In this hot market, 77% of FSBO homes are selling in less than 2 weeks. Selling FSBO is more popular than ever. And it’s more high-tech than ever.
» Jump To:
- Before You List
- Risks & Benefits
- Getting Your House Ready
- Disclosure Requirements
- Property Description
- Best Time to Sell
- Listing Your House
- Managing Showings & Offers
- Selling by Owner vs Selling with a Realtor
- What Your State Requires?
- Final Word
How to Sell a House by Owner?
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) represents the home selling method where no Realtor is involved in the listing process. Here are the steps to sell your house FSBO:
1. Should I Sell My Home by Owner?
Real estate commissions in the US have expectedly surpassed $100 billion in 2021. To break free of these hefty commissions, 36% of Millennials, 26% of Gen Xers, 22% of Boomers, and 19% of Silent Gen try to sell their homes by owner.
Most importantly, in our experience buyer agents are not at all averse to working with FSBO homes themselves.
👍 Advantages of Selling a House For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
- Savings on Commission: American home sellers spend around $25,722 on real estate commission (based on median home values). Selling your own house can help you save 2.5% to 3% listing agent commission.
- Speed to Market: 77% of the FSBO homes sell in less than 2 weeks. FSBO websites like Houzeo can get you listed within 24-48 hours, or faster!
- Control Over Transaction: By interacting directly with the buyer or buyer agent, you reduce intermediaries. Also, there is no listing agent contract involved when you sell your house yourself.
👎 Disadvantages of Selling a Home For Sale By Owner
- Poor Customer Service: If you don’t get help when you need it, FSBO can become a very expensive experiment very fast. Be sure to read reviews to know how an FSBO site’s customer service is.
- Complex Paperwork: Real estate transactions involve very complex paperwork when selling your house by owner or even otherwise. This includes listing documents, sell-by-owner contracts, disclosures, closing documents, and more.
- Hidden Fees: Homeowners selling their property usually opt for, Flat Fee MLS and FSBO companies. But, many of them are notorious for their hidden fees.
💲 Houzeo Discloses All Costs Upfront
Houzeo reveals all its prices and rates upfront. Sell your house with Houzeo.com for a small flat fee – as less as $349!
START YOUR MLS LISTING NOW
2. How do I Prep My House for Sale?
Making your home look its best self works wonders. Complement every room in a way that they narrate a story, don’t let furniture consume all the space, and create a visually appealing first look.
Here are a few best practices you can stick to while selling your house by owner:
- Repaint Neutral: Neutral colors appeal to a wider range of buyers.
- Clean: Scrub, shampoo, wash, and deep clean every nook of your house.
- Improve Curb Appeal: Clear landscape or plant fresh flowers. First impressions are everything!
- Stage: Hire a professional stager or organize your furniture to make rooms look neat and spacious.
- Declutter & Depersonalize: You want the buyers to imagine their own life in your house, not yours.
- Showcase Natural Light: Natural light helps. Ensure you have opened curtains and blinds. Make sure every room has ample light, and add bulbs if necessary.
- Make Repairs: If there’s anything glaringly wrong, take care of it early. For instance, a squeaky doorknob will not be overlooked by potential buyers. It is best to get such defects fixed.
3. Do I have to Fill Out a Seller’s Disclosures?
Here are some of the common disclosures required while selling your house on your own:
- Property Disclosure: It is a document that contains all the general information about the property. This typically includes material defects, features, nature of occupancy, space to provide additional information, etc.
- Lead-Based Paint Hazard: As per the legal binding, for homes built before 1978, the seller should declare any lead-based paint hazards in the house.
- Flood Zone Statement: A buyer’s lender may require the concerned property’s flood hazard disclosures report before providing the loan. This could be important in mortgages that are backed by the federal government.
🎯 Houzeo Makes FSBO Paperwork Easy
With varying federal, state, and MLS requirements, paperwork can be daunting. Houzeo automatically assigns you the right paperwork to get your property listed. You can get a Licensed Broker to assist you with closing, if that’s all you need.
» List Now: Start your FREE listing on Houzeo.com!
4. How do I Price My Home when Selling by Owner?
Listing price is the single most important factor that will determine how quickly a home sells. Whether you’re selling a home by owner or not, the listing price is crucial for attracting a wide pool of buyers.
REMEMBER! The purpose of the LIST PRICE is to DRIVE TRAFFIC to your listing. It’s not your SALE PRICE!!!
What happens if you under-price or over-price your listing?
|If you price it too low||You will get multiple offers. You’ll likely call for “Highest & Best Offer” or counter the best offers. And you will sell at market price.|
|If you price it too high||You will get little interest. That’ll make you drop the price, and you will sell at the market price.|
Real estate brokers typically create a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine what’s an ideal listing price for a property. With Zillow and Redfin, you can easily create your own CMA and understand how selling a home in your state works.
5. How do I Create an Appealing Property Description?
While the photos grab the attention of the home buyers, an appealing property description retains it.
Here are a few best practices that can help you make an appealing property description:
- Craft a Catchy Headline: You only have a few seconds to grab the readers’ attention. So, keep your headline short and use descriptive words.
- Make an Opening Statement: Highlight the features of your property that could not fit in the headline. For instance, parking in city listings, mountain or lake views, etc.
- Choose Popular Adjectives: Listings that contain words like captivating, luxurious, impeccable, stainless, etc. are sold more than the ones that do not include them.
- Talk About Features: Mention name-brand appliances, type of flooring (cherry, walnut, etc.), energy-efficient devices like solar panels, wi-fi-enabled smart devices, etc.
- Mention Nearby Amenities: Talk about parks, schools, shopping places, recreational facilities, etc. located nearby.
Remember, you have a limited text space to talk about your property on the MLS. So keep your property descriptions as precise as possible.
6. When is the Best Time to Sell My House?
Home buying season starts in late spring and runs throughout the summer, peaking somewhere in the months of June and July.
Selling your house by owner during these months can help you fetch premiums of 10% or more.
21% of the homes are listed on a Thursday. Homes listed on Thursday tend to sell quickly and are more likely to sell above the list price.
👉 Is it a Good Time to Sell a House Now?
Yes. Never try to time the market – in the long term, that’s a difficult strategy.
7. How to Market Your Home For Sale by Owner?
95% of home buyers search and review homes online. Thus, getting maximum online exposure is the #1 priority for a seller when selling their house, combined with other marketing tactics.
Here are e six powerful ways of marketing your home when for sale by owner:
|1.||List on the MLS||Homes listed on the MLS sell faster and for 17% more. That doesn’t mean you need to hire a listing agent or pay that extra commission. Craft appealing listing descriptions to entice potential buyers. Use for sale by owner websites to list your home and offer a competitive buyer agent commission. That’ll have you in good stead to get top-dollar for your property.|
✍️ Pro Tip: Research the best For Sale By Owner websites to sell your house by owner
|2.||Get a Yard Sign||Do not get a “FOR SALE BY OWNER” yard sign. FSBO yard signs have a negative association. Additionally, it’ll limit your options because some MLS’ will not allow them. Instead get a “FOR SALE” yard sign, preferably with your phone number. Houzeo custom yard sign is $49 only, and it’s FREE with a selfie!|
✍️ Pro Tip: If you secure a buyer from a yard sign, chances are you’ll save on the buyer agent commission as well. Well worth the $49 investment!
|3.||Hire a Professional Photographer||As a seller, you can hire a professional real estate photographer to create a portfolio of your house. Professional photos can greatly impact the selling process by attracting more buyers.|
✍️ Pro Tip: A real estate photographer can collate a portfolio that otherwise may not be possible if you take up the job.
|4.||Share Your Listing on Social Media||Share your Houzeo listing on social media sites. It includes your contact info. If you share Zillow or Redfin listings, all the leads your listing generates will be sold to paying buyer agents who’ll demand a competitive buyer agent commission. |
Houzeo doesn’t sell your information or leads. All buyer leads see your contact info, so you might save the buyer agent commission.
✍️ Pro Tip: If you secure a buyer from social sharing, chances are you’ll save on the buyer agent commission as well.
|5.||Print Sales Flyers/Brochures||Have flyers and/or brochures readily available to give to people who look at your house. |
Include property specifics: property description, sale price, property address, and your contact details – both your phone number and email address.
✍️ Pro Tip: Act like a real estate professional: answer calls, be flexible about showings, hold open houses, and don’t take criticism seriously. You are learning how to sell a house by owner.
|6.||Run Ads||When selling your home, running ads on print and social media can help you attract more buyers.|
8. How do I Manage Showings?
Once your property is ready for showings, it is critical to manage them effectively. You want to know who has seen your property or expressed interest in seeing it. And you also want to track when a potential buyer last saw it.
Online showing scheduling tools provide buyers and buyer agents with a frictionless way to request and schedule showings. Cutting-edge showing technologies, like Houzeo Showings, also feature ways for buyers and buyer agents to provide feedback on your listing.
Houzeo Showings: How It Works
|1.||Set Showing Calendar||Buyers and buyer agents should only be shown times when the property is available for showing. This saves the time spent in correspondence of all parties.|
|2.||Request & Reschedule Showings||It’s critical that buyers and buyer agents can request showings at available times. Things do change sometimes, so they should be able to reschedule and cancel showing requests as well.|
|3.||Provide Feedback||Feedback from buyers and buyer agents is critical for home sellers. It allows them to assess if their property is priced too high, the backyard needs fencing, or the door lock was too difficult to open. If the property is on a major street, there’s nothing the home seller can do about it. But where the feedback is actionable, small remedies can go a long way in improving showings and attracting top dollar for your property.|
🗓️ Houzeo Showings: See how the most powerful showing app works on mobile and web
Introducing the Houzeo Mobile App!
- View your listing
- Review and compare offers
- Manage Showings Online
- Counter an offer
- NEW! Buyers can now search your property and save it in “Favorites”
9. How to Review and Negotiate Offers?
Though you are selling your home without a Realtor, the basics of what to do when you get offers remain the same – accept, decline, or ignore the offers (not recommended).
We suggest you review the offers on all their merits, and never ignore an offer. Even if it’s a low-ball offer, you should counter with what you would accept. Where you are sure you don’t want to counter or accept, just politely decline.
Countering an offer, or calling for the highest & best offers are 2 advanced tactics in every real estate agent’s arsenal. When selling your homes by owner, home sellers need to learn these 2 tactics.
Most companies will give you complex forms to counter an offer, or to request the highest & best. Houzeo has digitized these features. So, you can counter or ask for the highest & best offers with just a few clicks! That’s selling a house by the owner made easy.
Houzeo Offers: How To Counter or Request Highest & Best
|#||Advanced Tactic||When to Use||How to Use|
|1.||Counter an Offer||Single or Multiple Offer Situation||Your best offer is not just the highest one. It’ll be competitive across several parameters: deposit, financing, inspection contingency, closing timeline, etc. |
When countering an offer, you can request any of these parameters to be updated per your preferences.
▶️ Learn more: How to Counter an Offer on Houzeo
|2.||Request Highest & Best Offers||Multiple Offer Situation||If you have multiple offers, and a timeline by which you’d like to pick an offer, you can call for the highest & best offer from all interested parties.|
▶️ Learn more: How to Request the Highest & Best Offer on Houzeo
10. Title, Appraisals, and Inspections
Title, appraisals, and inspections are crucial parts of selling a house. They all require agents/companies that could verify the data and aid in the selling process.
- Title: The title company has the full history of a property. It ensures that the legal owner is identified in case of a legal dispute for the property.
- Inspection: The inspection agency inspects the property before the home buying process is completed. It checks for any defects/repairs in the property and raises concerns accordingly. This inspection ensures that the buyers don’t have to shell out money at their end in case there are defects in the property which were not highlighted by the seller.
- Appraisal: An appraisal officer does market research and evaluates the price of a specific property. The appraisal manager ensures that a correct price is offered by the seller and as per the market value.
11. How do I Handle Closings?
Selling a home by owner requires you to be a tad bit more prepared when it comes to paperwork at the time of closing. You are also required to take care of closing costs.
Even though your closing attorney or title agent will handle most of the legalities involved in a property transfer, you do have several obligations.
Here’s how to prepare for your closing day:
Review Your Closing Documents in Advance
Closing documents should generally be available to you in advance of the scheduled closing date. Review these legal documents at length and understand their provisions.
Here are some key documents you’ll likely sign at closing:
- The HUD-1 or Closing Disclosure: When homes are purchased with a mortgage, you’ll summarize the detailed costs in the Closing Disclosure. If your sale is all cash, you may get the HUD-1, which is less common. These documents detail the amounts you’re charged for, your loan payoffs if any, and the net proceeds you will take to the bank.
- The Deed: It enables the legal transfer of title from the seller to the buyer. Read this document carefully, verifying all details including the legal description of the property, the deed book, the deed book page, and the Property Identification Number (PIN), if any.
- Purchase Agreement: It is a standard form of real estate contract that details the terms of transactions. It contains aspects such as sale price, financing contingencies, property description, etc.
- Bill of Sale: It contains information about the sellers and the buyer with the selling price.
- Statement of Closing Costs: This statement summarizes all the expenses involved in the transaction.
- Certificate of Title: It allows you to state that you have the right to sell the property.
There are also additional documents required in the real estate selling process. These can vary from state to state. Some of the legal documents needed to sell a house by owner or even otherwise are stated below:
- Loan Payoff: You need to provide proper documentation if the disbursement of the loan amount has been completed. Else, you need to provide how much you still owe.
- HOA Forms: If the house is part of HOA, the seller needs to give the buyer all the documentation on restrictions, fees, financials, and more.
- Survey Papers: The documentation defines the location and the dimensions of the property. This is important while selling your own home.
- Repairing Proof: While selling real estate, if the seller has made repairs to the property before the sale, they need to furnish the relevant documentation.
- Power of Attorney: If the property is inherited, then the seller needs to furnish the details of the history and how the property was passed onto him/her.
- Home Inspection Report: This contains all the details about the inspection of the property.
- Home Warranty Papers: It contains all the coverage of the property, period, and cost of insurance.
- Correction Agreement: A correction agreement is a document that allows the buyers and sellers the scope to correct mistakes in some specific documents like a sale deed, a title deed, etc.
- Affidavits: A seller will need to provide a few affidavits like name affidavit, non-foreign, etc. This may also include affidavits like “Affidavit of Title” which discloses that you are the rightful owner of the property and that there are no liens on the property.
Check out our state-specific articles for more information on required documents.
🚀 Blast Past Paperwork With Houzeo
Houzeo is 100% online. You can finish the listing formalities in <60 mins. Start NOW!
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If this is your first time selling a property by an owner or learning how to sell your house by owner, schedule an appointment with the closing agent before the closing date. Before that appointment, do your research and clarify any doubts. Readiness on how to sell your house yourself makes a huge difference.
Bring TWO Forms of Official ID
There would be a licensed notary involved, who will require you to verify your identity. Thus, take a valid driver’s license or passport for identification. Carry a secondary ID, just in case.
Closing documents are legally binding agreements. Ensure you keep the paperwork error-free or you can derail your sale and be forced to re-list your house.
12. How Much are the Seller Closing Costs?
- Agent Commission: Even if you are selling your home by owner, there are chances that you will interact with represented buyers. You will shell out about 2.5% to 3% in the buyer agent commission.
- Title Insurance: It helps sellers/buyers from any legalities if there is a flaw in the ownership of the property. The insurance fee can be paid by either seller or buyer based on the negotiations.
- Transfer Tax: This cost is to be paid to the local government when there is a transfer of ownership of the real estate.
- Attorney Fee: If you are hiring a real estate attorney to aid in the selling process, then you will have to pay the attorney fee. In some states, an attorney acts as a closing agent which makes the real estate attorney fees compulsory.
- Property Tax: This tax is paid to the local government by the property owner.
- Capital Gains Tax: Many states require sellers to pay capital gains tax when they sell off a property. The capital gain is the difference between the cost at which the house was sold and the cost at which it was bought.
» Explore: Closing Costs For Sellers in the US
Selling by Owner vs Realtor
We have For Sale By Owner Websites like Houzeo that give your listing a good exposure at a flat fee. Here is a table showing how Houzeo beats selling with Realtor and selling purely FSBO:
With a Traditional Realtor
FSBO with Houzeo
|📱 Cutting-Edge Technology||❌||❌||✅|
|⚡ Superfast MLS Listing||❌||❌||✅|
|📢 Maximum Exposure||❌||❌||✅|
|⭐ 5-star Customer Support||❌||❌||✅|
|📅 Showing Management||❌||❌||✅|
|🔢 Offer Management||❌||❌||✅|
How to Sell Your House Yourself in the US?
To understand how selling a house for sale by owner works where you live, click on your state below:
|Northeast||Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont|
|Midwest||Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin|
|South||Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, D.C., West Virginia|
|West||Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming|
Bottom-line: Selling FSBO in the United States
FSBO route can be one of the best ways of selling your house by owner, but it makes the process a little complicated.
A seller will need to be aware of a lot of processes and documents that form a part of the process. In fact, for most new sellers, the extra bucks incurred come at a cost. Ultimately, you will have to be on top of many things to close the deal and may require professional help.
One of the best ways to sell a house by owner requires you to leverage a sophisticated For Sale By Owner platform like Houzeo.
Selling FSBO with Houzeo Tech & 5-star Customer Service
- Listing Fee: $349 onwards
- Available nationwide
- 4.9/5.0 (out of 3,190 reviews)
Houzeo provides the best combination of max savings, max exposure, cutting-edge tech, and 5-star customer service.
💰 Save Thousands on Commission: Houzeo’s plans are typically a small flat fee. This will save you thousands. If your buyer is unrepresented, you save the buyer agent commission as well.
📣 Maximum Exposure: Listings get syndicated to the MLS, Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, Trulia, and hundreds of other websites. Houzeo also has nifty social media sharing tools. No other platform gives you this much exposure.
⚡ Fast Listing & Changes: Houzeo is 100% online. Listing is easy and changes are fast. So you can focus on what is most important – your sale.
⭐ 5-Star Customer Support: Home sellers across America have rated Houzeo 4.9 out of 5 stars on major review sites like Google and Trustpilot. There is comfort in the fact that when you call, there is a live person picking up the phone on the other line.
📱 Cutting-edge Technology: Houzeo is the most powerful real estate website. Its advanced features include:
- IntelliList Listing Management System: Lets you manage your listing 100% online.
- Houzeo Showings: Manage showing appointments online.
- Houzeo Offers: All offers are summarized online. You can view and compare offers, or counter an offer. In a multiple-offer situation, you can also call for the highest and best offers.
- Buyer Search: Buyers can contact you directly on Houzeo.com instead of going through a real estate agent.
- Houzeo Settlement Agent Platform: Guides you to your closing.
No other low-cost real estate listing website comes close to offering such features.
- Nationwide coverage
- Listings get syndicated to Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Redfin, and 100s of other sites
- Quick listing (within a day with concierge)
- Savings on commissions
- 100% online – easy listing, fast changes, online showings, and online offers
- Mobile app availability
Houzeo is available nationwide.
» NEED MORE CLARITY? Read these exclusive Houzeo reviews and learn why the platform is the best in America’s competitive housing market.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can I sell my house without a Realtor?
Yes, you can sell your house without a Realtor via For Sale By Owner (FSBO).
2. Who pays closing costs when selling a house by owner?
Most of the closing costs are generally paid by the sellers. But some costs can be negotiated between the seller and the buyer.
3. How much money do you save selling by owner?
Homeowners can save a 3% listing agent commission by selling their houses themselves. If you get an unrepresented buyer, you can save an additional 3%.
4. What to know when selling a house by owner?
You must know the following when selling your home by owner:
1) The risks and benefits associated
2) How to get your house ready for sale
3) How to price your home competitively and as per market standards
4) A professional marketing strategy
5) Showing management tools available for buyers
6) How to negotiate offers based on market standards and your requirement
7) The closing documents and costs
5. How to put my house up for sale by owner?
You can either market your property offline using flyers, and yard signs, or get your relatives, friends, and neighbors to know about it. Or, you may also choose an FSBO platform like Houzeo that will help list your property on MLS and other 100+ real estate websites.
6. How to sell a house by owner for cash?
Sellers can sell their houses for cash by opting for various cash buyers. This includes retail cash home buyers, iBuyers and We Buy Houses For Cash Companies and investors. Read our Best Companies that Buy Houses for Cash to know more.
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