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9 Step Guide to FSBO

Juan Murray

Juan began his real estate career in 1994 as their Housing Rehabilitation Director for the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), a na...

Juan began his real estate career in 1994 as their Housing Rehabilitation Director for the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), a na...

Dec 12 9 minutes read

Selling your home is a huge decision. After quite a bit of research on local realtors in your area and how long the selling process, you may feel that it’s better to sell your home yourself. Selling your home without the help of a Realtor (or licensed professional) is called a FSBO (For Sale By Owner). By doing FSBO, you can avoid paying commission, working with an agent, and you have complete control over your listing.

If you know, you’re ready to sell your home but not sure where to start; we made a step by step guide on how to FSBO.

Step 1: Price your home accurately

According to NAR, 17% of people who have done FSBO said pricing their homes was the most challenging task. Not only can pricing your home be difficult, but accurately pricing your home can be close to impossible. Homes priced by owners are an average of 2% higher than homes listed by agents, according to Trulia research. Although that may sound good, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will sell at that price. Homes priced inaccurately actually stay on the market longer. 

To accurately price your home, here are a few things you should research:

  • Current prices for homes similar to yours in your city and neighborhood. Because you aren’t a Realtor, it’s impossible to pull an accurate list of comparable homes without access to the MLS data, so you may need to rely on sites like Zillow and Trulia, which aren’t always accurate. However, you can get a free home value report here

  • The ROI of any improvements and renovations you’ve made to your home. Determining the exact value home renovations add to the overall value of your home can take quite a bit of time and research as there's no exact science. You’ll want to be careful to not over-improve, personalize improvements, or underprice the ROI since that will directly affect your home value.

  • Prices overtime to find any market trends. Again, without access to MLS data, it will be more challenging to find accurate data about the market over time.

Step 2: Prepare your home

Since you won’t have an agent that offers their knowledge and expertise on home improvements that buyers look for, you will have to decide what should be upgraded or repaired in your home. To determine what should be updated, weigh the costs of the projects you think should be completed against the value of your home from step 1. After making any necessary renovations to show buyers you’ve put work into your home, you will need to stage your home. 

Staging is the process of strategically arranging the furniture and decor in your home to be show-ready so buyers can imagine living there. According to NAR, 83% of buyers’ agents said buyers could better visualize living in a home if it is staged. And 22% of sellers’ agents saw the dollar value of offers increased 1-5% when they saw a staged home, and 17% saw the dollar value of the home increased 6-10% in comparison to similar homes. Many agents offer staging services as part of the selling process, but since you are on your own, you can either hire a professional stager for an additional cost or do it yourself. If you decide to stage yourself, the rooms you should prioritize are the kitchen, living room, master bedroom, and dining room. 

Not only does the inside of your home need to look perfect, but so does the outside. Curb appeal is how your home looks from the street and is another crucial step that you don’t want to overlook. It’s the first impression potential buyers will have of your home, so you’ll want to make sure the exterior is also show-ready. According to NAR, landscape maintenance, overall landscape upgrade, and standard lawn care service rank as the highest projects that should add value to your home when selling. 

Step 3: Photograph your home

Once your home is prepared and staged, it’s time to photograph your home. Although the newest iPhone has a pretty good camera, hiring a professional who knows everything about lighting and the most appealing angles will be worth the extra cost. According to the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD), homes with high-quality photos sell 32% faster, and the more photos you have, the faster your home will sell. Homes listed from $200,000 to $1,000,000 with professional photos have sold for $3,000 to $11,000 more. 

Most Realtors offer professional photography as well as 3D tours and videos as part of their services, so if you have the budget, this another critical investment to make.

Step 4: List your home

After all the preparations you’ve made on your home, you’re finally ready to create your listing. Unfortunately, only real estate agents can create listings on the MLS. After they create a listing on the MLS, the listing is then automatically put syndicated to sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com, which is where buyers agents can find the newest listings to show their clients. 

You can list your home yourself as FSBO on Zillow or hire real estate companies that offer "List Only" services to have your home on the MLS.

Step 5: Know your home disclosure requirements

If you’re selling your home on your own, you will need to research the requirements your state has for what you need to disclose to prospective buyers. A seller's disclosure should include any structural problems, past issues such as flooding, and any repairs or upgrades you’ve made on your home. A seller's disclosure will provide some transparency regarding any existing conditions that may affect a buyer's decision on how much they wish to offer and how much negotiation happens after a home inspection.

Step 6: Market your home

Now that your home is (hopefully) listed, it’s time to market your home. Although you may think a for sale sign in your yard is good enough, it’s not. When we market your home, we typically start with an email blast to our database of buyer leads that we’ve accumulated over the years. You could send an email to friends and family, letting them know your home is now on the market but may find it hard to get results that way. 

Next, we usually set up an ad on Facebook and Instagram and target potential buyers in our area. According to NAR, members found social media as the most valuable source to obtain high-quality leads. With more than 1 billion monthly active users on Instagram and 2.41 billion monthly active users on Facebook, marketing your home on social media is one thing you'll need to consider. You could post about your home on your personal page, but exposure and reach will be limited to your friends and family. 

For some of our listings, we will even put together a video to share on social media, as well. To get a more detailed example of what we do to market our listings, check out our marketing page here.

Step 7: Communicate with potential buyers

Hopefully, by now, you’ve acquired a few leads that have started to show interest in your home. Even though you don’t have an agent, your potential buyer probably does, which means you’ll be responsible for all communication with them throughout the process. You will need to be on top of emails, texts, and phone calls to schedule showings and meetings with your potential buyers and their agents and be responsive to any questions they may have about your home. Just remember to be patient and think about your responses - selling your home (especially on your own) can be emotional and make you say things you didn’t mean.

Step 8: Hire third-party experts

You might want to hire an attorney to help you throughout the selling process, especially when signing legal documents, purchase agreements, and seller disclosures. Some states even require representation from an attorney when you close. Although this can be costly, it’s ultimately for your protection throughout the process.

Step 9: Wait for offers

And now we wait... Depending on how much effort you’ve put into the preparations, staging, marketing, and listing of your home will determine how long it will take your home to sell. According to Inman, 18% of FSBOs did not sell in the timeline they were hoping for, and the average FSBO home was sold for $200,000, while homes sold by agents were $265,500 in 2017. Homes sold through the MLS were sold on average 20 days faster, according to NAR.

Feeling overwhelmed? 

If the selling process seems like too much to handle on your own, we're here to help.

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