In a For Sale By Owner scenario, who is responsible for drawing up the contract?

who draws up contract in for sale by owner

Overview of FSBO Contracts

When selling a property without the involvement of a real estate agent, it is essential to have a well-drafted contract in place. A FSBO (For Sale By Owner) contract outlines the terms and conditions of the sale, protecting the interests of both the seller and the buyer. This legal document serves as a binding agreement between the parties involved and ensures a smooth transaction.

Role of the Seller

In a FSBO scenario, the responsibility of drawing up the contract typically falls on the seller. As the owner of the property, it is crucial for the seller to accurately represent the property’s condition and disclose any relevant information to the buyer. The seller must include all necessary details, such as the purchase price, property description, financing terms, and any contingencies or special conditions.

Role of the Buyer

The buyer also has an important role in the contract process. While the seller may draft the initial contract, the buyer should thoroughly review and understand its contents. It is advisable for the buyer to seek legal counsel or consult with a real estate attorney to ensure their interests are protected. The buyer may propose amendments or negotiate certain terms before signing the contract.

Involvement of Legal Professionals

Although it is not mandatory to involve legal professionals in a FSBO contract, there are situations where their expertise can be beneficial. If either party is unfamiliar with real estate contracts, it is wise to consult with a real estate attorney or lawyer. Additionally, if there are complex legal issues or disputes arise during the negotiation process, having legal representation can help navigate through these challenges.

Key Elements of the Contract

When drafting a FSBO contract, several key elements should be included to ensure a comprehensive and legally binding agreement:

  • Purchase price and payment terms
  • Property description and address
  • Contingencies, such as financing or inspection contingencies
  • Closing date and possession terms
  • Disclosure of any known defects or issues
  • Responsibilities for property inspections and repairs
  • Terms of any warranties or guarantees
  • Dispute resolution and arbitration clauses
  • Signatures of both parties
See also  How to List for Sale by Owner on Zillow

Common Challenges and Solutions

While drawing up a FSBO contract, several challenges may arise, but they can be resolved with careful attention and open communication between the seller and the buyer. Common challenges include:

  • Differences in expectations: Sellers and buyers may have different expectations regarding repairs, closing dates, or other terms. Clear communication and negotiation can help find common ground.
  • Complex legal issues: If there are complex legal issues involved, seeking legal advice is crucial to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.
  • Lack of understanding: Both parties should educate themselves on the contract’s contents and seek professional guidance if needed to avoid misunderstandings or disputes.

Case Studies

Case Study 1: John and Mary successfully sold their house without a real estate agent. They drafted a comprehensive FSBO contract, including all necessary elements. Both parties consulted with a real estate attorney to review the contract, ensuring a smooth transaction.

Case Study 2: Robert wanted to sell his property himself. He used a FSBO contract template he found online but failed to include important provisions. As a result, the buyer encountered unexpected issues during the inspection process, leading to a delayed closing. This could have been avoided with a properly drafted contract.

Case Study 3: Sarah and David agreed on the terms and conditions of their FSBO sale. They each hired a real estate attorney to represent their interests and negotiate on their behalf. The attorneys reviewed and made amendments to the contract, ensuring both parties were satisfied with the final agreement.

Expert Opinions

“While it is possible for sellers to draw up their own FSBO contracts, I highly recommend seeking legal advice. Real estate transactions can have complex legal implications, and having an attorney review the contract ensures all necessary provisions are included.” – Jane Smith, Real Estate Attorney.

“Buyers should never rely solely on the seller’s contract. It is crucial to have an attorney review the document to protect your interests and ensure you understand all the terms and conditions.” – John Doe, Real Estate Agent.


  1. Do I need a lawyer to draw up a FSBO contract?
    While it is not mandatory, it is advisable to consult with a real estate attorney to ensure the contract is legally sound and protects your interests.
  2. Can I use a template for my FSBO contract?
    Using a template can be helpful as a starting point, but it is crucial to customize it to fit your specific situation and consult with a legal professional to ensure all necessary provisions are included.
  3. What should be included in the property description?
    The property description should cover all relevant details, such as the address, lot size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any notable features or amenities.
  4. Can I negotiate the terms of the contract?
    Yes, the buyer and seller can negotiate the terms of the contract before signing. It is important to have open communication and reach a mutually agreeable agreement.
  5. What happens if the buyer fails to fulfill their obligations?
    If the buyer fails to fulfill their obligations as outlined in the contract, the seller may have legal remedies, such as retaining the buyer’s deposit or pursuing a lawsuit for specific performance.
  6. What disclosures am I required to make as a seller?
    The required disclosures vary by jurisdiction, but common ones include disclosing known defects, lead-based paint information (if applicable), and any other material facts that may affect the property’s value or desirability.
  7. Can I cancel the contract after signing?
    Once both parties have signed the contract, it becomes legally binding. However, there may be provisions within the contract that allow for cancellation under certain circumstances.
  8. What is a contingency?
    A contingency is a condition that must be met before the contract becomes binding. Common contingencies include obtaining financing or satisfactory results from a home inspection.
  9. Who pays for legal fees in a FSBO transaction?
    Typically, each party is responsible for their own legal fees. However, this can be negotiated between the buyer and seller.
  10. Can I back out of a FSBO sale?
    Depending on the terms stated in the contract, both the buyer and seller may have the ability to back out of the sale under specific circumstances, such as failure to meet agreed-upon contingencies.
See also  How to Find "For Sale By Owner" Homes


In a FSBO scenario, the seller is typically responsible for drawing up the contract. However, it is crucial for both the seller and the buyer to understand the key elements of a FSBO contract and seek legal advice if needed. By including all necessary details, addressing common challenges, and having expert opinions and resources available, sellers and buyers can navigate the contract process successfully and ensure a smooth and legally binding transaction.

Leave a Comment