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For Sale By Owner

How to sell your house by owner

by Tolu Salako • July 13, 2018

By selling your home yourself, you won't have to pay the traditional listing agent commission.

For Sale by Owner or FSBO is the process of selling your home without hiring a real estate agent. Think of it as a DIY for home selling. By selling your home yourself, you won't have to pay the traditional listing agent commission, which could end up being costly. Some people go even further and avoid paying the buyer’s agent commission, though this removes any incentive for buyers’ agents to show their clients your property. Before selling your home yourself, you need to determine if it’s the right move for you.

See a breakdown of the best FSBO sites

Best For Sale By Owner Websites


6 Steps to selling your house by owner

  1. Prepare your home for sale
  2. Determine the best selling price
  3. Take pictures and describe your home
  4. List and advertise your home
  5. Sell your home
  6. Close the sale

Top 4 reasons to list as For Sale By Owner (Pros)

  1. Save big on commission - by doing things yourself, you won't have to pay an agent. Depending on your location, listing agents can take home about 2-3% of the sale price. That's in addition to the buyer’s agent’s cut.
  2. Be more involved in the process - some agents are not completely transparent. By going FSBO, you'll have more say in the entire process. it really is DIY.
  3. You have a buyer setup and ready to go - if you are lucky enough to be in this situation, FSBO might be a great option for you. But before you jump in, make sure the buyer is legitimate, and can actually afford your home.
  4. Your property isn't worth a lot - take home more money by selling a property that's relatively cheap. If you own a tiny empty lot, it may make more sense to go fsbo.

Top 4 reasons not to list as For Sale By Owner (Cons)

  1. You can’t commit enough time - Depending on your job, working may net you more income compared to what you’ll save by avoiding a real estate agent. Do the math, and figure out what's right for you.
  2. You want to sell at a higher price - a research done by the National Association of Realtors shows that For Sale By Owner listings sell for less than their agent assisted counterparts. By listing as FSBO, some buyers feel the need to underbid because they known that you’ll be saving a lot on commission.
  3. You're bad at negotiating - you'll be getting a lot of low ball offers. Some of them might be serious about the property. You'll need to convince these buyers that your property is worth more than they are offering.
  4. You don't market your home - a Facebook post on your feed isn't enough. If you want to reach more people, you'll have to strategically pick where to advertise, and the message on your ads.

The FSBO process is very time consuming. You'll have to:

  • Fix, clean, and stage your property for open houses.
  • Take calls from individuals that are not really interested in the property
  • Schedule (and be present at) open houses
  • Do research on paperwork and processes

If you find yourself wanting to pay for some of these tasks, take a step back and calculate what your actual savings are compared to using a real estate agent. Also, consider using a discount selling service or an agent comparison service where agents compete for your business.

Here are some of the biggest challenges FSBO sellers run into, and how to avoid them.

  1. Sellers often mis-price their home - Don't expect a buyer to pay a price that you pulled out of thin air. Instead of guessing, get a Competitive Market Analysis. Most agents will provide this for free.
  2. Sellers mess up the paperwork - There's a lot of paperwork involved when transferring an asset as big as a property. If you're not comfortable doing it, or have some doubts, hire a title company. Most of them will do it for a flat fee of $500. We think its it's worth it.
  3. Sellers don’t sell the property in time - Study shows that houses that stay on the market longer are less attractive and thereby get sold for less or never gets sold. This is often due to the fact that sellers price too high. Avoid this by pricing your home just right.
  4. Sellers don't market the home properly.

Compare For Sale By Owner services

For Sale By OwnerFSBO.comHomeLister
For Sale By Owner provides resources such as guides, contracts, documents, MLS listing, marketing material, and professionals.
FSBO.com provides for-sale by owner resources such as contracts, documents, MLS listing, marketing material, and professionals.
HomeLister provides you with the tools needed to sell your home, with varying degrees of assistance based on the package you choose.
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