If you’re planning on selling your home but don’t want to pay real estate commissions, which can often be $10,000, $20,000, $30,000, or even more, you may want to consider For Sale By Owner (FSBO).
If you’ve never sold a home this way, it can be a complex process and you may have a lot to learn. Following are some tips to get started:
Before you put a sign on the front lawn, you need to know what the value of your home is so you can price it appropriately. You can obtain an appraisal from a certified home appraiser, or you can watch what’s happening in your neighborhood with homes similar to yours. You can also get a free, no-obligation, home evaluation from most area real estate professionals. Whichever method works best for you, make sure you are comfortable with the price you set and don’t overshoot by setting an unrealistic price.
Curb appeal and the overall presentation of your home are vitally important. Clean it, tidy it, paint it or repair it. Think about what work needs to be done to improve how your home will be perceived by potential buyers. If the front yard is overgrown and messy, some buyers will just walk away, so clean it up and mow the lawn. If the inside of the home is in disrepair or needs a good cleaning, you’ll lose some potential buyers the minute they walk inside. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to update your home, but it should be clean and tidy and free of any mess or clutter.
Once the home is ready for sale and you’re happy with the price you’ve determined to list it at, get the property listed on as many websites as possible. FSBO, Zillow, and even the MLS system in some regions will allow you to list your property for a small fee. Using the MLS system will expose the home to unlimited potential buyers. Research the sites most appropriate for your area and get your home in front of as many buyers as possible.
Different regions have different rules for disclosing information about the property. Check with your local real estate authorities to find out exactly how much of the home’s history, issues, or defects you need to disclose to potential buyers. This can save you a lot of time and money down the road if you’re upfront and honest with potential buyers right from the start.
Don’t be afraid to ask potential buyers how they plan to finance the home. Will they be paying cash? Will they be obtaining a mortgage? Have they been pre-approved for a mortgage? How much of a deposit can they make? Hopefully, potential buyers will have already secured a mortgage pre-approval before viewing your home so there are no delays or potential lost sales because they can’t qualify for financing after making an offer. Consider making the deposit non-refundable so the buyer is more likely to complete the sale rather than losing a large deposit.
Saving money on commissions is great, but make sure you hire a lawyer or notary who can assist you with all of the paperwork and conveyancing for the property. You need someone experienced in real estate transactions so they can dot the I’s and cross the T’s, ensuring a smooth transfer of ownership.
If you’re comfortable handling the sale of your home on your own, then For Sale By Owner may be right for you. It will take some time, energy, and effort but if you are successful in selling the home and moving on to the next chapter, you can feel good about the process and your achievement!