For Sale By Owner

If I polled 1 million homeowners who are considering or already listed their home as For Sale By Owner aka FSBO, and asked them why they did it? I’m 100 percent certain I would get the same answer.

“I want to maximize the sale price that I saw on real estate websites like zillow, Trulia and Redfin to save thousands on agent commission fees”.”

There is just no other logical answer someone could give me that would make sense.

Which is okay, but it’s definitely harder than you think. As a licensed real estate agent, I want to highlight some important things you need to know before going down the home sale path of listing your house for sale by owner and potentially sabotaging your real estate transaction.

Realtor Perspective of Listing Real Estate For Sale By Owner

As a licensed a realtor, I’m faced daily with the task of talking to a client who wants to see a home listed by you! Or, a potential home buyer who wants to try and sell themselves before we help them with their new home.

The problem is most people are too busy and do not understand all the factors that go into selling a home.  And, they have no idea how stressful the process could end up.

Like a good realtor, I’m going to help fsbo sellers understand why you should reconsider listing your home as for sale by owner.

Considerations Before Listing Your Home as For Sale by Owner

Selling a house takes time, do you have it?

This might be the most important thing to remember considering how to sell your home.

It takes an agent many of hours to go through the entire sales process, from first meeting the client to when it sells and all the scheduled and unscheduled events in between.

It’s not just throwing your house on zillow, and then someone comes to buy it.  There are many steps that take time.

Who is going to answer the phone when potential home buyers call?

You took some pictures with your phone and loaded your listing to Zillow. (pictures with phone is a major mistake)

Now all of a sudden your phone starts ringing, but you’re at work.

  • Can you answer at anytime and speak with the prospective buyers?

  • Do you know they know the questions they going to ask?

Real estate agents are going to call and they are going to want to know a lot about the house.  They have detailed contracts and a bunch of legal terms.   All of which they will expect you to understand. 

Talk with each prospective buyer for 10-20 minutes

Buyers and agents have a lot of questions, trust me I deal with them everyday.

If your house is in a good location and you have the done the right things to this point. Do you want to talk to 20 people for 15 minutes each?  Do you have the time?

I don’t even like talking to my mom for that long 😉

A listing agent handles all of this for you.

Are you going to show every person who wants to see it?

One of the most time consuming task of selling, is when the buyers want to see the house.  They want to see homes during all hours of the day.  Do you have a work schedule that is going to allow to you meet these people.  As agents we spend 30-60 minutes in a house with a potential buyer. If you have 5 or six people that want to see the house, it can fill up your day.

Do you understand home inspections?

A buyer is going to insist on doing inspections. This is going to bring up conditions of your house that may need some attention. Do you know how long buyer has to do this and what inspections they are going to perform.  As agents this is the hardest and most stressful part of our job.

Have you thought about how to market your house?

What are you going to do to get the house out to the public?

Have you figured out how to get your fsbo home on the various real estate websites or a multiple listing service?

This takes time and effort to make sure you are reaching qualified buyers for your home. Don’t waste this opportunity to get out in front of as many people as you can.  As an agent I make sure the most people see your so I can get you the most money is the fastest time. Do you know the percentages of where buyers come from?? How to you reach them?

What comps do we use to find the correct listing price?

A lot goes into finding comps for home prices. Where do you get yours from? Most websites will show home sellers what a house sold for, but were there any concessions to buyers (closing cost). How do we know of the homes that sold around you had any problems that may have altered the price. Or something significant that may make the comp better. Agents are going to pull these and they will be ready to ask you how you came up with the home value.

How to read a contract

If an agent sends a contract do you know what it says?

This very important that you know what is being committed to.  I could go on forever about all the the items in a contract.  A real estate attorney will go over this with you but you have to pay them, so your not saving as much as you would think once you add this cost as well.

Is there language you need help understanding from a lender?

Does it completely outline the real estate commissions?

Buyers agent will have the buyer and you will have to pay them.

To me this is one of the most important things on the list. It’s almost certain when you list your house a buyer who comes to look will have an agent. Or it will actually be the agent who call you to view the property.  Agents will expect to be paid for the hard work they are going to need to do.  Nd trust me its a lot of work on the buy side for them. All of a sudden the commission that we thought were saving has now been cut in half.  Will you want them to help you???

Do you know how to negotiate with a an agent?

So as we discussed, an agent has a buyer and is expecting to be paid.  They offer to you what they would like to be paid, a seller may have a lot of questions.  Houses for sale by owner leave a seller to do the negotiating. You’ll be relying on your own skill to finalize a contract, leaving yourself open to potential legal problems and a smaller profit when all is said and done.

These are all covered when working with a realtor who’s part of a brokerage.

92 percent of houses don’t sell fsbo

Fact. Don’t waste time going through all of this and then decide to call a realtor when it does not work.  You will have wasted tons of time and even some money trying to do it yourself. Consider calling one at the beginning, and at least getting a professional opinion before you start. 

Are you going to do an open house

AHHH!!  The  joys of the open house. Tons of people coming though your house and you have no idea who they are and if they can even buy the house. Open house get busty and you begin to talk to a prospective buyer but you don’t see anyone going upstairs and snooping around.  In addition we get to talk to all our neighbors as well as they nit pick your house.  Even though they want to sell your house for as much money as you can to help their value as well.  However, open house can be beneficial, how are you going to market your open house?

What if FSBO house doesn’t appraise?

A buyer if they are not going to pay cash is likely to going to have an appraisal done.  If for some reason your house doesn’t appraise for the decided purchase price, this can get a little tricky.  The bank is no longer going to want to approve them for that loan.

Do you have a title company

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some other common questions that come up regarding FSBO. If you are searching for these questions, you should probably work with a realtor.

  • What is the importance of a seller’s photo?

  • What is the difference between a FSBO and a Realtor?

  • What is the name of the novel?

  • What does the phrase “For Sale By Owner” mean?

  • What is the meaning of the phrase?

  • How do you advertise property for sale by owner?

  • Why is the “For Sale By Owner” classified as a business?

  • What does “FSBO” stand for?