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Can a real estate attorney conduct all the paperwork/escrow needed to sell a house by owner in MD?

Gambrills, MD |

I own a 500K home and need to sell but dont want to have to loss 22K on realtor fees. What can a real estate attorney do and at what cost? What would me the seller be responsible for other than listing the house and showing it?

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Attorney answers 4


You pay a real estate broker to bring you a buyer. That isn't the function of the real estate attorney. If you have a buyer, the real estate attorney can do everything that you need to close the sale. Most real estate attorneys charge an hourly rate which could amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on what you want them to do.

From your question, it sounds like you don't have a buyer. My experience that money spend on a realtor, although it seems like a lot, is often well spent. If you don't want to do that, you can always try to sell it "By Owner." There are several websites that can help you do that for either no upfront money and a much lower commission on sale or a low flat fee paid when you register, regardless of whether you actually sell the property.

IF YOU FOUND THIS ANSWER HELPFUL PLEASE MARK IT SO. The answers provided by R. Russell O’Rourke, Attorney-at-Law as a free informational service only. Without thoroughly reviewing your case neither I nor any other attorney can give you a complete answer upon which you could or should rely. Your reading of this or any of my answers does not create an attorney client relationship between us. Legal cases are often very fact specific and need a qualified attorney to properly review ALL of your materials and fully discuss your case with you before you decide the right course of action to take. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY IN PERSON who has specific expertise in the area of law you are asking about.


If you use a licensed Realtor, you do get the benefit of the standardized forms. Your lawyer will be a great help reviewing the realtor's agreements, and helping you understand the offer/counter-offer and settlement process with your buyer. The buyer will choose the settlement company or attorney. Your lawyer is in the deal to protect your interests-- not your realtors, and not the other side. And it's hard to understand the true value until a deal gets balled up, and you are paying a lawyer to litigate in court over a broken deal.


If you avoid using a real estate agent (not all are “Realtors®”) then you will not pay a seller’s agent. But you will also not pay a buyer’s agent. Knowing that, an agent has no incentive to bring his or her clients to see your house. It is your decision to make.

Yes, an attorney can prepare all the paperwork, in theory, but may not have at hand all the myriad papers required in Maryland to sell a house. If they are not all in place then a lender may refuse to loan money to buyer.

“Escrow” as you seem to be using the term is a west coast process not normally seen in east coast transactions. (I do not know about the central part of the country.)

Licensed in Maryland with offices in Maryland and Oregon. Information here is general, does not create a lawyer-client relationship, and is not a substitute for consulting with an experienced attorney on the specifics of your situation.


If you have a buyer already located, then contact a Maryland Attorney, who may be able to consummate the transaction for you. However, if you are just thinking of putting the home on the market, then I agree with Phillip Marcus and think that you may have trouble locating a Buyer. I tried to list my own home 'For Sale By Owner' years ago. After month with no one interested, I listed it with a reputable local real estate agent who found a buyer in short order. Moral to the story -- no one wants to deal directly with the Seller in the purchase of a home.

If you choose, please select "helpful" or a "best" answer, below. LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois and have an office in Kendall County, Illinois. However, I serve clients in many counties within the state of Illinois. My areas of practice involve Estate Planning (Trusts/Wills/Powers of Attorney/) and Probate, Business and Real Estate Counseling. Please take note that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship, and that all AVVO responses from both me and my attorney colleagues are for general legal education, only. Information obtained from AAVO or any other internet location should never be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. Please also be advised that the passage of time can often diminish the likelihood of success, and some matters will be barred by a Statute of Limitations. So, do not hesitate in seeking an attorney to specifically advise you. Finally, any reference to a specific law or theory of law is my best thought on the topic based upon a brief consideration of the topic, not a complete analysis of your specific situation. Best wishes as you seek resolution of your matter, and I hope you this answer helpful.

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