Want to sell your home For Sale By Owner?
9 Step Guide to FSBO (For Sale by Owner)
Selling your home is a huge decision. After researching realtors in your area and how long the selling process is, you may feel compelled to sell your home yourself. Commonly referred to as an FSBO, a For Sale By Owner transaction is when you sell your home without the help of a Realtor or licensed professional. IWhen going FSBO you can avoid paying commission, working with an agent, and you retain complete control over your listing.
If you're ready to sell your home but unsure 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. According to Trulia research, homes priced by owners are an average of 2% higher than homes listed by agents. Although that may sound good, it doesn't necessarily mean they will sell at that price. Inaccurately pricing a residence may cause it to 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 Zillow and Trulia aren't always accurate. However, you can get a free home value report here.
- Calculate the ROI of any improvements and renovations you've made to your home. Depending on how many improvements you've made, this can take quite a bit of time and research. You'll also want to be careful not to over or underprice the ROI since that will directly affect your home value.
- Prices over time to find any market trends. So, again, it will be more challenging to find accurate data about the market over time without access to MLS data.
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 your home's value from step 1. Then, 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 house if staged. In addition, 22% of sellers' agents saw the dollar value of offers increase 1-5% when they saw a staged home, and 17% saw the dollar value of the home increase 6-10% compared to similar homes. Many agents offer their staging services as part of the selling process, but you can either hire a professional stager for an additional cost or do it yourself since you are on your own. 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 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 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 and 3D tours and videos as part of their services, so if you have the budget, this is something you want to consider.
Step 4: List your home.
After all the preparations you've made for your home, you're finally ready to create your listing. Unfortunately, only real estate agents can create listings on the MLS. After the list, the MLS sends the listing to sites like Zillow and Trulia, where buyers agents can find the newest listings to show their clients.
You can list your home yourself as FSBO on Zillow or pay a "limited service" broker to list your home on the MLS.
For homeowners who need to sell quickly because of death, disaster, debt, divorce, or other life events, iBuying or instant offer services and agents who offer these options enable home sellers to quickly sell their property to a company rather than to an individual.
Step 5: Know your home disclosure requirements.
If you're selling your home on your own, you will need to research your state's requirements for what you need to disclose in your home. A seller disclosure includes what sellers must tell buyers about their home. Seller disclosures can include structural problems, past issues such as flooding, and any repairs or upgrades you've made on your home. A seller disclosure will save you time from any surprises that may come up in a home inspection. If you have any shocks or bumps in your home inspection, you could incur expensive and unnecessary repairs or demands from buyers.
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. We typically start with an email blast to our database of buyer leads we've accumulated over the years in selling your home. 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 don't want to neglect. Of course, you could post about your home on your page, but exposure and reach will be limited, and the quality of leads may be inadequate.
For some of our listings, we will even put together a video to share on social media. Check our marketing page here to get a more detailed example of what we do to market our listings.
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 their home in the timeline they were hoping for, and the average FSBO home sold for $200,000 while homes sold by agents were $265,500 in 2017. On the other hand, homes sold through the MLS were sold on average 20 days faster, according to NAR.
If the selling process seems like too much to handle on your own, we're here to help. So schedule a call to learn more about how we help FSBO home sellers on the Treasure Coast.
Eric Slifkin, Team Lead
Your local real estate expert
Are you seeking a home that suits your lifestyle, community, and neighborhood needs? Eric offers home buyers a turn-key approach to finding and purchasing real estate from the Treasure Coast to the Palm Beaches and beyond with his team.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Whether buying or selling a home on the Treasure Coast, we are always happy to meet with you to discuss your wants and needs, with no obligation.
Eric Slifkin has authored this post, a Broker Associate at Keller Williams Real Estate and the Slifkin Real Estate Team founder. Eric and his experienced agents serve South Florida and the Treasure Coast, including Stuart, Hobe Sound, Palm City, Port Saint Lucie, Jupiter, Tequesta, and the Palm Beaches.
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