Q: We are trying to sell our house “by owner”, and there is one couple that wants to buy the house but they have a real estate broker.

We agreed to pay a 3 percent commission to their agent. The agent sent us an open listing agreement in which it states we will pay him 3 percent. On paper, it looks like he will represent us – for the 3 percent fee.

We do not mind paying 3 percent to the buyer’s agent but at the same time we do not want to get into trap signing something wrong and binding ourselves to a real estate agent that will represent the seller.

Can you please help us in guiding what do we need to do and where can we find the information on how to sell by owner and how to sell by owner to someone that has an agent?

A: The buyer’s agent is trying to protect himself. An “open listing” agreement means you’d pay anyone 3 percent (or whatever is specified in the contract) if they bring the buyer.

I don’t suppose there is much harm in signing this document, though I’d want your attorney to see it first. But you don’t need it. In the buyer’s purchase contract, you can simply write in that the buyer’s agent receives a 3 percent commission. That should be enough to get the deal done, and you don’t have to worry about dealing with yet another unfamiliar document.

It’s especially important that you work with an attorney when you sell by owner, since you are probably unfamiliar with the process of selling and the required disclosures state law requires you to make to the buyer. Please hire a competent real estate attorney to guide you through this process.