For Sale By Owner
For Sale by Owner FSBO-specific listings on a leading FSBO website FSBO.com FSBO buyers and sellers looking for a FSBO-specific site similar to For Sale by Owner
Fizber Smaller FSBO-specific site with a free basic listing package Owners.com FSBO-specific listings on a FSBO site comparable to Fizber
Zillow & Trulia Best overall non-FSBO-specific website that also offers specific FSBO listings
Redfin Those looking for a general real estate listing site similar to Zillow for their FSBO
HomeFinder.com Another non-FSBO-specific listing site with a section for residential FSBO buyers and sellers
eBay Best overall auction website that allows for the buying and selling of FSBOs
Craigslist FSBO buyers and sellers who are looking for a stripped-down listing site with a large reach
LoopNet Another general listing site option that allows for FSBO listings Facebook Those looking to list their FSBO on a large social network with a marketplace and advertising
1. Make Your Home Look Great Presentation is everything. Home buyers are attracted to clean, spacious and attractive houses. Your goal is to dazzle buyers. Brighten-up the house and remove all clutter from counter tops, tables and rooms. Scrub-down your house from top to bottom. Make it sparkle. Simple aesthetic improvements such as trimming trees, planting flowers, fixing squeaking steps, broken tiles, shampooing rugs and even re-painting a faded bedroom will greatly enhance the appeal of your house. Also, make sure your house smells good. That’s right, clean out the cat box and light mildly scented candles. Invite a neighbor over to walk through your house like a buyer would. Get their opinion on how it “shows.” The stuffed donkey in the family room may have to go to your in-laws for a while. 2. Price Your Home Right Careful not to over price your home. Over-pricing when you sell a home reduces buyer interest, makes competing homes look like better values, and can lead to mortgage rejections once the appraisal is in. Over-pricing when selling a home is the single biggest reason why many “for sale by owner” (FSBO) home sellers don’t sell their homes successfully. The home selling market dictates the price (not what you think it should be worth). One of the best ways to correctly price your house when selling is to find out how much other homes, similar to your own, recently sold for in your neighborhood. Talk to home sellers, buyers and check out the real estate listings in your local newspaper. Typically, if you set the price of your home at 5 to 10 percent above the market price, you are likely to end up with an offer close to your home’s true value. Also, you may try calculating the cost per square foot of your home compared to the house selling prices in your area (divide list price by square footage of livable space). If your house has more features or other desirable qualities, you may want to set a slightly higher house selling price. The easiest way to accurately price your home is to contact your local home appraiser.
3. Hire a Real Estate Lawyer Even though it’s an additional expense, it may be wise to hire a lawyer who will protect your interests throughout the entire transaction. An experienced real estate lawyer can help you evaluate complicated offers (those with a variety of conditions), act as an escrow agent to hold the down payment, evaluate complex mortgages and/or leases with options to buy, review contracts and handle your home’s closing process. They can also tell you what things, by law, you must disclose to buyers prior to a sale and can also help you avoid inadvertently discriminating against any potential buyers. In some areas, title companies will handle all aspects of the transaction and have in-house legal departments that can assist you with legal issues that may arise. To locate a title company in your area, visit our Find a Pro page. Unless you’re significantly experienced in the home selling process, having a real estate lawyer at your side provides peace-of-mind. You know you’ve got someone looking out for your interests, not just the buyers. To locate a lawyer in your area, visit our Find a Pro section.
4. Market Your Home for Sale Exposure, exposure, exposure. That’s how sellers sell their home fast. ForSaleByOwner.com provides extensive listing exposure because hundreds of thousands visit the website every day. In fact, ForSaleByOwner.com is one of the top 25 most visited real estate websites in the U.S. getting millions of visitors looking to buy or sell a home every month. Write Your Listing Ad While For Sale By Owner.com allows you a longer description of your house than you could afford that in a newspaper ad, your advertising copy should be thorough yet short, simple and to-the-point. Long, flowery prose will not make your house sound more appealing. It will simply make it harder for the home buyer to read. Make sure to provide the critical facts buyers are looking for such as the house’s number of bathrooms, a re-modeled kitchen, etc. Most home buyers quickly scan ads, so it is important that your house stands out. For example, you may want to add a theme-line such as “Priced below market” or “Great schools.” Stay away from industry jargon and use language that makes home buyers comfortable. Survey our web site and see how others have written their ads. You will quickly see which are “buyer friendly.” Copy their approach for your ad. Home Photos: Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words If you are taking a photo of your home, be sure that the home’s yard/driveway is uncluttered. Remove bikes, garbage cans and parked cars. The same applies for interior shots. People are looking to buy your house, not your possessions. Think of furniture as props and the room a stage. Move things around if you have to. Also, take lots of house photos. Film is cheap…your home deserves quality. The more you shoot, the better the odds are that you’ll get a few really good shots. Yard Signs Lawn signs are one of the most important marketing tools for home sellers. They attract attention to your home. Professionally-produced yard signs (like the ones we can send to you) telegraph to home buyers a “quality” image of your house. Directional signs also help drive buyers to your property, especially if you do not live on a busy street. Open Houses Open houses are sometimes a good way to attract buyers to your home. Typically, real estate agents conduct open houses for two reasons; 1. Clients expect them 2. They are a good way to attract buyers, not just for the open house but for all houses for sale in the Real Estate Agent’s area (yes, your competition). The fact is that very few houses sell due to a open house itself. Home Brochures/Information Sheets It is a good idea to create an information sheet (with a photo) about your home to give potential buyers. Consider printing copies of your ad from For Sale By Owner.com to give to people who visit your home. The MLS The MLS or Multiple Listing Service can also help market your home, particularly to real estate agents who may know of buyers seeking a property like yours. The MLS is a directory used by real estate agents to announce to other agents that they have a home for sale. In many selling markets, For Sale By Owner.com can put your house on the MLS (for an additional fee). However, if a real estate agent finds you a buyer after seeing your home on the MLS, you must usually pay that agent a 2.5% to 3% commission (the law states that all commissions are negotiable, however). You are your home’s best salesman. As every salesman knows, to be effective you have to really know your product. And who knows your home better than you? Certainly not a real estate agent, who, in all likelihood, has spent only a few moments in your house before showing it to prospective buyers. Sell your neighborhood as well as your house. Show enthusiasm, but don’t get caught-up talking too much about how “your daughter spent the best years of her life in this very room.” 5. Negotiate and Accept an Offer When a home buyer makes an offer (this is often presented to you directly from the buyer or through their lawyer), you should consult with your attorney. Buyers and sellers have an Attorney Review Period, which is usually three days, to cancel or amend the offer. The offer becomes a contract at the end of the Attorney Review Period, and is binding. Many of your home’s offers can be complicated and contain special clauses that favor the buyer. Purchase Price Isn’t Everything Carefully consider the purchase contract’s other terms and conditions. Too many contingencies can leave loopholes and cause a deal to collapse. Especially avoid contingencies that favor the house’s buyer, such as linking the escrow closing date to the buyer’s sale of their current home. If the buyer insists on such terms, include a so-called kick-out clause in the contract that will allow you to consider other offers if the buyer isn’t able to sell within a certain period of time. Assess Your Buyer’s Financial Qualifications Is the buyer pre-approved? How much of a loan is the buyer seeking? Unless you are in an active market, lenders tend to shy away from underwriting a deal in which the purchase price is higher than the nearest comparable sale and the buyer is putting less than 10% down. If this is the case, your buyer may not be able to obtain financing. Know the Home Selling Market How you judge an offer also can depend on market conditions. If the selling market is slow, you may feel vulnerable, especially if circumstances are pressing you to sell. Make sure any offer you accept does not keep you in escrow longer than 30 days. In a hot market where multiple offers are likely, be wary of countering more than one offer at a time (you could end up in legal trouble if two buyers both accept your counter offer). Also be wary of offers that promise more money but contain poor contract terms (long escrow, multiple contingencies, etc.). If you feel the home’s offer is insufficient, make a counter offer. Rarely is a first offer the buyer’s absolute highest price they are willing to pay. Negotiating is part of the home selling process. Again, your lawyer should review the details of all offers.
6. Home Inspections All standard real estate contracts are going to give the prospective home buyer the right to inspect your property – so be prepared. Under a general inspection you are obligated to make major repairs to appliances, plumbing, septic, electrical and heating systems – or the buyer may cancel the offer. The inspection will also include your property’s roof, as well as a termite inspection (in some states, house sellers must provide proof that the home is termite free). If you are concerned about how your home will fare when inspected, you may want to visit your local inspector. They can conduct an inspection for you before a potential buyer has one done. This way, you can address the problems before a buyer stumbles upon them. Once the inspections are complete, the buyer makes an application to a mortgage lender.
7. Buyer Appraisals and Other Details The mortgage lender will order an appraisal of your home to make sure they are not paying more than the house is worth. They may also order a surveyor to make sure that the property boundaries are properly laid out. They will also order a title search to determine if there are any liens against your property. These tasks are all the responsibility of the buyer and/or their attorney. At this point too, the mortgage company will issue a commitment. Again, the buyer (and their attorney) must complete all conditions listed on the mortgage commitment. Prior to closing, you should notify your lender that you will be paying off your mortgage. After a closing date has been agreed to, you should contact your utility providers and advise them of your final billing date.
8. Closing Time The day of the closing, the home’s buyer will do a “walk through” of the property to make sure all agreed repairs are completed and that the home is in the same condition as when the buyer made their offer. If problems arise at this point, the closing can still take place with funds held in escrow to remedy the problem. Closings usually occur 30 to 45 days after you have signed the sales contract. Depending on what state you reside in, you may close with an attorney, or with a title company. At the closing, all monies will be collected, any existing loans or liens will be paid, the deed will be transferred, and insurance will be issued insuring a free and clear title. The home seller will receive the proceeds of their home in one to two business days after the closing. Don’t Forget to Do Your Home Work This step-by-step home selling guide is a general overview of the process when selling a home. Each state has slightly different laws and customs as they relate to the transaction process. Selling a home yourself can be time consuming, but the financial rewards can be tremendous. With help from ForSaleByOwner.com, the process of home selling a home by owner as easy as possible.your bio here. Include accomplishments you want visitors to know about.
To determine the best for sale by owner sites, look at a variety of factors including how much it costs to list your property on the site as well as what features the site has, such as easy search functionality and interior and exterior photos.
Although you may think that Zillow would be the top place to list and look for FSBOs since it has the widest network, we recommend that buyers and sellers first use an FSBO-specific site and then expand their reach to all other applicable sites, including Zillow. The rationale behind this is that investors who buy FSBOs often visit FSBO-specific sites since there’s less competition and they feel like they can get a better deal by negotiating directly with the homeowner. On the contrary, Zillow attracts more owner-occupant buyers who are working with their own Realtors.
The best for sale by owner sites and determined the top ones by using the following criteria:
1. Cost to use the site
2. Site features
3. Traffic on the site
4. Types of properties the site lists
5. Areas the sites serve (we only included nationwide or mostly nationwide sites)
After compiling a list of the best for sale by owner sites, we recommend listing your property on all of them to gain the most market exposure. Since you’re saving money on real estate commissions, you might as well spend the money to list your property on every site including non-FSBO sites like Zillow. Some of the sites are free and some offer listing packages that range from $99 to more than $495, which is significantly cheaper than a 5 to 6 percent real estate commission. By the same token, buyers of FSBOs should also leverage all available sites. The reason for this is that if sellers are trying to leverage the widest network by listing on multiple sites, you can increase your chances of finding the right FSBO for your situation. Therefore, both buyers and sellers should use an FSBO-specific site if money or time is an issue and all of the sites if not.
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FSBO.com is the premire For Sale By Owner real estate website.
Sell Your Home For Sale by Owner and Save Fizber has helped thousands of homeowners sell their home and save since 2006. Average Fizber customer saves $15,000 selling their homes through the Fizber platform.