Can a buyer represent himself when he purchases real estate from a FSBO or from a listing agent? Yes, but there are traps for the unwary, a few documents that are required by law and some documents that can protect you from calamity.
Buying real estate used to be a matter of a few pages signed by the parties and a simple closing in a real estate office. It’s not so easy anymore. In the State of Washington here is a short list of the kinds of documents used in a typical real estate transaction. Each document has its appropriate use and timing, and each document must be the latest revision, and they are revised regularly to comply with new law and new court rulings.
- Law of Real Estate Agency Pamphlet
- Lead Paint Hazards Pamphlet
- Mold, Moisture, and Your Home
- Seller Disclosure Statement-Improved Property
- Seller Disclosure Statement-Unimproved Property
- Multi-Family Purchase and Sale Agr.
- Residential Purchase and Sale Agr.
- Financing Addendum
- Financing Contingency Notice
- Buyer’s Sale of Property Contingency Addendum
- Payment Terms Addendum
- Optional Clauses Addendum
- FIRPTA Certificate
- For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection
- For Sale By Owner Addendum
- Snohomish County “Right to Farm” Discl. St.
- Snohomish County “Right to Practice Forestry” Discl. St.
- Disclosure of Info. on Lead-Based Paint and Hazards
- Identification of Utilities Addendum
- King County Addendum
- Land and Acreage Addendum
- Promissory Note (Fixed Rate of Interest)
- San Juan County Tax Addendum
- Seller Warranty-No Foreclosure Sale Pending Add.
- Island County Addendum
- Skagit County “Right to Farm” Disclosure
- Buyer’s Pending Sale of Property Contingency
- Well Addendum
- Septic Addendum
- Short Sale Addendum
- Title Contingency Addendum
- King County Seller’ Notices of OSS
- Kitsap County Septic Addendum
- King County Buyer’s Declaration of OSS Receipt
- Homeowner Insurance Addendum
- Island County Noise Disclosure
- Pierce County Septic Addendum
- Oak Harbor Noise Disclosure
- Kittitas County Surface Water Rights Addendum
- Extension of Closing Date Addendum
- Kittitas County Right To Farm Discl. St.
- Snohomish County Smoke Detector Certification
- Open Space Addendum
- Manufactured Home PSA
- Vacant Land Purchase & Sale Agr.
- Presale Addendum
- Presale Addendum – Optional Clause
- Condominium Resale Certificate
- Condominium Purchase & Sale Agr.
- Condominium New Construction/Conversion Addendum
- Earnest Money Promissory Note
- Assignment of Buyer’s Interest
- Cooperative Apartment Addendum
- General Addendum
- Inspection Addendum
- Inspection Response for Form 35
- Escalation Addendum
- Feasibility Contingency
- Neighborhood Review Contingency
- Pre-Inspection Agreement
- Counter-Offer (Addendum)
- Withdrawal of Offer or Counteroffer
- King County On-Site Sewage System Discl.
- Back-Up Addendum to Purchase & Sale Agreement
- Notice to Back-Up Buyer that First Sale has Failed
- Second Buyer’s Addendum
- Commission Disbursement Form
- Buyer’s Agency Agreement
- Buyer’s Agreement No Agency
- Selling Broker’s Commission
- Agency Disclosure
- Reservation Agreement
- Notice to Remove Contingency (â€œBump Noticeâ€)
- Notice from Contingent Buyer to Seller (â€œBump Replyâ€)
- Authorization to Disburse Earnest Money
- Rescission of Purchase and Sale Agreement
- Conditional Release of Listing
- Rental Agr. (Occupancy Prior to Closing)
- Rental Agreement (After Closing)
- Lease/Rental Agreement (Residential)
- Move-In/Move-Out Inspection Agr.
- Pet Agreement
- Option to Buy Real Estate
- Homeowner’s Policy of Title Insurance
- Receipt for Earnest Money
- Blank Notice
- Notice of Rescission of Agreement Pursuant to Form 17
- Notice of Termination of Agreement for Failure to Pay Earnest Money
- Failure to Close-Notice of Termination by Buyer
- Failure to Close-Notice of Termination by Seller-Seller Keep Earn. Money
- Failure to Close-Notice of Termination by Seller-Seller to Elect Remedies
- Buyer’s Notice of Waiver of Financing Contingency
- Buyer’s Notice of Termination (Financing Unavailable)
- Buyer’s Notice of appraisal Less Than Purchase Price-Termination
- Seller’s Notice of Consent-Second Contingent Sale
- Seller’s Notice of Consent-Delayed Closing
- Notice of Termination Pursuant to Neighborhood Review (Form 35)
- Notice of Termination (Disapproval of Park Rules and Regs-Form 23)
- Notice of Termination-(Unable to Assume Lease – Form 23)
- Notice of Termination (Feasibility Contingency Disapproval-Form 25)
- Notice of Termination (Public Offering Statement Disapproved-Form 28)
- Notice of Termination (Resale Certificate Unacceptable-Form 28)
- Seller’s Notice that Title Commitment is Available
- Buyer’s Notice of Termination (Homeowner Insurance is Unavailable)
- Buyer’s Pending Sale Contingency Notice
I have always been a strong advocate of using a professional, in every profession, but here it is especially important that a buyer know when and how to use these documents. And drafting unambiguous language in each of these primary documents and addendums is critical to avoid disputes and even a transaction that fails because of poor drafting.
More than ever, buyers are wise to use exclusive buyer’s agents to represent them. When I represent a buyer, I cost them nothing, because the seller pays my commission. There is absolutely no conflict of interest, because I don’t worry about getting my buyer the lowest price while trying to get my seller the highest price at the same time!
Last Updated on November 17, 2008 by Chuck Marunde
It was such a boring Thursday today and I found your site about Documents Does a Buyer Need to Buy Real Estate?. Where did you find that one?
Hi, I was looking around for a while searching for closing ports and I happened upon this site and your post regarding Documents Does a Buyer Need to Buy Real Estate?, I will definitely this to my closing ports bookmarks!
Wow,i didn’t realize buy a home was that difficult in the state of Washington.
Great List! Thanks
Washington has tons of forms huh? I know its getting more and more complex all around the country. I’d also advising getting a professional, especially with something as drastic as this.
That is why I prefer to use a Realtor because they can find all those docs for me to sign why I am out looking for more houses
In addition to using a professional for document reasons, it is very valuable to have a pro do the negotiating for you. Negotiating directly yourself can be very damaging as your emotions can cause you to say something to needlessly kill a deal. An agent can do two things: 1) negotiate for a living, therefore do it more than you, therefore are (usually) better than you at it, and 2) can provide that emotional buffer between you and the seller – talking to your agent about negotiations can give you a cooling down period.
Here in Missouri, things are not quite as complicated as they appear to be in Washington.
But still, I would always recommend using a professional real estate agent for assistance in all real estate investments.
On top of needing to understand all the documents, there is another reason to have an agent: They’re professionals who know what they’re doing. If it was so easy to just do it yourself and bypass using an agent to help you, there would be no real estate agencies. They exist because it is a hard process. They can handle it because they have studied and mastered the in’s and out’s of the laws. Hiring a pro is always the way to go, unless your a pro yourself.
Obviously, real estate is not as simple as buying and selling houses. There’s a lot more to it. Also, given the location and the kind of market, things only get more difficult.
Yes, that’s a long list of paperwork. Some people just don’t have the time to take the risk to buy without a real estate agent and some do. Do you have a blog for NY state similar to this?
No I don’t have a blog for NY similar to this. I practice on the beautiful Northern Olympic Peninsula in Sequim and Port Angeles, Washington, which is across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the west of Seattle. New York? That’s a long way way from here.
i agree with you good photographs always attract the buyer and he take interest in the particular property because photographs make the good image in buyer mind but the photographs should be the real.
Buying or selling real estate is not nearly as simple as the non-professional thinks. Some people get lucky and everything goes fine, but a lot of people end up making some pretty darn big mistakes, and I can testify to the mistakes I’ve seen buyers and sellers make over the years.
Hi, I was looking around for a while searching for a list of documents for buying, and I happened upon your site and your post regarding Documents A Buyer Needs to Buy Real Estate. I will definitely add this to my bookmarks!
Buying or selling real estate is not nearly as simple as the non-professional thinks
Wow, I didn’t realize there were so many documents and so much to think about when buying a home. I guess I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. Hey, thanks for the rock solid information. By the way, I would add, from reading many of your articles, that you are clearly the best writer on real estate. I guess that’s one reason your Sequim real estate blog gets so much attention.
The real estate market is often complicated and risky, whether buying or selling, home inspections should be geared towards your protection.
When I represent a buyer, I cost them nothing, because the seller pays my commission.
This is a great point, so many buyers are not aware of this fact. I let them know I cost you nothing, but I will save you a bunch.
What a great list. Thanks for putting this online.
A real estate contract typically does not convey or transfer ownership of real estate by itself. A different document called a deed is used to convey real estate.
Sequim WA is a beautiful place. Drove through Sequim the first time about 11 years ago. Always intended to go fishing out there west of Port Angeles or in the Elwha River, but didn’t get a chance.
I have family in Sequim, and we love to read your blog to keep up on Sequim and also to be able to talk with our family about local real estate news.
Thanks for this article, ” What Documents Does a Buyer Need to Buy Real Estate? “. I found it very helpful in my search. I just found out that you don’t need to be a citizen to purchase real estate in the US.