Q: My mother is 78 and her neighbor wants to buy her 53-year old home. They will be closing the sale without the help of brokers, but the buyer will be financing his purchase of the home.

My mother found a “for sale by owner” town home she wants to purchase in my neighborhood. She wants to pay cash for the property. The seller is looking to move out of state.

How do we go about closing on the sale and purchase of these properties without agents? My mother wants assurance the seller’s mortgage is paid off in full when they close.

Do they need a real estate attorney? What about inspections, appraisals, closing costs, and insurance? All of this is happening in the state of Georgia.

A: By-owner sellers and agent-less buyers face a few more difficulties when buying and selling residential property in states where real estate attorneys are not normally used to close transactions.

You can hire a residential real estate attorney to help you with forms, and make you’re your mother is protected in both deals. You should also hire an escrow company and closing agent, who can guide the transaction.

As for making sure that the seller’s loan is paid off, the seller will need to order a pay-off letter from the lender and your mother needs to make sure the escrow agent pays off the loan from the closing proceeds. Your mother should also insist that the seller purchase title insurance for the full purchase price of the property, because sometimes sellers aren’t everything they seem.

I wonder if your mother knows how much her property and the one she is buying are worth. Let’s hope that she really knows the local market and that she’s not underselling her own property or overpaying for the other.

If your mother follows these simple steps, she should be able to complete her transaction relatively smoothly.