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7 min read Mar 02, 2023

For Sale By Owner Meaning


FSBO websites are widely believed to help people save money and sell their homes easily on their own. With these websites, you can list your house for sale on your own instead of hiring an agent.

Your home will get listed, people will contact you, see your house and you’ll find a buyer. You can even save about 3% in real estate agent commissions. But what is For Sale By Owner in Real Estate, and how does it work?

In this article, we will try to understand FSBO, Its features along with some pros and cons.

Key Takeaways

  • “For sale by owner” is when a homeowner sells their own home without the help of a real estate agent.
  • Usually, a home seller pays an average real estate commission of 5% to 6%.
  • MLS is an important FSBO tool. Homes on the MLS sold faster and for 17% more than homes not on the MLS.

FSBO Meaning

For Sale By Owner or FSBO (pronounced “fizz-bo” or “fisbo”) is the process of selling a house without a realtor.

You will be responsible for the entire sale process, including listing, showing, hosting open houses, negotiating offers, and closing.

How Does For Sale By Owner Work?

Selling For Sale By Owner basically means taking the responsibilities of the listing agent. Here is what the typical process of FSBO looks like:

  1. You start by looking for real estate comps in your neighborhood to get a general idea of the property’s value.
  2. You have to set a fair asking price for your home.
  3. Once the asking price is fixed, you can start marketing your home. There are different ways you can market your home such as:
  4. After marketing comes to the Negotiation of terms and conditions. This is a good time to hire a real estate attorney. A lawyer can ensure your interests are represented in the contract.
  5. You have to write your own FSBO contract, sign it, and notarize it. Usually, the buyer’s agent prepares the contract and other deeds.
  6. At last, you can accept the offer and start with the closing process.

For Sale By Owner: Pros and Cons

Going purely FSBO gives you complete control over the home-selling process. However, statistic have shown that FSBO homes sell for less.

That’s why, before taking the FSBO route, weigh the pros and cons to find which way could work the best for you.

For Sale By Owner Benefits

  • Save Thousands Of Dollars: With FSBO, you don’t need to pay any commission as you market outside MLS and hire no agent.
  • Full Control over the Transaction: Essentially, as the homeowner, you self-represent your property instead of dealing with a listing agent.

Disadvantages of For Sale By Owner

  • FSBO requires time and effort: You are the sole person responsible for marketing your house, drafting the listing paperwork, etc. Your property’s days on market could increase if you don’t market it methodically.
  • Negotiating offers can be challenging: Negotiating is a tough game, especially when your buyer is represented by an agent. That’s why you need to know how to navigate your home sale transaction so that it benefits you.
  • No access to MLS: On the flip side, without a Realtor, you have no access to the MLS. Homes listed on the MLS sold 17% higher than the homes sold off MLS.

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What is the MLS?

MLS, or the Multiple Listing System, is a local database used by real estate agents to list a property for sale. Only licensed agents have access to the MLS.

There are 600+ local MLS’ in the US. Your property gets listed on your local MLS, where buyer agents can find your listing.

What is a For Sale By Owner MLS Listing?

FSBO MLS listing is an entry-only listing service offered for a one-time flat fee. It is also called an “entry-only” MLS listing; a “sell your home yourself” MLS listing or a do-it-yourself (DIY) MLS listing.

Although your listing is still done by a listing agent, they are not responsible for the transaction afterward. All buyer leads are forwarded directly to you without passing through your listing agent.

Where Can I List My Home For Sale By Owner?

You can list your house For Sale By Owner on FSBO sites like Houzeo, Fizber, and Flat MLS Fee Realty. There are 2 types of FSBO websites where you can list your home For Sale By Owner:

  • Paid FSBO Websites: All paid FSBO sites will get you listed on the MLS – the most powerful marketing tool for home sellers. MLS syndicates your listings to Zillow, Redfin, Trulia,, and 100s of other websites.
  • Free FSBO Websites: Free FSBO sites will limit your listing exposure to just those websites. No MLS exposure means less competition for your property, and thus a lower sale price for you.

Benefits of a For Sale By Owner MLS Listing

  • Maximum Exposure: All FSBO MLS listings get syndicated to Zillow, Trulia,, Redfin, and hundreds of other websites.
  • Marketing to Buyer Agents: 90% of home sales involve buyer agents with access to the MLS. Thus, MLS is the most efficient way to market to buyer agents.
  • Faster Home Sale: Listings on the MLS 17% sold faster than those not on the MLS.
  • Getting Cash Offers: Cash home buyers track the MLS for properties. This includes iBuyers like Opendoor and Offerpad and “We Buy Houses for Cash” companies, including real estate investors and house flippers.

FSBO Challenges

Selling your house by owner will never be leisurely. Let’s look at the common FSBO challenges:

  • Inaccurate Pricing: Pricing your home accurately directly affects its Days on the Market. Likewise, pricing too high will discourage buyers from putting in an offer, and pricing too low won’t bring you any profit.
  • Challenging Paperwork: FSBO paperwork includes essentially includes FSBO contract and seller disclosures.
  • Time-Consuming: As an FSBO home seller, you must dedicate enough time to the transaction. You will also be responsible for prepping your house, marketing, showings, negotiating offers, etc.

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How Much Does it Cost to Sell a House by Owner?

The fees to sell a house by FSBO include the upfront Flat Fee, typically $399, and expenses incurred during the property’s marketing. A For Sale By Owner transaction includes multiple costs such as:

  • Appraisal: An appraisal cost ranges from $313 to $421.
  • Photography: Aesthetically appealing photos were found useful by 87% of home buyers. The cost of professional photography differs based on state.
  • Marketing: Everything related to making the property visible to potential buyers, such as yard signs, newspaper ads, etc.
  • FSBO MLS Listing: Fees related to listing the home on the open market. If you opt for a Flat Fee MLS Service, the fees lie between $299 and $499.
  • Sales Contract: Getting the FSBO Contract reviewed by a real estate attorney will only cost around $300 to $500 but prevent any unwanted legal issues.

Some optional FSBO expenses are Property Survey/Land Survey, Marketing costs, Home Staging expenses, Exterior paint, etc.

» For Sale By Owner Closing Costs: Everything you need to know about an FSBO Closing Costs

Is FSBO the Best Way to Sell Your Own House?

Absolutely yes!

But you should supplement your FSBO listing with an MLS listing. You can save thousands on commission with MLS For Sale By Owner. You also retain full control of your sale. And you get the power of the MLS to market your home to buyers and buyer agents.

With new-age top For Sale By Owner companies like, you’ll be guided through the FSBO sale process. Houzeo technology limits any downsides of a pure FSBO sale.

Here’s a quick recap of the best FSBO websites in America:

Reviews: America’s Best FSBO Websites

We’ve reviewed the best paid and free For Sale By Owner Websites in 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What's the difference between for sale and for sale by owner?

The term For Sale means offering your property for purchase, whereas For Sale By Owner means selling your home by yourself.

2. Is it hard to list for sale by owner?

No, it is not hard to list for sale by owner as you take full command of the transaction.

How do you market a For Sale By Owner?

3. There are different ways you can market your homes such as staging your home, putting up yard signs, organizing Open houses, etc.

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