For Sale By Owner Has Its Risks

(Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The housing market is roaring back to life. Here are some tips you should know if you’re thinking of selling your home on your own.

How’s this for a return on investment? A woman bought a foreclosed home from the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan for $3100. She put in $25,000 to renovate it. And just won $115,000 from the city for it – because the city failed to tell her that the 110 year old home had lead paint in it.

If you’re thinking of putting your house on the market as a ‘for sale by owner’, you need to know that federal law requires that if your house was built before 1978, you disclose whether there’s any lead paint and provide a pamphlet created by the Environmental Protection Agency called Protect Your Family From Lead In The Home, available on the EPA website to potential buyers. In addition, state law requires that you disclose other known defects in your house, depending on your state.

So you can go online to your state board of realtors and search their disclosure forms to see what you’re obligated to provide so that you don’t wind up getting sued for more than the sale price of the house.

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