Building Your Team

by Shahri Masters


Selling your house is not as simple as placing a sign in the yard. To get maximum results when you are acting as your own real estate agent, you need to do the things that a real estate agent would do. One of those things is to build a team made up of the people who will help you sell your house. Read on to find out who you need on your team.

Title Company

A title company is an insurance company that researches the chain of owners, easements, liens, or other encumbrances on a specific property and then gives the buyer an insurance policy, which promises that they are receiving the property from the true owner with known easements and liens. There are probably several title companies in your community. In order to understand the services of the title company and to see which title company you can work best with, call each of them and set up an appointment to meet with their manager or lead title officer. Find out what additional services they provide, what the title insurance covers, and how much they charge for each type of policy. The title company you like best is the one you can recommend to your buyer. For some buyers, any title company will be fine, but for others, it will be an important issue. It is best to be flexible about which title company you are willing to use. Based on the type of loan the buyer is getting, it may be necessary for the buyer to pick the title company.

Escrow Company

Depending on the area of the country you live in, escrow is handled by either an escrow company or by an attorney. Either way, the job is the same. The escrow company is known as a disinterested third party. It is their job to receive all documentation and funds necessary to complete the transaction and distribute everything to the proper parties. They will record all paperwork that must be recorded with the county, such as the deed. They will pay off the existing mortgages and liens and record the reconveyances when they arrive from the lien holders. They will pay all the costs and keep a record of them, noting which costs are the buyer’s responsibility and which are the seller’s responsibility. They will distribute the proceeds from the sale to the seller and give the buyer the title to the property.

Interviewing an escrow company or escrow attorney and knowing their fees and what jobs they perform will give you comfort. For convenience, some areas of the country place an escrow company and title company under one umbrella. They occupy the same office and have the same managers. This type of situation is convenient, since it gives you just one person to contact throughout the detailed process of both title and escrow.


As an FSBO, you want to be sure you have all your bases covered. You do not want to discover too late that you have not completed everything required by your state or by the federal government. Without an agent, there may be things that are overlooked just because of a seller’s lack of experience. It is important to bring all your paperwork to a real estate attorney and be assured that everything is done correctly. Some sellers will rely on the escrow company or escrow attorney to assure complete compliance, but they are a disinterested third party and cannot always give you advice. Your own real estate attorney is paid to be on your side and act in your best interest.

Mortgage Lender

Interviewing mortgage lenders will allow you to have one or two available to recommend to the buyer. They can tell you what types of loans are available and give you an idea of the financial qualifications your buyer will need. The buyer may already have a lender, but if not, your recommendations can help speed this part of the transaction along.

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