For Sale By Owner: Purchase Agreements and Litigation

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By Rochford Law Posted on June 8, 2020 at 7:00 AM

Selling your own property can have a lot of benefits. You are in control of the whole process, and you save money by avoiding real estate agent fees. However, it also opens you up to potential issues. The process of selling a property is lengthy and occasionally convoluted. There are a lot of intricate details that need to be addressed properly.

And chances are you don’t have a lot of experience selling properties. A real estate agent will have the requisite knowledge and experience, but those who choose the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route are taking matters into their own hands.

And this can be a profitable decision. However, even those who choose to pursue an FSBO occasionally need help to make sure everything is done correctly.

This is when a real estate litigation attorney is called in.

But what necessitates the help of an attorney? And what services can he or she provide? Purchase agreements and litigation are frequent reasons real estate sellers enlist the help of litigation attorneys.

What Is A Purchase Agreement?

Real estate transactions are not as simple as selling a car, for example. You might be accustomed to a seller setting a price, the buyer agreeing to that price, and then a transfer of funds. However, real estate transactions are much larger. A list of protections and stipulations are set in place to provide security for the parties involved.

A purchase agreement is what sets forth the basic requirements and terms for the transaction. This purchase agreement includes specifics such as the sale price, the conditions of the sale, and the requirements of both the buyer and the seller.

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Requirements of an FSBO Purchase Agreement

Drafting your own purchase agreement should be performed in conjunction with an experienced real estate litigation attorney. This legal document requires strict attention to detail. You will need to include the full legal names of all parties involved in the transaction. The seller will need to be designated as such, as will the buyer. These specifics might seem implicit, but legal documents require all information to be set in clear writing.

The marital status of each party and names of spouses should be included. The document should be titled something like “Real Estate Purchase Agreement” and dated. It should include a brief description of the property, contingencies, disclosures, details related to the closing process, and much more.

A property owner can draft his or her own purchase agreement, but it is highly recommended to seek the advice of a real estate litigation attorney to ensure that all of the specific needs of the contract are addressed.

How Can A Real Estate Litigation Attorney Help?

Purchase agreements need to have very specific wordings in order to protect the parties involved. Failure to get these specifics correct could result in a dissolution of the deal or even money loss for the seller. These purchase agreements are legal documents and are meant to ensure your legal rights. Therefore, it is imperative that these contracts are written correctly.

A real estate litigation attorney will be able to either help you draft your purchase agreement or look over one that you have written yourself. This will obviously come with a fee, but it will be much lower than what a real estate agent would charge to guide the entire process. FSBOs stand to save the seller a good amount of money, but sellers shouldn’t be afraid to spend a little extra capital to save themselves the headaches that could arise from an improperly put-together purchase agreement.

What Are Common Reasons for Real Estate Litigation?

Real estate transactions are not strangers to lawsuits. However, a well-worded and thorough purchase agreement can keep these lawsuits at bay. But anybody pursuing an FSBO transaction should be aware of the main reasons for contacting a real estate litigation attorney.

Breach of Contract

The purchase agreement is a legally-binding contract. The terms and conditions set forth within the purchase agreement must be met by all parties involved in the transaction. However, these conditions are not always completely fulfilled. This is what’s known as a breach of contract and is grounds for a lawsuit.

Failure to Disclose Defects or Problems

The seller is obligated to inform the buyer of all current and potential problems with the property. Mold, leaks, unstable construction, and other factors need to be set forth and communicated to the buyer. Proof of previous knowledge of an undisclosed problem with the property can result in litigation.


Negligence is also called “breach of duty.” It refers to the relationship between a participant in the transaction and his or her real estate agent. Even FSBOs can deal with real estate agents from the buyer’s side. And if it is found that the agent did not act in his or her client’s best interest, a negligence complaint may be filed.

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Topics: Nashville Real Estate Attorney, Real Estate Lawyers, Real Estate Nashville, Residential Real Estate Law, Selling Real Estate, Purchase and Sales Agreement