WGN-TV Show Notes January 13, 2004

Dear Ilyce: Can you give me any recommendations for purchasing a home that is for sale by owner. I know I need a real estate attorney to close, but what about before?

What do you need to know about buying a property that’s for sale by owner? There are so many things it’s hard to know where to start.

First, is the house priced right? The only way to know this is to spend time visiting a lot of other homes in the area. You can also try a website, www.domania.com, for information on home values, but it’s not great in every neighborhood. Next, you should hire the real estate attorney now, to write up the contract and make sure you’re protected. It’s very important to have documents that protect you in this situation. Not only that, but the attorney can make sure the taxes have been paid, order the title and survey and help you get things done so that you can close and feel good about it.

Finally, many times a seller who lists by owner will be amenable to paying a buyer’s broker a half commission. If you’re working with a buyer’s agent or buyer’s broker, you should approach this seller about working with your agent and paying some sort of commission.

That would probably make you feel a whole lot better. From the seller’s point of view, paying a half commission or 2.5 to 3 percent is a lot better than paying 5 to 6 percent.

Jan. 13, 2004.