FSBO – Are You Sure You Want To Do This?

Sure some people have great results selling their homes without a professional.  Typically they are experienced, have a lot of market knowledge and lots of time.  When you sell your house on your own, you will take on all the responsibilities of a real estate agent. Most people end up frustrated and full of regret.  If you’re still going to try, here’s what to expect.


You’ll want to make sure you have an excellent lawyer.  You can take on a lot of what the realtor does, but the rest will need to be handled by your lawyer.  That means you’ll be spending a lot of extra time with your lawyer, and you can expect those extra costs.  With the real estate laws and contracts, you will need legal advice from someone with real experience.  Remember that oral agreements for the sale of real estate aren’t binding. Find out what groups are protected by human rights law in your area. Learn what provisions must, by law, be included in a sales contract in your state, and never sign anything without showing it to the lawyer first.

Do your homework.  New salespeople are required by every state to take courses in basic real estate, and to work under a broker’s supervision. Go to the library and take out all the books you can find on selling one’s home, and a couple of general real estate textbooks. Agents do a great deal of studying–if you are going to do the agent’s job, you should too.

Your most important single step is setting the right price. Set the figure too high, and no one will look at the place. But if your house sells in one day because you priced it too low, you’ve out-smarted yourselves. Read the ads for your neighborhood to help you get a feeling for price. Pay for a professional fee appraisal of the market value of your house.

Figure out how much income a buyer will need in order to qualify for a mortgage on your home. Learn to ask people about their finances before you start negotiating, or even showing the property. Otherwise you are just wasting everyone’s time. Insist on a satisfactory credit check on the buyers before you accept any purchase offer. You could find your property tied up for months in a contract that eventually goes nowhere.

Beware of scams and make sure you protect your family. Don’t admit a passing stranger who might knock. Show the property by appointment only and ask for phone numbers “so we can call back and confirm the time”, a safety precaution. Watch out for callers who don’t even care how many bedrooms you have, and are interested only in whether you’ll sell with nothing down — and hold the mortgage yourself.

Finding someone who wants to buy your home is just the beginning. Allowing enough time to find the highest offer, making sure the buyers are financially qualified, agreeing on a proper contract for sale, and seeing the transaction through the paperwork down to final closing are the largest part of the job.

If you’re going to sell your house without an agent, be sure you check Helen’s tips and tricks to make sure you do it right.  For more advice, call Helen at 847.967.0022 or email [email protected].