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    Do You Need a Closing Agent for Your For Sale By Owner?

    After reading through the expert tips in MilitaryByOwner’s For Sale By Owner (FSBO) resources, I feel like my spouse and I have a solid framework to sell our home on our own.

    As we wait for an offer on our property, I’m preparing ahead of time for the closing transaction. I’ve learned that military home sellers like us often wonder if they should hire real estate professionals such as an attorney or closing agent for their FSBO.  

    Are you in the same boat? Let's discuss the importance of having a closing agent when planning your for sale by owner.

    home seller and closing agent discussing business

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    What is a closing agent?

    Also called an “escrow agent” or “settlement agent,” a closing agent is an impartial entity present for the final details of a real estate transaction. The closing agent can be a real estate attorney, a title company, or an escrow agent. It depends on the state’s real estate laws. 

    New to the FSBO game? Read For Sale By Owner Basics to learn what you need to know.

    What does a closing agent do? 

    Bankrate defines a closing agent as a representative who “conducts the settlement meeting and makes sure that all documents are signed and recorded and that closing fees and escrow payments are paid and properly distributed.”

    In other words, closing agents run the title search and ensure you have dotted the i’s and crossed all the t’s in the paperwork required by the state to avoid a delay on closing day. Business people discussion with table and laptop

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    Why should you hire a closing agent?

    We’ve researched the rules and requirements and have a working knowledge of the FSBO process. We’ve also created our contract, and our house is ready for a sale. This has us asking, 

    “Do we really need the presence of a closing agent?”

    In some cases, yes. A home seller needs to involve a representative from the title company to transfer the title from the seller to the buyer. Additionally, in certain states, it’s a legal requirement to have a real estate attorney acting as the closing agent or working alongside a closing agent.

    Which states specify who needs to be present at the closing transaction?

    Who is in attendance depends on your the state where you own your property. Some places around the U.S. have particular rules about who should attend the closing transaction. In some states, it’s a legal requirement to have the services of a real estate attorney.

    Take a look at the requirements of a few states with significant military populations.   

    • California, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Virginia: Real estate attorneys are not required, but a real estate professional may advise you to use one. 
    • Georgia: Georgia requires a licensed attorney to conduct real estate closings and “be in control of the closing process from beginning to end.”

    Of course, these rules could vary from year to year as each state changes its legislation. If our state requires legal representation, we’ll comply with the law and invite a lawyer to our closing. 

    Knowledge is power. Avoid These 3 "For Sale By Owner" Mistakes.

    Attorney speaking with clients

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    Who does the closing attorney represent? 

    As outlined in our free resource, Answers to Your For Sale by Owner FAQs (grab yours below!), the real estate attorney does not represent you specifically. Instead, the attorney represents the entire real estate transaction, so they are making sure that every actor in the transaction is fulfilling their respective obligations to include the buyer, seller, and escrow agent.

    If you're following the For Sale By Owner path like we are and selling your home in a state where it’s not crucial to have an attorney at the closing table, you can simply have the presence of a closing agent. 

    They will act as a neutral third party to collect the funds and documents involved. Review our business directory to find a real estate attorney who will fit your needs.  

    For more detailed information on this and other FSBO topics, download our free resouce below that we've put together to address these questions!  

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    Do you need a closing agent for your FSBO

    Mary Ann Eckberg


    Mary Ann Eckberg

    Originally from Nebraska, Mary Ann Eckberg is a writer, a dreamer, an animal rescue softie, a laundry ninja, a football fanatic, and a cupcake connoisseur. Honored to be a military spouse, Mary Ann collects good friends and good memories at every assignment.

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