For Sale By Owner Websites Reviewed! Who’s #1 in 2020?

For Sale By Owner Websites - A 2019 analysis

For Sale By Owner sales are up. According to Redfin, 20% of homeowners sold their homes without hiring a full-service agent in 2016. In 2018, this number has gone up significantly, and is even more pronounced for homes valued at $1 million and up, where 37% of owners opted to sell their homes themselves or use a limited-service agent. And according to Stanford University and Northwestern University studies, these For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) likely got the same price or higher for their homes, than if they would have hired a full-service agent.

Homeowners today have more options to sell their homes themselves with several For Sale By Owner Websites available for them to choose from. But how do you assess of all the for sale by owner sites out there, which one is the best one?

In this article, we’re going to review all the different For Sale By Owner sites and assess them on what matters most to a home seller.

What are the different for sale by owner websites available?

  • Houzeo.com
  • ForSaleByOwner.com
  • Zillow.com
  • Trulia.com
  • FSBO.com
  • Fizber.com
  • Owners.com: No longer a FSBO site. Requires an agent
  • 4SaleByOwner.com
  • And several others, but we’ll only be covering the first 6 above because these are the most popular ones out there!

For Sale By Owner Website Review: How Do We Assess and Compare Each Site?

To come up with an assessment framework, let’s look at what’s most important to homeowners when selling their homes for sale by owner (FSBO):

  • Sellers Want the Most Profit in a Sale: According to the Zillow Group’s 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report survey, most sellers see their homes as an investment. It’s no surprise then that for over 50% of sellers, getting maximum returns was the most important consideration when selling their homes.
  • Sellers Want Control in their Transaction: 60% of baby boomers wanted to save money. But over 40% of younger sellers desire more control over the transaction.
  • Sellers Want to Save Time: The 3rd important finding was that time is an important consideration for home sellers. And towards that, getting maximum exposure for their property listing is key.

In addition to this, based on our years of experience helping homeowners sell their own homes, we also know the top 5 items that contribute to a successful FSBO sale.

The For Sale By Owner Website Review Framework

Now that we know what are the most important items for home sellers and the items that’ll help enable a sale, we’ve come up with a list of 6 dimensions below. We’ll give each website a score between 1 and 10, with 10 being excellent. We’ll also then calculate an average score and call it the FSBO Score. The FSBO Score indicates, in our opinion, the capability of that website to assist home sellers in selling their own homes. 10 is the perfect score, while 1 is poor.

So what are the parameters that form the FSBO Score?

  1. Maximum Exposure to Potential Buyers: The website has to provide access to maximum number of buyers, either via traffic to the site itself or via the combined exposure of the MLS.
  2. Maximum Access to Local Agents: 92% of buyers today are still represented by agents. And local agent mailing lists and hot-sheets are still very popular. So the website has to provide strong exposure to local agents.
  3. Ability to Offer Buyer Agent Commission: This is key to a quick sale. As mentioned above, 92% of homes are still sold with Buyer Agents. The website should allow the home seller to offer a Buyer Agent Commission.
  4. Control Over the Process: The website should make the listing easy to complete. It should also allow the home seller to order any optional item as necessary – like seller disclosures, yard signs, lockboxes, etc. And finally, it should make any changes to the listing, like price, status, and photo changes, easy to request.
  5. Speed of Listing & Changes: Being able to respond to the market is key. If you request a price change on Thursday, and it doesn’t get reflected till Saturday evening, you missed 2.5 days of prime exposure. And price, status, commission changes, and open house advertisements require signed contracts. The website should be able to provide digitally signed contracts easily.
  6. Lowest Fees. Maximum Savings: Finally, the website should make the home sale inexpensive.

Our infographic summarizes our analysis based on these 6-factors. Over the next week, we’ll be adding more detail and granular analysis on each site to this blog.

Reviews:

Houzeo.com

Houzeo claims to be the “Most Advanced For Sale By Owner Platform”. And there’s a reason why. Let’s review this website on each of the parameters above:

  1. Houzeo Provides Access to Over 160 million Potential Buyers: An MLS listing via Houzeo.com gets syndicated to Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Redfin, and more! Score: 10
  2. Houzeo Listings Go on Your Local MLS Where All Local Agents See It: Brokers on Houzeo.com will list on the local MLS where other agents search listings for their buyers. When local agents have listing updates sent to their buyers, your listing will get included too. Score: 10
  3. Houzeo Allows You to Set Your Own Buyer Agent Commission: Over 90% of buyers are represented by agents. This means almost all inquiries to your property will be from buyers represented by agents. If you don’t offer a fair commission to the Buyer’s Agent, most agents will skip showing your property and instead show others where they are being compensated adequately. Via Houzeo, you can offer a fair commission to the buyer’s agent. We recommend 2.5% in most markets for a fast sale! Score: 10
  4. Houzeo Offers You the Most Control Over the Process: Complete your listing online, fill out seller disclosures (if your agent offers them), order a yard sign, and make listing changes online. Houzeo offers you the most control over the process. Score: 8
  5. Listing & Changes to the Listing Are Fast!: The entire Houzeo listing process is online, and takes less than an hour to complete in many states. In many states, all the changes are online too! Still, there are several states still though where the process is offline, so we’ve deducted points for that. Score: 7
  6. Low Prices: Zillow and Trulia aren’t really free. They provide your leads to local agents, who’ll call and cost you time. Houzeo’s plans in most states start at $199 or less. Score: 10

That gives Houzeo a composite FSBO Score of 9.3, making it the best option for your home selling needs!


Houzeo’s Tasks Based Interface Makes it Easy to Complete Your Listing Online


Fsbo.com

Fsbo claims to be “The Premier For Sale By Owner Real Estate Website.”
Let’s review this website on each of the parameters above:

  1. Fsbo Provides Access to Over 160 million Potential Buyers: An MLS listing via Fsbo.com gets syndicated to Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Redfin, and more! However, Social Media sharing is unavailable. Score: 8
  2. Fsbo Listings Go on Your Local MLS Where All Local Agents See It: Brokers on Fsbo.com will list on the local MLS where other agents search listings for their buyers. When local agents have listing updates sent to their buyers, your listing will get included too. Score: 10
  3. Fsbo Allows You to Set Your Own Buyer Agent Commission: Over 90% of buyers are represented by agents. This means almost all inquiries to your property will be from buyers represented by agents. If you don’t offer a fair commission to the Buyer’s Agent, most agents will skip showing your property and instead show others where they are being compensated adequately. Via Fsbo, you can offer a fair commission to the buyer’s agent. Fsbo recommends 2-3%. Score: 10
  4. Fsbo Only Has Limited Control Over the Process: Fsbo does offer Yard Signs, Virtual Tour, Brochures and more but for additional purchase. Listing changes can only be done through coordinating with your listing agent and fees may apply. Score: 5
  5. Fsbo Only Has Manual and Offline Process. Speed of listing depends on how immediate your assigned listing agent can respond. MLS forms are not readily available to sign online, so you have to wait for your listing agent to contact you for the required MLS forms. Score: 5
  6. High Price. Getting listed on the MLS charges you $399.95, but it does not include any free changes. Changes require additional fees if applicable. The MLS package’s price is already equivalent to Houzeo’s Gold Plan which offers 10 free changes and more options like Federal and State Disclosures. Score: 7

That gives Fsbo a composite FSBO Score of 7.5.

Fsbo’s Available Packages for Home Sellers to Get Listed

Fizber.com

Fizber claims to offer the most advanced online marketing system, providing a comprehensive Marketing Portal that provides reports and statistics to help analyze your listing activity. Let’s review this website on each of the parameters above:

  1. Fizber Provides Access to Over 160 million Potential Buyers: An MLS listing via Fsbo.com gets syndicated to Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Redfin, and more! However, Social Media sharing is unavailable. Score: 7
  2. Fizber Listings Go on Your Local MLS Where All Local Agents See It: Brokers on Fsbo.com will list on the local MLS where other agents search listings for their buyers. When local agents have listing updates sent to their buyers, your listing will get included too. Score: 10
  3. Fizber Allows You to Set Your Own Buyer Agent Commission: Over 90% of buyers are represented by agents. This means almost all inquiries to your property will be from buyers represented by agents. If you don’t offer a fair commission to the Buyer’s Agent, most agents will skip showing your property and instead show others where they are being compensated adequately. Via Fizber, you can offer a fair commission to the buyer’s agent. Fizber recommends 2-3%. Score: 10
  4. Fizber Only Has Limited Control Over the Process: Fizber does offer Yard Signs, Virtual Tour, Brochures and more but for additional purchase. Listing changes can only be done through coordinating with your listing agent and fees may apply. Score: 5
  5. Fizber Only Has Manual and Offline Process. Speed of listing depends on how immediate your assigned listing agent can respond. MLS forms are not readily available to sign online, so you have to wait for your listing agent to contact you for the required MLS forms. Score: 5
  6. High Price. Getting listed on the MLS starts at $295, but it does not include any free changes. Changes require additional fees if applicable. The MLS package’s price is already equivalent to Houzeo’s Silver Plan which offers 10 free changes on the listing including photos and open houses. Score: 7
Fizber’s Available Packages with its Inclusions, Showcasing their Most Popular MLS Package at $295

That gives Fizber a composite FSBO Score of 7.5.

Zillow.com

Zillow houses a portfolio of the largest and most vibrant real estate and home-related brands on the web and mobile. It develops a comprehensive suite of marketing software and technology solutions to help real estate professionals maximize business opportunities and connect with millions of consumers. Let’s review this website on each of the parameters above:

  1. Zillow Provides Access to Over 160 million Potential Buyers: Listing via Zillow.com gets syndicated only to Trulia, reaching the largest audience of home shoppers on the web. However, Social Media sharing is unavailable. Score: 8
  2. Zillow Listings Don’t Go on Your Local MLS Where All Local Agents See It: Listings via Zillow.com don’t get syndicated to the MLS which means no exposure to local agents. Score: 0
  3. Zillow Does Not Have the Option to Set Buyer Agent Commission: Over 90% of buyers are represented by agents. This means almost all inquiries to your property will be from buyers represented by agents. If you don’t offer a fair commission to the Buyer’s Agent, most agents will skip showing your property and instead show others where they are being compensated adequately. Zillow.com doesn’t have the option to offer commission when you list your home. Score: 0
  4. Zillow Only Has Limited Control Over the Process: Zillow.com only provides free listing as For Sale By Owner with no MLS syndication. You may be required to pay fees to access certain features. Score: 5
  5. Zillow Has Instant Listing Process. The speed of listing and price changes are instant. Score: 10
  6. Zillow Offers Free Listing. Listing via Zillow.com is for free, including uploading a video and unlimited photos. Score: 10

That gives Zillow a composite FSBO Score of 5.8.

Zillow’s Zestimate allows you to get an estimated market value of your home for sale.

Trulia.com

With some 23 million monthly visitors, San Francisco-based Trulia is the second most popular real estate website after Zillow, at 36 million, according to analytics company eBizMBA. The two sites may seem much alike to users, and no wonder: Trulia was purchased by Zillow Group in a $2.5 billion deal in February 2015. Let’s review this website on each of the parameters above:

  1. Trulia Provides Access to Over 160 million Potential Buyers: Trulia gets for-sale listings through Zillow’s network of more than 235 multiple listings services (MLS). However, Social Media sharing is unavailable. Score: 8
  2. Trulia Listings Don’t Go on Your Local MLS Where All Local Agents See It: Listings via Trulia don’t get syndicated to the MLS which means no exposure to local agents. Score: 0
  3. Trulia Does Not Have the Option to Set Buyer Agent Commission: Over 90% of buyers are represented by agents. This means almost all inquiries to your property will be from buyers represented by agents. If you don’t offer a fair commission to the Buyer’s Agent, most agents will skip showing your property and instead show others where they are being compensated adequately. Trulia doesn’t have the option to offer commission when you list your home. Score: 0
  4. Trulia Only Has Limited Control Over the Process: Trulia only provides free listing as For Sale By Owner with no MLS syndication. You may be required to pay fees to access certain features. Score: 5
  5. Trulia Has Instant Listing Process. The speed of listing and price changes are instant. Score: 10
  6. Trulia Offers Free Listing. Listing via Trulia is for free. It also gets for-sale listings through Zillow’s free listings. Score: 10

That gives Trulia a composite FSBO Score of 5.8.

Trulia allows you to save the homes you are interested in.

Forsalebyowner.com

ForSaleByOwner.com claims to be the only place in America that offers all the benefits of selling on your own with a team of experts at your side, getting as much guidance as you need to sell your home successfully – on your terms. Let’s review this website on each of the parameters above:

  1. Forsalebyowner Provides Limited Access to Potential Buyers: Forsalebyowner has no MLS option and listings are only available to around 200k visitors of their website. Score: 2
  2. Forsalebyowner Listings Don’t Go on Your Local MLS Where All Local Agents See It: Listings via Forsalebyowner don’t get syndicated to the MLS which means no exposure to local agents. Score: 0
  3. Forsalebyowner Does Not Have the Option to Set Buyer Agent Commission: Over 90% of buyers are represented by agents. This means almost all inquiries to your property will be from buyers represented by agents. If you don’t offer a fair commission to the Buyer’s Agent, most agents will skip showing your property and instead show others where they are being compensated adequately. Forsalebyowner doesn’t have the option to offer commission when you list your home. Score: 0
  4. Forsalebyowner Only Has Limited Control Over the Process: Forsalebyowner only provides free listing as For Sale By Owner with no MLS syndication. You may be required to pay fees to access certain features. Score: 2
  5. Forsalebyowner Has Instant Listing Process. The speed of listing and price changes are instant. Score: 2
  6. Forsalebyowner Offers Free Listing. Listing via Forsalebyowner is for free. But their $399 plan, where you can work with an agent as your partner in getting your listing, doesn’t have syndications to MLS. Score: 0

That gives Forsalebyowner a composite FSBO Score of 1.

Forsalebyowner’s $399 plan can get your home listed on their website with a broker partner doing additional limited services as shown above.


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