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Buying and selling property without an agent

| Jan 13, 2020 | Residential Real Estate |

With the rise of the internet, real estate transactions in North Carolina have gotten easier. It is now possible to arrange for a property sale or purchase without a prerequisite need to work through a real estate agent. Although a growing number of buyers and sellers are turning to popular online marketing tools that allow them to take matters into their own hands, the process of a real estate transaction raises certain legal issues. 

As reported by Bankrate.com, solo or unrepresented homebuyers accounted for 13% of the homes sold during 2018. The do-it-yourself method oftentimes results in a quicker closing that also proves profitable because agent and broker fees do not fold into the cost. For many parties, however, a properly drafted contract could help prevent transaction issues from turning into a serious dispute. 

Real estate contract basics 

Drafting a real estate contract to transfer property ownership requires specific terms and conditions to make it legally binding. The document, for example, should contain a precise wording describing what the purchaser is offering to buy. Pertinent details generally include the property’s geographical location, square footage and boundary lines. 

A contract typically details the financial contingencies that a buyer and seller agree to. This includes the property’s price, down payment amount and the mortgage terms that each party accepts. If a seller agrees to hold the mortgage or offers his or her own financing arrangement, the contract must state the conditions. 

Inspections have become an important issue in a purchase and sale agreement. Parties may decide that closing will only occur when a property passes certain physical examinations, such as a termite investigation, foundation inspection or plumbing and HVAC evaluation. A certification by a professional inspector that provides an assessment of a property’s condition may accompany the closing documents. 

Finalizing closing matters 

Before a real estate closing, important legal issues may require clearing, such as liens or other claims against a property. An unrepresented transaction may, in the long run, take more time and require greater documentation to uphold a buyer’s property rights and indemnify a seller.