Essential Documents for “By Owner” Sellers After Accepting a Property Offer

Selling your property by yourself, also known as “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO), can be both a rewarding and daunting endeavor. With the help of Flat Fee MLS listings, like those offered by, you can get your property in front of prospective buyers without the need for a traditional agent. However, after accepting an offer, you need to navigate the paperwork and legalities. Here’s what you’ll typically need:

Purchase Agreement or Contract:

This is essentially the heart of any real estate transaction. In an FSBO sale, it’s paramount that this document is thorough, covering all specifics of the deal. It lays out not just the sale price, but also earnest money deposit amounts, closing date, property condition details, and any contingencies like home inspections or buyer’s ability to secure financing. Without an agent, sellers need to be particularly meticulous in ensuring every detail is included, understood, and agreed upon by both parties.

Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement:

This document is a critical component for ethical and legal reasons. It’s where the seller discloses known defects or issues with the property, from major structural issues to smaller problems like leaky faucets. It’s essential to be transparent, ensuring the buyer is fully aware of what they’re purchasing. This disclosure can also protect sellers from potential future legal disputes.


The title deed is the proof of your ownership. It’s essential because it details the property’s legal description, past ownership, and any liens or encumbrances against it. In an FSBO sale, sellers typically work with a title company to ensure the title is clear (meaning free of issues) and ready for transfer.

Transfer Tax Declarations:

This is the declaration of any taxes associated with transferring property ownership. Depending on local and state regulations, there might be fees associated with the sale. Sellers need to be aware of these to avoid surprises during closing and to ensure all legal requirements are met.

Utility Readings:

For properties with utilities that aren’t included in the sale or are based on consumption (like prepaid water or electricity), a final reading ensures any outstanding balances are accounted for and settled. This ensures a clean break for both parties.

Mortgage Payoff Information:

If you’re still paying off a mortgage, this step is essential. It details the remaining balance of your mortgage, which is typically paid off with the sale proceeds at closing. Any discrepancies or misunderstandings about the remaining balance can complicate the sale.

Home Warranty Information:

Providing a home warranty can make an FSBO property more appealing to potential buyers, as it offers a level of protection against unforeseen issues after the sale. Clearly detailing what’s covered in the warranty (and for how long) is essential.

Bill of Sale:

This document is especially vital when personal items (like appliances, furniture, or even garden tools) are part of the sale. It’s a list and agreement of what items will stay or go, providing clarity and avoiding disputes during the moving process.

HOA Documents:

If the property is part of a Homeowners Association, these documents outline the rules, bylaws, financial statements, and more. It’s crucial for buyers to understand their responsibilities and obligations as new members.

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure:

Homes built before 1978 in the U.S. might contain lead-based paint, which can have health implications. Even if the seller isn’t aware of any lead-based paint, they must provide this disclosure, and often, a pamphlet about lead-based paint risks.

Final Closing Statement:

This document summarizes the entire financial side of the transaction. It itemizes costs, adjustments, and credits for both parties, ensuring that everyone understands the financial flow of the deal.

Navigating these documents alone can be complex. Thankfully, services like offer invaluable tools to simplify the FSBO process:

Personal Transaction Coordinator: This service can guide you through each step, ensuring all documents are correctly managed and nothing gets overlooked.

Contract Preparation and Review: Without an agent, drafting and understanding contracts can be challenging. With this service, you can ensure that all agreements are legally sound and protect your interests.

Selling by owner doesn’t mean you’re entirely on your own. With the right tools and services, you can manage your sale efficiently, ensuring a seamless and profitable transaction.