I have an idea for you to consider, which may reduce your risk in keepng your property off the market while you pursue a private sale to someone you know. In addition, if your private sale is successful, my idea won't cost you a cent.
If your private buyer writes a good offer, applies without delay for a mortgage, and is approved for their mortgage, then you will have achieved your goals. However, in today's unsettled economic conditions, lenders have become increasingly cautious in making mortgage commitments. If any problem happens to crop up in the mortgage process, your property could be off the market for weeks or months, with lost opportunities for you to sell the house.
Consider this: a discrete Realtor can put your house in the MultiList, disclosing that there is a private sale in progress, seeking only BACK-UP agreements in case there is any problem which results in your buyer's purchase falling through. You don't even have to have any real estate sign in the yard if you wish not to. If your buyer is successful in their purchase, with a listing agreement that excludes your pre-existing buyer, you will not be charged a fee.
In addition, with a written agency agreement, your Realtor would be authorized to give you real estate advice regarding your private sale. While an attorney may offer you legal advice, an experienced Realtor can give you practical real estate experience to draw from. Again, this may be available to you at no charge if your own buyer buys the house, in return for allowing the agent to seek back-up buyers just in case.
You have absolutely nothing to lose by allowing your Realtor to quietly protect your interests while you go through the process with your own buyer. But just in case, having a back-up agreement could save you a lot of lost time and income if there were to be any of a multitude of possible snags in the buying process.
Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buying and selling homes in Lancaster County, PA. To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/