign or initial a minimum of 50 to 100 times. If you’ve been there, you remember. You were uncomfortable. Likely, you were not 100% sure of everything you signed. One of the largest purchases or sales of your life? And you were not sure exactly what you were agreeing to… Not good! If you are a buyer and have not purchased a home in the past 10-years, have you purchased a new car recently? That car-buying paperwork storm is just a “taste” of the pile of paperwork awaiting your signatures for a California real estate transaction. The paperwork grows annually! Are you sure you will know what you are signing, contractually agreeing to, and what it all really means?
Most home buyers and sellers on closing day will reluctantly, and often haphazardly, find themselves SIGNING sections on the contracts next to various options that “sound right” simply to expedite the process. Admittedly, the binge-signing day can seem an awkward encounter where ‘professional people’ are standing over you awaiting you to sign and initial literally 50 to 100 or so binding agreements! Being unprepared on ‘signature day’ is uncomfortable to say the least, a legal pit of vipers to state the worst. One wonders if California buyers and sellers of real estate are treated like sheep –expected to make rapid-fire, uninformed choices and sign never-before seen (or studied) contracts in a binge-signing ceremony?
Taking the sheep like, binge-signing approach might turn out to cost you dearly. Just choosing HOW to hold title can affect your ownership position, legal control of your property, right-of-survivorship or sabotage your well-intended inheritance plans. Tax consequences can really cost you, and they are nearly impossible to rectify post grant deed recording. It is far better to ask your questions of proper legal counsel during the purchase or sale process.
EDWIN FAHLEN IS A 30-YEAR+ LICENSED REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY. EDWIN FAHLEN IS ALSO A 30-YEAR+ LICENSED REAL ESTATE BROKER WITH THE CALIFORNIA DRE (DEPARTMENT OF REAL ESTATE). IN ADDITION, ATTORNEY EDWIN FAHLEN MAINTAINS A THRIVING REAL ESTATE LAW PRACTICE IN FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CA. NOTE: FINANCIAL QUESTIONS SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO A CPA OR TAX LAW ATTORNEY. INHERITANCE PLANNING QUESTIONS SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO A PROBATE AND TRUST ATTORNEY.