You’re likely familiar with websites like Zillow that allow homeowners to sell their property online. Today, selling your home without a real estate agent is easier than ever.
While many people list their homes as “for sale by owner” (FSBO), only 8% complete the process. Selling a house without a realtor costs significantly less, but is it a process you want to take on yourself? Here’s what you need to know about selling real estate without realtor help.
What Is FSBO?
FSBO refers to the individual owner of a home selling their property without using a realtor. Some individuals decide to sell their homes themselves to avoid commission costs, which can account for a significant percentage of their profit.
When you decide to sell your home without using a real estate agent, you must ensure that you’re up for the challenge. Selling a home is a time-consuming and complex process requiring multiple transactions.
You’ll have to take time out of your day to prepare your home for the market and show your home while also dealing with legalities and paperwork. If you’re looking to walk away with more money and avoid commission costs, then FSBO could be right for you. However, it’s essential to consider all the factors to make the right decision.
You may want to review the pros and cons of FSBO so you can make an informed decision and decide if you should pursue FSBO.
Pros of FSBO
There are many pros to putting your house up for sale without a realtor. Some of the benefits of FSBO include the following:
- Reduced commissions: By handling the property listing yourself, you can avoid paying a listing agent commission and realtor commission fees. If you still have a mortgage to pay or want to make a more significant profit, then FSBO could be the right choice for you.
- Increased listing control: You’ll have complete control over your listing when you do it yourself. You can choose the price, the details and the marketing strategy. Using a realtor, you’d be more confined to their listing choices.
- Increased scheduling control: If you work with a real estate agent, you might have last-minute showings that catch you by surprise. FSBO allows you to control your open house and private tour scheduling, which is ideal for people who lead busy lives or want to maintain their privacy.
Cons of FSBO
While FSBO has many benefits, some drawbacks could influence your decision. Some of the cons include the following:
- Reduced sale price: It can be challenging to get the same price for your home when you sell on your own versus using a real estate agent. Using a real estate agent with experience in the industry might net you a higher profit, even after commissions.
- Potential listing agent commission: While you may not be using an agent, your buyers might be. Since it’s a common practice within the real estate industry for sellers to pay the buyer’s commission fee, you could potentially have to use some of your profit to pay these fees.
- Labor intensity: A lot of work goes into selling a home — answering phone calls, scheduling open houses or private viewings, managing your listing and more — all before you even receive an offer. The FSBO process can be labor intensive, which can be a challenge for individuals with busy schedules.
- Time and cost constraints: The labor that goes into a home is also time-consuming, putting a strain on homeowners with busy schedules. Things like listing your property online, marketing your listing and printing flyers also cost money, which means more out of your pocket before you sell.
- Potential for mistakes: Selling by yourself opens you up to errors, especially if you’re new to real estate. For example, you could price your home higher than its market value, causing it to sit on the market too long. FSBO might not suit you if you’re trying to sell your house fast and smoothly as possible.
How to Sell Your Home Yourself
You can successfully do “for sale by owner” by taking the appropriate steps. Follow our guide below to learn more about what the process entails:
1. Complete Your Preparations
Before you put your home on the market, you’ll want to ensure you’re ready to start showing it to interested buyers. You want your home to look its best to get a quick offer. The following steps can help ensure that your home is ready for viewings:
- Clean everything thoroughly, including shampooing your carpets, polishing hardwood and washing the windows.
- Declutter to make your home look organized and spacious.
- Showcase the potential by staging your home for showings.
- Plan for your pets to be somewhere else when buyers come by.
- Repair any damaged parts of your home.
- Maximize your curb appeal by gardening, repainting and fixing the landscaping.
- Store your valuables in a safe place before buyers come to view the home.
2. Set a Listing Price
Now that you’ve prepared your home, you can set your listing price. Look at other homes in your area similar to yours to find an average price range.
Certain times of the year may also be better to sell in your location — look at the most popular times that houses in your area sell to find the best time to list your home.
3. Prepare to Market and Advertise
It’s essential to market your home to attract as many buyers as possible. You may want to consider hiring a professional to take photos for the online listing.
Once you have appealing photos, you can create a detailed description and list your home on websites like Zillow. You may even want to pay to promote your listing, so buyers see your house first in their search results.
Once you’ve listed your home, start inviting interested buyers for showings. Be cautious to protect your safety. Verify buyers and agents by asking for driver’s license numbers. Put a spare key in a lockbox so buyers with agents can access the property. Consider hosting an open house.
4. Start Taking Offers
When someone is interested in buying the house, take their offer, but be ready to negotiate. It’s acceptable to counteroffer when selling a house without a realtor. You do not have to take an offer you think is too low or unfair.
Remember that buyers often go back and forth multiple times before reaching a final agreement. In this process, be realistic about your price, concessions and the speed of the sale.
You’ll be taking on the job of a real estate professional, including answering calls and being flexible with potential buyers. The more professional you are, the more likely buyers will take you seriously.
5. Handle the Legal Side
There’s a lot of legality behind selling a home. Once you’ve agreed to an offer, complete all legal paperwork to sell a house. That paperwork will vary from state to state and you will also need to follow Federal laws regarding home sales. Ensure you do not discriminate against your buyers, as this violates the Fair Housing act.
For the closing, you will need a title company or settling agent to help finish the process. The fees for those services are your closing costs, which will be your or your buyer’s responsibility based on your final purchase agreement.
You may want to consider a real estate attorney to review your documents and ensure you handle the process correctly. Some states even require real estate attorneys for all transactions, regardless of whether you sell your home or use an agent. Check your state’s laws to ensure you comply.
Sell As-Is With HomeGo
The FSBO approach is an excellent way to avoid paying commission costs, helping you get an increased profit from your home. Browse our resources to learn more about how you can sell your home yourself.
If you want to make the process quick and easy, you can sell with HomeGo! We’ll buy your house as-is without the hassle. Once we take a walkthrough of your property, we’ll give you an offer and can close the deal in as little as seven days.
If you’re trying to sell your home fast and don’t want to go through the trouble of using a real estate agent or putting it on the market yourself, contact HomeGo for an offer today!