Selling a home and helping the buyer finance may be a good option to getting a house sold, experts say. Yet it is imperative that the seller thoroughly investigate the buyer's finances before agreeing to the deal.

Here are some important initial steps to take:

  • Investigate the buyer by asking him to fill out a Uniform Residential Loan Application.
  • Get bankruptcy details by checking out the case through Public Assess to Court Electronic Records (PACER), a service of the U.S. Judiciary.
  • Pull the buyer's credit report and eviction and criminal history via the American Apartment Owners Association Web site.
  • Insist on 20 percent down or offer a contract for deed, which only confers full ownership rights after the home is paid off.
  • Consider offering a lease-option with part of the payment going toward the purchase price, which gives the buyer time to repair his credit before seeking conventional financing.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, June Fletcher (08/28/2009)