When a Seller of a property is paying a big commission to a Realtor, getting a completed package of real estate forms is part of the service covered under that expense.
But if a property transaction is being handled For Sale by Owner, then it’s usually up to the Seller to create the necessary home sale legal documents.
Let’s examine some affordable options to get the real estate forms needed to complete an FSBO transaction.
Do-It-Yourself Real Estate Forms
The most common real estate paperwork solution for an FSBO home sale is do-it-yourself legal forms.
There are two types of real estate forms: pre-printed paper documents that are completed by hand usually as fill-in-the-blank; and digital documents that are completed on a computer, tablet or phone, either as downloadable software or online forms systems.
Because real estate laws are state-specific and because document filing requirements often differ county-by-county, pre-printed paper real estate forms have mostly gone the way of the blacksmith. A company trying to keep up with changes to the legal language of thousands of jurisdictions must print up brand new documents, package them, and get them onto the shelves of an office supply store or bookstore almost weekly. Some of those new documents could be out-of-date before they even reach the shelf!
Given the level of comfort that most people now have with the internet, today’s do-it-yourself real estate forms exist almost exclusively as electronic digital documents. But users should be careful when searching for these document products, trusting only established and reliable sources. Maintaining a digital library of up-to-date legal documents and instructions for every USA state requires a lot of effort, time and professional knowledge. Real estate legal documents cover a high-dollar, complex transaction. So files and forms offered for free should be viewed with a considerable dose of skepticism. User beware!
Real Estate Forms: Software vs. Online
Under the ‘digital real estate forms’ option, there are two format choices to be considered: to download then complete the forms offline; or to answer questions online to generate completed forms.
Downloadable forms usually rely on a standardized software program like Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF Reader. These legal documents provide form fields inside the legal language with instruction hints attached to each field. The fields are completed with information specific to your transaction. When all of the form fields are answered, the document is printed then signed and filed per the instructions provided.
An online forms wizard works in much the same way, but it backs out the form fields from the document’s legal language. Instead, the wizard collects form field information on a screen that is separate from the document’s “legaleze”.
The end result is the same in either option: you either provide the home sale transaction information directly into a form field within the legal language of the document, or you provide the transaction information into a question-and-answer field wizard which then slots that provided data into the document’s legal language.
But there is one consideration to weigh between these two different digital options. A downloadable document file does not transmit any form field information over the internet; it is completed offline on your computer and never passes any personally identifiable transaction details across the web. But an online document creation system MUST transmit information across the internet; the wizard holds that information in a database to slot it into the legal documents after all of the data is all collected. That means the data could be accessible to others during and after the document creation process. Having that data ‘out there’ in an online system is a difference worth thinking about.
Real Estate Forms Providers
There are several highly-professional sources for affordable do-it-yourself real estate legal forms. One favorite is Standard Legal, a company that offers separate downloadable software form titles for FSBO Home Sale, Land Contract, or Quitclaim Deeds.
These are all quality legal document companies with a long track record. We suggest you review them all, compare the offerings, then choose the company that feels best to you.
Professionally Prepared Documents
There is another option vs. do-it-yourself real estate forms. This option is slightly more expensive, but still very affordable (usually just a bit over hundred dollars). And this option doesn’t require the Buyer and Seller to figure out which legal documents apply to their transaction, or how to complete complicated forms on their own.
It’s called a Real Estate Document Preparation Service. Instead of do-it-yourself forms, a professional handles the paperwork side of the property sale for a modest flat fee.
The Buyer or Seller provides information about the home sale transaction, then the required forms are completed correctly by an experienced preparer. The fully-finished documents are returned to the parties ready-for-signature, along with detailed local filing instructions. Learn more about this Document Preparation option in full detail here… >