For Sale by Owner Home Sales Guide

For Sale by Owner Home Sales Guide

Are you interested in selling your house as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO)? While this path may not be for everyone, here is a step-by-step guide to being the most successful if this is the path you’ve chosen.

step 1

  • Study all the homes currently for sale in your area. Current listings in your neighborhood will be your main competition, so it’s important to make sure that your house is the best. If all the homes in your area have granite countertops and hardwood floors, then make sure yours does too. If not, you’ll home price will have to be competitive.
  • Study all the sold properties in your area. These homes will be your best source of data to determine an accurate listing price.
  • Study the amenities and upgrades. Amenities can really make or break the sale of your home. Try your best to determine what upgrades are relevant for your home to sell and make these changes accordingly.
  • Research the closing and selling fees. You’ll want to know the possible fees you’ll pay, in order to have accurate expectations at closing time. It’s common for the seller to pay most of the title fees and also to pay for possible repairs that are needed based on the buyer’s inspection report. The best way to research closing fees is to call your local title company, or ask a trusted Realtor to help you determine the fees you may incur.
  • Know your mortgage payoff. This payoff amount is the most important monetary value you will need to know when selling your home as a FSBO. Call your mortgage company to get the exact amount if it is not readily available on your mortgage statement. Make sure that your home can sell for enough to pay off your mortgage and pay for any closing fees, or you’ll be expected to bring money to the closing table.

step 2

  • Determine what needs to be done. If you have not done any upgrades or noticeable additions to the property, it’s likely that you’ll need to complete a substantial amount of work in order to prepare your home for the market. Take the time to carefully evaluate your home and make a list of everything that needs to be done. Once you know this, you can begin to plan out the process of improvements prior to listing your home.
  • Declutter, deep clean and landscape. Make your home look like a potential buyer could move into it tomorrow. Deep clean the windows, baseboards, ceiling fans, garages and any area that accumulates dirt. If you have a garden or yard, apply new mulch, pull weeds, and put in flowers. Everyone loves new so try and make your home look as close to a new builder home as possible.
  • Change out old fixtures.  If your fixtures haven’t been changed since the 80’s and 90’s, make sure to change them out. Change door knobs and hinges, old staircase banisters, light switches and possibly old doors. You want your home to look contemporary and with more current fixtures, your success for getting buyers to envision themselves calling your house their home increases exponentially.
  • Add upgrades that increase your home’s value. Study what types of upgrades will bring about the highest increase in home value. Kitchen countertops, master bathroom tile, stainless steel appliances, new carpet and wood floors are all great choices when deciding what upgrades to make. Stick with upgrades that will attract and hook your buyers.
  • Professionally stage your home. Statiscally, staged homes sell faster and for more money that those that are not staged. Rent a storage unit for all your non-necessities and store large pieces of furniture to increase the amount of floor space. If you’ve moved out of your home, stagers will fill it to make the home flow well. You don’t necessarily need to hire a stager, however, if you do try to stage your home on your own, make sure to get a second opinion.

step 3

  • Create a video walk-through. Video listings are the fastest growing form of real estate marketing. Consider hiring a real estate videographer who will present your home in the best possible light.
  • Use professional videos. Photos are the first online impression for homebuyers, whether they are virtual or not, so don’t take the easy way out. Take advantage of the power of pictures, using HDR image processing and at least a 10mm wide angle lens, along with great lighting and proper angles. If this does not mean anything to you, you may want to  consider hiring a real estate photographer.
  • Get it listed everywhere! Once your photos and videos are done, market your home everywhere. Start with the local MLS – you can use a flat fee realtor or ForSaleByOwner to get your property listed on the MLS site. Make sure it’s on Zillow, Trulia, Facebook, and Craigslist. Market your video on YouTube. Anywhere you can get your home listed, do it.
  • Track your online marketing process. After you’ve marketed your home, make sure to track the amount of traffic you’re receiving. This knowledge is extremely valuable to your selling success and if your marketing is not generating traffic, you’ll need to rethink your efforts and adjust your marketing strategies.

step 4

  • Research the necessary sales documents. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with all of the documents needed to complete a sale. These documents include a sales contract, a Seller’s Disclosure, if you’re home was built before 1978, you’ll need to have a Lead Based Paint Addendum. You’ll also need to know if any other disclosures are required for your local area.
  • Review, negotiate and sign an offer. Once you receive an offer, review it closely, making sure to fully understand all details. The sales price is just one piece of a sales contract. You’ll need to know what kind of financing your buyers are using, whether they expect you to help with closing costs, and if your property meets the guidelines required of their financing method. Additional information you’ll want to review is their earnest money amount, desired closing date and any contingencies they have placed on the contract. Preferrably, review these documents with a real estate professional or attorney in order to avoid any last minute surprised. After the offer is thoroughly reviewed, sign away!
  • Resolve inspection and appraisal issues. Your buyer will hire a home inspector to carefully inspect the home for any defects or needed repairs. Keep from being surprised by personally hiring a home inspector at the beginning of your selling process. Once your buyer submits a list of desired or mandated repairs, negotiate with them to keep the sale on track. Get these maintenance issues taken care of prior to the appraisal which can cause problems with financing if it comes in below value.
  • Continually follow up on your buyer’s lender. There are a number of issues that can cause financing to fall through. In order to avoid this, constantly check in with the lender to discover issues quickly and up front. Make sure your communication is frequent to make sure that your deal is still on track and that the closing date is realistic and doable.
  • Schedule closing and close the deal. Once you have passed the inspection and appraisal, coordinate a time with the title company to complete the transaction. Bring all your house keys, garage door openers, and any necessary documents for your buyers. Once you and your buyer have signed all the documents, you will have successfully sold your house on your own! Congratulations!!

For Sale by Owner sales are time consuming and stressful. If you choose to list your home on your own, follow this guide to help with your success. Good luck! And if you decide to sell your home with the help of a real estate agent in Northern Arizona, I’d love to help!