If you’re considering selling your home – commonly called a for sale by owner, or FSBO – you need to know a few things about the legal side of real estate transactions. For many people, the best way to sell a house without a REALTOR® is to work with an attorney.

3 Common Legal Issues With Selling a Home FSBO in Maryland

When you sell your house without using a real estate agent, there are five things to be mindful of (each of which an experienced attorney can help with):

  1. Proper terminology
  2. Disclosures
  3. Fair housing laws

Here’s a closer look at each.

FSBO Legal Issue #1: Proper Terminology and Accuracy

It’s essential that you describe your property correctly – and that you use exact measurements, the right property lines, and in some cases, even the history of the home. You can have a professional check out your home and cross-reference what you find with current property records to ensure you’re including proper terminology and that everything in your listing description is accurate to the best of your knowledge.

If you aren’t completely confident that what you’re saying is true, don’t say it. And if it’s something that you feel belongs in your listing description, do some fact-finding and ensure that you’re 100 percent correct.

Related: Can you buy a FSBO if you have a real estate agent?

FSBO Legal Issue #2: Disclosures

In most cases, you must disclose certain issues about your home – provided that you know about them at the time you list your house for sale – or you risk being on the wrong side of the law. If you know that there’s something wrong with your home (commonly called a defect in real estate terminology), you’re required to tell prospective buyers about it.

In the state of Maryland, you can give the buyer a list of known defects or a disclaimer that says you’re selling the house as-is. Even if you’re selling your home as-is, you must still tell prospective buyers about latent defects; that is, you have to tell them about issues that couldn’t be discovered by reasonable observation or inspection.

Related: Does student loan debt affect your ability to get a mortgage?

FSBO Legal Issue #3: Fair Housing Laws

Fair housing laws exist to protect people from discrimination, and if you’re selling a home without a REALTOR’s help, you need to be aware of the laws and stick to them. These housing discrimination laws make it illegal to:

  • Refuse to sell to any qualified buyer
  • Use discriminatory terms and conditions in selling
  • Use discriminatory notices or ads that indicate a preference or limitations on who’s allowed to buy your home
  • Say that your home isn’t available when it is
  • Treat someone differently because of race, color, national origin, disability, family status, religion, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, source of income or marital status
  • Commit acts of prejudice, violence, intimidation, harassment or abuse

Are You Buying or Selling a Home in Baltimore County or Howard County?

If you’re ready to buy or sell a home in Baltimore County or Howard County, we can help. Check out these listings:

If you’re thinking about selling your home, we can help you sell it quickly – and at the best possible price. You can:

If you have specific questions, fill out the form below or call us at 443-955-1227 – we’re here to help you with any aspect of your real estate transaction.