Closing Process Without a Realtor
7 min read

How to Navigate the Closing Process Without a Realtor

Buying or selling a home without an agent, such as a buyer’s agent or a real estate agent, can seem daunting, but with some preparation and knowledge, you can successfully navigate the closing process independently. This experience in handling a house without a realtor can be rewarding. Here are somGet Pre-Approved for a Mortgagee tips to make it go smoothly.


A person is holding a blue briefcase containing important purchase and sale agreement documents


Know Your Forms

There are many standard real estate and mortgage forms that will need to be completed during the closing process. These include the real estate purchase contract, deed, settlement statement, truth-in-lending disclosure, and more, like the purchase and sale agreement which outlines the purchase price and closing costs. Familiarize yourself with these common forms, what information must be included, and their purpose. This is a task typically undertaken by real estate agents. Your title company can provide blank templates so you know what to expect.


Understand the Timeline

A typical closing, even when dealing with a house without a realtor, takes 30-45 days from when a purchase and sale agreement is signed. However, it’s important to find out early on from your lender and title company what specific deadlines, such as the closing date, you need to meet. This includes timeframes for submitting closing paperwork, completing the appraisal, final walk-throughs, and signing. Leave some wiggle room for potential delays. Stay organized, and don’t let important deadlines slip through the cracks. This is a crucial part of successful real estate transactions.


A construction worker as a buyer's agent inspecting the floor in a room


Schedule the Home Inspection

If you’re the buyer, don’t skip the home inspection. This is often arranged by the buyer’s agent, but when purchasing a house without a realtor, you’ll need to coordinate it yourself. Hire a licensed inspector to examine the property and flag any issues thoroughly. Negotiate with the seller to address major problems uncovered or ask for a price reduction equal to the repair costs. Be present during the inspection to ask questions and understand any risks with the home.


A real estate agent meeting with clients at a table with a laptop


Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

 Work with a lender to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage early in the home-buying process. This step would ordinarily be guided by a real estate agent, but with no agent, you’ll need to be proactive. This shows sellers you are serious and ready to move quickly. Be upfront with your lender about your financial situation so they can find the best mortgage solution. Collect documents they need for the application in a timely manner to avoid delays.


Review the Title Commitment

 The title company will issue a detailed title commitment outlining the current ownership of the property, as well as any claims, liens, or other encumbrances. Review this carefully to uncover issues like unpaid taxes, claims from previous owners, or easements on the property. Work quickly to resolve any title problems so they don’t jeopardize or delay the closing date.


Conduct a Final Walk-Through

 Just before closing, schedule a final walk-through of the property to make sure it is still in the same condition as when the purchase and sale agreement was signed. Look for any damage, missing appliances, or other changes. Address any concerns with the seller before closing so you get what you paid for. Typically, this would be a job for real estate agents, but in a scenario where you’re buying a house without a realtor, this responsibility falls on you.


A woman comparing purchase prices on her laptop and tablet while sitting at a desk


Double Check Figures on Settlement Statements

 Carefully review your closing disclosure or settlement statement from both the lender and title company to ensure accuracy. Double-check the purchase price, fees, credits, and final loan details, such as the closing costs, to spot any mathematical errors, double charges, or missing items. Getting inaccuracies corrected at the last minute can be difficult, so review these statements as early as possible.


Closing paperwork including passport, social security card, and driver's license


Bring Proper Identification to Signings

 Lenders and title companies will require valid government-issued photo IDs to finalize closing paperwork. Make sure you have the proper identification on hand, such as a current driver’s license, passport, permanent residency card, or military ID. Invalid or expired identification could potentially delay closing while alternatives are found. Avoid headaches by verifying well in advance what will be accepted.

Closing on a home without an agent, such as a buyer’s agent or a real estate agent, is an intricate process with many moving parts. But being organized, resourceful, and diligent about timelines and documentation can allow you to successfully coordinate closing and save on the real estate agent’s commission costs. Pay attention to details, ask lots of questions, and don’t hesitate to get outside help if you feel overwhelmed. With some effort and preparation, you can navigate the closing maze like a pro.


A young woman is multitasking by communicating on the phone and using a tablet computer


Maintain Communication with All Parties

 Open communication is paramount when navigating a closing without a realtor. Ensure that you’re consistently in touch with the lender, the title company, the seller or buyer, and any other professionals involved. Misunderstandings or miscommunication can cause unnecessary delays or complications. It’s advisable to set regular check-ins to keep everyone on the same page.


A real estate professional is pictured in a suit with a gavel and laptop


Consider Legal Counsel

 While you might be skipping a real estate professional, having an attorney can provide an additional safety net. They can review contracts, advise on negotiations, and provide guidance on local real estate laws. While it’s an additional cost, their expertise could save you from costly mistakes or legal troubles down the road.


A calendar with a bonus graph to keep an eye on earnest money


Keep an Eye on Earnest Money

 Earnest money is a deposit made to the seller indicating the buyer’s serious intent to purchase the property. Be clear about the terms and conditions regarding the earnest money, especially under what circumstances it would be refundable. Typically, an escrow agent or title company holds the earnest money until the transaction is finalized.


Know the Local Market

 Even without an agent, staying informed about your local real estate market is crucial. Understand comparable sales (comps) in the area, how long properties typically stay on the market, and the average difference between listing and selling prices. This knowledge will aid in negotiation and ensure you’re making or accepting a fair offer.


A woman is signing a secure insurance contract with a man at a table


Secure Proper Insurance

 Before the closing process, ensure you have the required insurance in place, such as homeowner’s insurance for a buyer or title insurance if it’s recommended or required in your area. This not only protects your investment but is often a requirement for mortgage lenders.


Allocate Funds for Unexpected Costs

 Hidden costs, including closing costs, can creep up during the closing process. These might include various fees, taxes, or additional repairs that need to be made to the home. It’s always a good idea to have some extra funds set aside to cover these unforeseen expenses to avoid any hitches during closing.


A person writing a checklist on a piece of paper without assistance from a real estate professional


Create a Comprehensive Checklist

Because you’re steering the ship without a real estate professional, creating a thorough checklist for the closing process can be a lifesaver. This list should include all the tasks, documents, and milestones you need to achieve. Regularly update and refer to it to ensure nothing is missed.


Seek Feedback!

 Whether from friends, family, or colleagues who’ve gone through the home buying or selling process without an agent, seek advice and feedback. Their experiences can provide valuable insights and help you avoid potential pitfalls.

A couple discussing mortgage options in front of their dream house considering their negotiation limits


Understanding Your Negotiation Limits

 Every buyer or seller has their limits. Know yours in advance. Define what you’re willing to compromise on and where you draw the line. This clarity will help in negotiations and make the process smoother.

While taking on the closing process without a realtor is ambitious, it’s entirely achievable. Equip yourself with knowledge, tools, and patience. Remember, the money you save on commissions can be utilized in enhancing or furnishing your new home. With tenacity and attention to detail, you’ll not only complete the closing but also gain valuable experience for future real estate endeavors.

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