Closing the For Sale By Owner Deal

Once the buyer signs the sales contract, you might feel the urge to relax.  Don’t sit back and kick your feet up just yet.  Your work is not complete just yet.  The buyer can still back out of the deal if certain things go wrong in these last steps of the for sale by owner process.  Buyers tend to get cold feet at this point.  They see other for sale by owner homes they like for a lower price.  You have to take steps to make sure the buyer doesn’t back out of the deal.

After the for sale by owner sales contract has been signed, the buyer’s lender will have an appraisal done to ensure that the borrower isn’t asking for more money than your home is actually worth.  The lender will not provide a loan if the home is appraised for less than the sale price.  You can avoid this by having your own appraisal done when you are setting your price in the for sale by owner process.  Alternatively, you can make sure that your price is comparable to that of similar homes sold in your neighborhood.

The lender might have your for sale by owner land surveyed to establish the property boundaries.  In most cases, this doesn’t present a problem.  If your for sale by owner property has not been surveyed in the last 50 years, has recently been subdivided between other people, or has a boundary that changes like a creek, then you should pay attention during this part of the process.

The buyer might have his own inspections done as allowed by the sales contract.  These inspections are done at the buyer’s expense and include termite, roof, and general inspection.  Be available during the inspection.  Ask questions about anything you do not understand.  If you so choose, you can have your own inspection completed.  It could prove helpful if you need to dispute a report, but is not necessary.  Your primary concern should be to fix problems and keep the buyer from backing out of the for sale by owner contract.

You should notify your lender that you will be paying off the balance of your mortgage and ask for a statement of your balance.  Collect appliance instruction books and warranty information to give to the buyer.  Finally, when you know the closing date, you should notify service providers like electricity, water, cable, and trash of your final billing date.

The for sale by owner closing date will be about 30 to 45 days from the date the sales contract is signed.  Depending on your state, your real estate attorney might handle the closing.  Alternatively, the lender’s attorney might handle it and your attorney will act as your representative.

At the for sale by owner closing, the settlement statement is reviewed.  This statement details the money received.  This includes: the lender’s check for the mortgage amount, buyer’s down payment, and the buyer’s earnest money deposit.  The settlement statement also includes money that must be paid out: balance on the seller’s current mortgage, real estate agent fees (if applicable), and closing costs.  Finally, the statement will detail the amount you get to keep.

The title to the house is then transferred to the buyer and the process is complete.  Your hard work has paid off.