You’ve decided to buy your dream house. There’s one slight snag: it’s for sale by owner, and you have no idea how that works.

No rule says you must buy or sell your house through a licensed real estate agent. However, many factors make “removing the middleman” a difficult prospect.

Buyers beware

The purchase of a home is one of the most significant purchases anyone ever makes in their lives. You do not want to make a mistake in this purchase, either by not following regulations or finding out later that the house is unacceptable. The seller might seem straightforward and honest, but that is no reason not to take legal steps to protect yourself.

Sellers, also, beware

You get to choose when, how and to whom to sell your house. You may trust the buy implicitly. The buyers could even be family. Leave aside the real estate law considerations, when a large amount of money comes into any situation, trust may not be enough.

What a lawyer will do to protect the trust in sale-by-owner transactions

First of all, every sales agreement is a contract. It’s a great practice to have a sales agreement reviewed by a lawyer, even if you’ve used a real estate agent. It’s doubly important in a homeowner-led sale.

Real estate attorneys may also assist clients with title searches, financing and negotiations for pre-sale conditions. And if you’re willing to shoulder the burden of the legwork on your home purchase or sale, paying an attorney to ensure that the sale is done by the book can be much less expensive than a real estate agent commission.

Get the right help at the right time

A home purchase is a business transaction, but it’s also one that demands both parties can trust each other. Securing that trust with the assistance of an attorney is the best way to put all the “bewares” behind you.