Flat Fee For Sale by Owner Program

Thinking about listing your home for sale? What if we told you that by hiring an attorney you could save tens of thousands of dollars on the sale of your home?

GRL is excited to announce our Flat Fee For-Sale by Owner program.

Most of us do not think twice about having our friend or family member who is a real estate agent, list and sell our homes.  After all, that’s how it is done right?  We sign a listing agreement without reading it, they put a sign in the yard, we take the pets for a drive when an interested buyer is scheduled to look at the house, and they provide paperwork to sign off on for the sale.  Our house sells, we show up to closing, sign more documents, sale complete.

Ever take the time to stop and look at what the real estate agents are paid for a sale?  Traditionally, the real estate brokerage firm (Iowa Realty, Century 21, RE/MAX), listing and buying agents split up 7 % of the sale price as commission for the sale of a home.  For the sale of a $300,000 home, that totals $21,000. Compare that to GRL’s Flat Fee, For Sale by Owner program and it is a no-brainer!

Here is a basic timeline and comparison of the home sale process between a real estate agent and GRL assisting with the sale of your home.

 FSBO with AttorneyReal Estate Agent
Step 1 – Listing

Letting the world know your house is for sale

Determine price

Put sign in the yard

Complete Seller Disclosure form. Attorney may provide legal advice and opinion on what needs to be disclosed.

Create listing on any one of free home sale websites such as Zillow and FSBOhomes.com

Show home and host open houses for your home yourself.

Drafting and assistance with Seller Disclosure form Included in GRL Law’s FSBO flat fee package.

Determine price

Put sign in the yard

Complete Seller Disclosure form.  Agent may not provide legal advice on what needs to be disclosed.

Create listing for home that is placed on free home sale sites and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) – only accessible by other agents.

Step 2 – Purchase Agreement


When interested buyer wants to extend an offer to buy, they do so in writing by way of a Purchase Agreement.  Once signed by both parties, the purchase agreement is a binding legal contract.


An attorney may draft, review, modify as necessary, and finalize the Purchase Agreement.  Attorney can and does provide legal advice related to this contract.

Included in GRL Law’s FSBO flat fee package.

Realtor provides form Purchase Agreement to be completed and accepted.  Realtor may not provide legal advice related to the Agreement.
Step 3 – Update of Abstract

Every property in Iowa has a legal abstract that summarizes the prior transactions related to the property.  This is updated every time the property is sold to ensure that there are no outstanding judgment or legal barriers to the sale.

The Abstract is handed off to an Abstract Company and is updated before being turned over to an attorney for the Buyer for a Title Opinion to be completed.


Up to $500 paid to Abstract Company as part of GRL Law’s FSBO flat fee package.

Lost abstract, damaged abstract or extensive updating may cost additional.

$300-$500 paid to Abstract Company by Seller.
Step 4 – Title Opinion

An attorney for the buyer is hired to review the Abstract of Title to ensure there are no unsatisfied legal judgments or other legal barriers to the sale of the property.  If outstanding issues are identified, the attorney sets forth a list of requirements for the Seller to satisfy for Sale to go through.

A Title Opinion by an attorney is required for all sales of residential real estate.  This is a cost to the buyer ranging from $300-$500.

If outstanding judgments or issues are identified, an attorney for the seller may assist the seller in clearing these barriers to the sale.

Review of title opinion

included in GRL Law’s FSBO flat fee package


Even if you have an agent, a Title Opinion by an attorney is required for all sales of residential real estate.  This is a cost to the buyer ranging from $300-$500.

Real estate agent has not involvement in this process and cannot provide legal advice or services.

Step 5 – Confirming Pay-off amounts.

Obtain Existing Mortgage payoff amount, Outstanding Homeowners Association Fees, Taxes, and other Liens to be satisfied for sale to go through.

Included in GRL Law’s FSBO flat fee packageReal estate agent is not involved in this process. this is solely the seller’s responsibility.
Step 6 – Closing Document Preparation

Legal documents need to be drafted to finalize the sale.

Warranty Deed – The legal document that transfers ownership of the property.

Groundwater Hazard Statement – Mandates disclosure of wells or waste disposals (i.e. septic systems) on property with passing inspections if exist.

Declaration of Value – Legal certification of what the property is selling for.

Tax Proration Determination – In Iowa property taxes are paid for the past year.  Upon the sale of a home the seller must pay the prorated amount of accumulated taxes.  It is at this stage that the final owed tax amount is confirmed.

Contact buyer’s closing agent to request in advance, documents that seller will be requested to sign at closing to review and educate seller on prior to closing.

Included in GRL Law’s FSBO flat fee package

Real estate agent provides forms for seller to sign but cannot provide legal advice or legal opinions related to the forms.

Real estate agent not involved in pre-reviewing documents to be signed by seller at closing.


Closing – Finalization of the sale.Reviewed and signed documents obtained from GRL Law to take to closing along with keys, garage door openers.

Sign pre-reviewed documents for closing agent with an understanding of what they are and why you are signing them.

Payment of recording of the new Deed ($17) with the Recorders office. This is taken out of sale proceeds.

Transfer tax (1.6 per thousand, first $500 is exempt) must be paid by seller.  This is essentially a sales tax for the sale of the home. This is paid out of sales proceeds.

Past accrued property taxes are also taken out of the sales proceeds.

Net proceeds distributed to the seller.

GRL Law’s FSBO Legal service fees are also taken out of the sales proceeds. No out of pocket expenses to you.


Show up with keys, garage door opener and sign a bunch of papers you have never seen before without reading them.
TOTAL COST:$3,000$21,000

Do we have your attention now?  For more information reach out to GRL’s Jim Sayre, GRL’s For Sale by Owner specialist.