What You Should Know if You’re Selling Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent

FSBO means “For Sale By Owner” to the public. To REALTORS, FSBO means “Fastest Sales Business Opportunity”. History shows that, on average, about 86% of FSBO’s will place their property in the hands of a licensed real estate professional within 30-45 days of deciding to sell. History also shows that only 5% to 6% of the FSBO’s succeed in selling their property without hiring an agent.

What happens to the missing 8% to 9%? They give up, take down the sign and may try again at a later date.
What motivates a potential seller to try to sell his/her property by himself/herself? Usually it’s money. The FSBO would like to “save” at least the listing portion of a commission. The overwhelming majority of FSBO’s today realize that most buyers have hired a “buyer’s agent” and do plan on paying that agent’s commission from the sales proceeds. And contrary to anything you may have heard, real estate agents will definitely show FSBO properties to their buyer clients and customers after verifying with the FSBO owner that their fee will be paid.

Why do so many FSBO’s give up so quickly? Usually it’s because they already suspected they would not succeed but wanted to just give it a try anyway. After a while, the effort becomes too expensive, time consuming and too much hassle.

How do the 5% to 6% succeed? By working very hard. Below are some tips for property owners considering selling by themselves:

1.Hire an attorney (preferably one who specializes in real estate) to help draft contracts and help with other paperwork and legal issues involved with selling your property.
2.Ask the attorney for a list of other service providers you may want or need to hire such as appraisers, inspectors and title firms.
3.Locate and complete a “Seller’s Disclosure” form. This is your absolute best protection against future lawsuits by disgruntled buyers. When in doubt, disclose, disclose, disclose.
4.Plan your marketing strategy and budget. In order to get the highest price for your property, you need to reach that one buyer who is willing to pay the most. To reach that one buyer, you’ll want to cast the broadest possible net with your marketing.
Your marketing might include a custom website about your property, adding your information to various commercial FSBO websites, creating flyers, purchasing print advertising (there are FSBO magazines to be picked up in stores), purchasing and placing signage and hosting events to invite buyers (and agents who have buyers) to your property. There are good publications about writing effective ads at the library and at bookstores.
5.Buy and read a good book on the subject of selling your own home. It will have many checklists and timelines to keep you on track. De-clutter, clean and stage your property.
6.Prepare a “home book” about your property and your neighborhood to show buyers how desirable your area is. Include information on public and private schools, shopping, public transportation, houses of worship, recreation and entertainment.
7.Gather information about your utility bills, taxes, Restrictive  covenants and restrictions, etc. for buyers.
8.Be prepared to provide buyers with names and contact information of lenders currently lending in your area (not all buyers are cash buyers).
9.Consider getting an opinion of value from a licensed real estate appraiser. Place this in a conspicuous place for buyers to study.
10.Contact your local city office to get a free copy of the “ Housing Guidelines”. This very valuable publication will help you avoid potentially disastrous advertising, showing and contractual situations.and legal consequences.
11.When contacted by a prospective buyer:

• Find out if they are qualified to buy your property.
• Set a mutually convenient appointment to show them the property.
• Get your property “show time perfect”.
• Have the property information and disclosures mentioned above ready, along with a contract offer form prepared by your attorney in case they want to make an offer.
• Allow the buyers to tour the property, but try not to “hover” over them. Sellers often convey their anxiety and even volunteer too much information out of nervousness.
• Get the buyers contact information because you’ll want to follow up with them to ask what they thought of the property, if they have any “constructive criticism”, etc.
• If they want to make an offer, contact your attorney and begin the negotiations.

These are just a few things to consider when selling your house on your own. If you have more advice or do’s and don’ts for FSBO’s, please leave a comment.

Note: The above suggestions are informational only and are not a substitute for legal, tax or other professional assistance.info.use at your own concern.

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