My husband, Dan, and I sold two homes by owner and purchased one home without any real estate agents involved. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune about our FSBO experiences led to a flurry of questions from readers. So, here are your For Sale By Owner Questions answered. If you have more FSBO questions, please comment below.
Why did you decide to sell your house by owner?
We wanted to save the 2.5% commission.
Is that the only reason?
Why do you save 2.5% on a real estate agent’s commission instead of 5%?
Even if you do not pay a seller’s agent, you still need to pay the buyer’s agent for bringing potential buyers to your door.
Can you sell my house FSBO?
Sorry, but I don’t think that’s how For Sale By Owner works. A friend said I should start a new hashtag #FSBA. However, I’m pretty sure I need a real estate license for that. If I ever decide to start my “For Sale by Ali” agency, I’ll let you know. Until then, you’ve got this.
Should I sell my house by owner?
It depends. Selling a house takes work. Is it worth 2.5% of your home value for you to do that work?
You also need to consider whether you or a real estate agent would get a better price for your home. For example, let’s say you list your home for $200,000. If you sell your FSBO home at list price, you could save $5,000 on the agent’s fees. However, let’s say you receive $185,000 for your FSBO home but an agent would’ve gotten you $195,000. In this scenario, you receive $5,125 more with an agent (an additional $10,000 on your home sale minus $4,875 to your agent). Only you know how comfortable you feel with pricing your home and negotiating on your own behalf.
How do I know if I can do FSBO on my own?
Take this quick quiz to see if you’re ready to take on the FSBO challenge:
I want to sell my house by owner because:
a. It seems easy
b. I want to save money
I know I can sell FSBO because:
a. I’ve lived in the neighborhood forever and I know someone will buy this house
b. No one will work harder to sell my house than me
3. I will calculate my house price based on:
a. What I paid for my home and the amount of money I put into the house
b. Comparable properties in the area that sold in the last six months
If I’m in a housing negotiation, I will:
a. Turn down any buyer who doesn’t offer full price
b. Understand that my house is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay
If you answered “a” to any of these questions, remember that selling a house by owner will be a significant investment of your time. Your tenure in the neighborhood will not matter to buyers and the dollars spent on updates isn’t always proportional to an increase in home value. Even if you receive a lowball offer from a buyer, play the game and negotiate. Know your goals and your walkaway price ahead of time, and remember to be flexible when needed to achieve your long-term goals.
What should I do first if I’m selling FSBO?
Declutter. Whether you’re using a real estate agent or you’ve decided to go the FSBO route, you must declutter. Decluttering is the secret to happy moving and happy selling. I could go on for days about decluttering, so here are some other posts to help you through the decluttering process. Moving with kids? See how I declutter with my kids.
I’ve decluttered, staged my home, and taken gorgeous photos. What’s next?
Find a For Sale By Owner company online that offers you an MLS listing. In Illinois, this service costs approximately $300. Getting an MLS listing is critical because this is how buyers and real estate agents will know your house is for sale.
Should I stay in my house for FSBO showings?
This depends on you and your comfort level about strangers walking through your home. When we sold our house FSBO in Lincoln Park, I stayed at home for all of the showings. What made this difficult was that I was a stay-at-home mom with three kids under the age of three with no family nearby and no childcare. However, I didn’t want the buyers to come into a house filled with children and chaos, so my friend, Karen, rescued me during those last minute showings with impromptu playdates. My husband handled the evening and weekend showings by taking the kids to Potbelly’s. Yes, we bribed our children with chocolate milkshakes.
When we sold our home in Knoxville, I stayed home for the first showing, but then decided to get a lock box for our front door. I liked the flexibility this provided. We didn’t need to rush back if we were out of the house when an agent called to see the house an hour later . Also, I could take the kids to the park instead of trying to find someone to watch them while I handled a showing.
What’s the downside of staying home during FSBO showings?
People will criticize your home. Because buyers need to differentiate homes in their own minds, they often point out the negatives about everything. You may be surprised to hear buyers comment on what cereal you eat or why your daughter’s Pack ‘n Play is in the master bedroom. Try not to take it personally, and don’t let it affect your ability to negotiate in a professional manner.
Should I buy a home camera?
Again, this depends on you and your concern for safety. When we sold our FSBO homes, home cameras weren’t as readily available as they are today. If it makes you feel better, then purchase a home camera that you can take with you to your next place.
Do you have any more tips on selling a home by owner?
Why, yes, I do. Check out this post for more FSBO tips, but if you’re short on time, just remember to hire a lawyer to help you through the process.
If you have any specific questions, I’m happy to help, so please comment below. If you sold your home by owner, what did you learn that could be helpful to the rest of us? Thank you!