9 Tips to Sell Your House “For Sale By Owner”

Home seller dangling keys in packed house.

Selling your house on your own is always a valid option. In the real estate industry, we call it “For Sale By Owner” (or “FSBO” for short). If done effectively, it can be a way to avoid some of the hassles and headaches of a traditional home sale, while also cutting down on costs. Hiring a real estate agent isn’t cheap and will cost you up to 6% of the selling price by the time you pay your selling agent/brokerage commission and that of the buyer’s agent, as well.

Yet, going into a For Sale By Owner deal is not something you want to do if you aren’t prepared. A bad deal could see you losing out on money or getting into a complex legal battle. You have to work hard to make it a successful sale. With this in mind, here are a few useful tips for For Sale By Owner home sellers:

1. Be Prepared

We already mentioned this, but we cannot stress it enough. Do not go For Sale By Owner if you are not fully prepared for the process. Do your research on the different things you need to do. Be mentally ready for advertising the property, showing the home and negotiating with buyers. If you aren’t fully prepared for an FSBO sale, it can be a recipe for disaster.

2. Set the Proper Price

Setting a good selling price is an important step in any home sale. You don’t want to price it too high and turn off good potential buyers. You don’t want to price it too low and lose out on money. You have to find that perfect sweet spot with your listing price, usually somewhere above your “acceptable” minimum sales price and the high-end of what your house might be worth in the current real estate market.

3. Get the House Ready

Even when selling the house yourself, you need to enhance its “curb appeal.” Clean it up, declutter the living spaces for showings and make necessary repairs. A fresh coat of paint or new carpet can make a huge difference. Consider making major repairs or upgrades if they will enhance the resale value. Some investments back into the home will pay for themselves—and then some!

4. Disclose Everything

No matter how you sell your house, it is very important to disclose any known issues to the buyers. If you know there’s a crack in the foundation or the plumbing is outdated, make it known. If not, failing to disclose problems can come back to haunt you later—especially in a For Sale By Owner situation where you aren’t counting on a Realtor® to help with certain contractual obligations.

5. Market the Property

Of course, you want to put a “For Sale” sign up in the yard, but you also have to market the home in other ways. Whether you are using classified ads, online listings, social media or other resources, you have to get the word out that your house is on the market. You can also find services that allow you to post a paid listing on the MLS, which will ensure that more buyers and their agents will see the property. You want to take attractive pictures and write good descriptions, as well, to show your house in its best light.

6. Get Ready for Showings

Once the word is out, you then have to prepare the home for showings. Keep it clean and looking nice, and be ready to fit buyer showings into your schedule. It can be disruptive, but it’s part of the process because buyers are going to want to see the house in person before making an offer.

7. Review the Offers Carefully

When reviewing purchase offers, be sure and weigh all the pros and cons of each one you receive. The one with the highest price is not necessarily the best offer. You have to look at all the finer points, with a careful focus on the buyer’s financing situation. Do they have a pre-approval letter? How much are they putting down? Are they paying with cash? You want to find a buyer who has solid financing or may be willing to make some other sacrifices to get the deal done. In the end, these can benefit you more with a smoother, more profitable sale. A buyer offering a high amount with bad financing is usually a red flag.

8. Hire a Real Estate Attorney

Though you can sell your house without a real estate agent, you may still want to consult with a real estate attorney. You may need help with contracts and negotiations, so an attorney with real estate knowledge can be a benefit.

9. Explore All Your Selling Options

Beyond just foregoing a real estate agent, you will want to explore all your home selling options when going “For Sale By Owner.” There are different types of buyers out there and different types of financing solutions that could benefit you, depending on your financial situation. Open yourself up to the idea of selling to a real estate investor who is paying all-cash or can offer a creative financing option. These sales can be completed quicker and simpler. If you are truly looking to avoid the headaches and expenses of an open market sale, working with an investor may be an ideal solution.

If you are thinking about selling your house, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get a fair cash offer from a real estate investment company like PropertyLark. We can also present you with a variety of other home selling options and resources, so let us help you make the right decisions. Contact us today.