Q: My mother, age 78, has found a buyer (her neighbor) for her 53 yr old home. They will be closing the sale without either of them having a real estate agent–the buyer is getting a mortgage.

My mother wants to purchase a townhouse in my neighborhood and has found a seller–I just put out some fliers in the neighborhood and he responded even though he had not listed his home for sale and had no sign out. He wants to sell without using a real estate agent.

She wants to pay in full upfront–no mortgage– for the townhouse. He is moving out of state and is looking for a home to buy there. My question is how do we go about closing the purchase of this home to assure his mortgage is paid off in full?

She is willing to seek the assistance of a real estate lawyer if needed. Are all the same inspections, appraisals, closing costs, and insurance coverages needed in this situation? What are the disadvantages or potential problems with this type of purchase? All of this is taking place in Georgia. We would appreciate your comments and suggestions. I enjoy listening to you on WSB radio.

A: I’m sorry it took so long to answer your email. As you can imagine, my in-basket has been swamped.

You should certainly seek the help of an escrow closing real estate agent, who can guide the transaction.

As you know from listening to the show on WSB, I strongly urge you to also use a real estate attorney, who can protect your mother and make sure she gets everything she should from the seller and the contract. Your mother should 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 these townhomes are worth. Let’s hope that she really knows the local market and that she’s not overpaying for this property.

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