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Home Seller Topics
  1. Selling a House on Your Own: For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
2. Selling A House with a Real Estate Agent
3. Subdivision Regulations
4. Neighborhood Associations
5. Seller's Real Estate Condition Report
6. Qualified Buyer's Financing
7. Residential Offer to Purchase & Counter-Offers
8. Title Insurance
9. Condominiums
10. Current Real Estate News

1. Selling a House on Your Own: For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
Selling your house FSBO requires some work on the part of the seller. The Seller is solely responsible for marketing the property. In exchange for taking on this additional duty, the seller may reap the rewards that can be gained by not having to pay a Brokerage commission. With the potential savings amounting to $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 or more, most home sellers should, at least, consider the benefits of selling their house on their own.

Over the past few years, we have seen tremendous growth in FSBO transactions in Dane County and the City of Madison. This is attributable to the growth of the internet and the establishment of popular FSBO listing sites in our area. If you do decide to sell your house on your own, you should have an attorney assist you.

Knoll Greller, s.c. is committed to offering experienced assistance to FSBO sellers. For a reasonable flat fee you can have an attorney at your side from start to finish. Speak with an attorney even before listing the property. We can give you an explanation of the whole process, discuss your listing, complete your Real Estate Condition Report, explain the Offer to Purchase forms and represent you in the rest of the transaction through closing, all for a flat fee. We encourage you to contact us for a free consultation to discuss how we may help you.

To visit the Madison Area's leading FSBO Listing Directory and to read about their service visit:

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2. Selling A House with a Real Estate Agent
At Knoll Greller, s.c., we recognize that real estate agents can be effective marketers of property. That is their job and that is what they are trained to do. However, real estate agents are not attorneys and are prohibited from giving legal advice. Beware that real estate agents may suggest that you enter into a Listing Contract or an Offer to Purchase prior to review of that document by an attorney. An attorney who practices in residential real estate should review all Listing Contracts, offers and counter-offers before you sign the document.

Many home sellers hire a real estate agent to help them sell their home. When a seller is working with a listing agent, the home should be posted on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so that large numbers of buyers will have access to the seller's property. The real estate agent will also screen potential buyers and arrange to give them a tour of the property. Additionally, the real estate agent will have to pay all the costs of advertising and marketing. The fee charged by a real estate agent is generally a percentage of the selling price of the property. Because of the high cost associated with having a real estate agent, you may want to consider trying to sell the home on your own.

If you choose to list the property with a real estate agent, you should make sure that your agent is a member of the Wisconsin Realtors Association. Additionally, you should have an attorney review the listing contract prior to signing on with an agent.

For more information on Realtors please visit the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

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3. Subdivision Regulations & Neighborhood Associations
If the home you are selling is within a subdivision, that subdivision may govern how potential buyers may use the property. If your subdivision regulates the use of the property or if the homeowner's association has assessment power, it is a good idea to get a copy of those restrictions, and an itemization of current and pending assessments, to give to potential buyers. If your buyer is aware of the conditions and restrictions governing the property, it is less likely that those restrictions will become an issue later in the transaction. If subdivision regulations do affect the property, some buyers will want to add a contingency allowing them time to object to those conditions or will ask the seller to warrant that the property conforms to all current restrictions. It is a good idea to have an attorney review the subdivision regulations and any contingencies or warranties sought by buyers before entering into an offer to purchase.

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4. Seller's Real Estate Condition Report
Chapter 709 of the Wisconsin Statutes requires that owners of residential real estate make certain disclosures prior to transfer of the property. In order to comply with that statute, Sellers will provide the buyers with a Real Estate Condition Report. It is a good idea to complete that report when you put your home on the market. Once the report is completed, you can give potential buyers a copy of the report when they tour the property. Sellers should be aware that the standard offer to purchase does not allow for an item listed as a defect in the condition report to be objected to as a defect in the inspection contingency. In other words, if the buyer has knowledge (through written disclosure) of the defect prior to making an offer, the buyer cannot object to that defect later in the transaction. Because there are a number of important issues that can arise as a result of the condition report, sellers should have an attorney review the condition report with them prior to delivering that document to any potential buyers.

To review the standard, unedited version of a Chapter 709 compliant Real Estate Condition Report, visit

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5. Qualified Buyer's Financing
Sellers want to know whether their potential buyer has the financial wherewithal to be approved for financing. In order to determine the buyer's credit worthiness, sellers often request a "pre-qualification letter" from buyers. Sellers should be advised that, generally, anyone with a pulse could receive a pre-qualification letter from a lender. The pre-qualification letter is based entirely on information the borrower provides the lender. As a result, if that information is incorrect, or if information is omitted, the lender may not be willing to finance the transaction. An experienced attorney may assist a seller in determining whether the buyer's financing contingency demonstrates that financing may become an issue in the transaction. An attorney may also help draft the offer to protect the seller from unqualified buyers.

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6. Residential Offer to Purchase & Counter-Offers
When a buyer wants to make an offer on your property, they will generally deliver a Residential Offer to Purchase. The offer is the contract for the transaction and all the terms and conditions of the contract are listed in the offer. It is imperative that sellers have an attorney review the offer to discuss how the terms of the offer may impact the seller's bottom line. The standard offer should often be modified to adequately protect the seller's interests in the transaction. An attorney should also assist the seller in drafting any necessary counter-offers. To adequately protect your transaction, we urge you to speak with an attorney prior to accepting any offer to purchase your property.

To review the standard, unedited version of Wisconsin's WB-11, Residential Offer to Purchase, visit

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7. Title Insurance
The standard Residential Offer to Purchase requires that a Seller deliver merchantable title to the buyer. In most cases, this is accomplished through the purchase of a title insurance policy. If you are working with an attorney from our office, we will order the title insurance on your behalf and have it delivered to the buyer within the allotted time periods. We will then work with the buyer and title insurance company to address any concerns or objections the buyer has to title. It is advisable to speak with an attorney regarding the provision of title insurance and the cost of the policy when you begin to market your home.

The American Land Title Association, commonly known as ALTA, offers consumer information and has answers to questions about title insurance.

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8. Condominiums
If your home is a condominium, Wisconsin law requires sellers to make additional disclosures about the property. Section 703.33, Wis. Stats, governs these detailed disclosure requirements. If the sale involves a conversion condominium, additional disclosure requirements are mandated. In most cases, the seller will be relying on the unit owner' association to provide disclosure materials. It is important that the seller have an attorney that is familiar with the disclosure requirements to assure that the materials provided are complete.

To view Wisconsin State Statute Section 703.33, visit and search for the statute number.

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