Angie's LIST Guide to
For Sale By Owner

Selling a home by yourself takes time, energy and the right information. Learning to market your home and determining the perfect price are crucial. Is it worth selling a home by yourself? Possibly. Many factors should play into a homeowner's decision.


home exterior
Homes sold by owners take work to establish a presence on the maket, but this practices eliminate costs associated with real estate agents. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Paul C.)

Should you attempt a FSBO?

Homeowners that attempt to sell a house on their own can often endure a time-consuming chore. Still, faced with paying out a large sales commission to a Realtor, the idea of a "For sale by owner" approach can be attractive to many.

Anyone considering their options needs to evaluate the market and the potential benefits of listing with a realtor. A more active market means selling a home will be easier. Commission rates are likely to be less volatile than buying patterns in a housing market. With large overhead costs and little incentive to hassle over a few thousand dollars, Realtors in a bull market could be more of a burden for an astute homeowner.

The internet has revolutionized the exchange of information and bridged the gap between the homeowner and the buyer, a space traditionally occupied by real estate agents only. With innovative tools available to alleviate some of the time constraints, a sale by owner experience is increasingly convenient.

Challenges with a For Sale By Owner

There are several hurdles homeowners have to overcome if they are not dedicating a full-time pursuit to selling a home.

Setting a price

Possibly the most important aspect of attracting the right buyer is a competitive price that matches that market. A homeowner should evaluate the real value of their home, assess the prices of homes recently sold in the area and determine the amount of selling activity currently happening in the area.

Showing the home

Keeping appointments with interested buyers, opening your home to walk-in visitors and staging the home for visits are crucial, but time-consuming tasks in selling a home. Homeowners must keep an organized approach to the in-person interactions in the process.

Negotiating a contract

Setting the right price is crucial to properly starting any negotiation process. However, once a buyer is teetering on the edge of purchasing the home is important to secure a final offer you are comfortable with. Home sellers should gauge the interest of the buyer, their level of motivation to buy and where the negotiation is going compared to where they assumed the price would be.

Promoting your home online

Most potential buyers start their search for a new home online. Therefore, any homeowner looking put their house on the market needs an aggressive approach to marketing it online.

Homeowners can first create a web presence by developing a website centered on selling their home. Purchase a relevant web address that matches your address or location and add as much detail with text and pictures to give the feeling of a virtual tour. This allows interested buyers to have many of their questions answered before they decide to show up in person. The quickness of finding information online saves both the homeowner and buyer time. Listing a competitive price upfront also deters unqualified buyers from show initial interest.

Many homeowners also market their website and property in existing online outlets for real estate listings, many of which are free. Adding valuable and thorough information significantly increases the attractiveness and the return on the work put forth to market the property through external sources.

Leave a Comment - 6


Charles Albert

Subject: Learn to use spell checker

'years' is not spelled eyars

Garrett Kelly
Garrett Kelly

Subject: EYARS

Hey Charles, this is Garrett K., community moderator. I have updated the misspelled word. Nice catch! Thanks for pointing it out to us. Have a great day!

holley bradshaw

Subject: selling my house

i want to for sale by owner, and the home has no mortgage, since the housing market crash i have no idea what its worth, should i have an apprasial done first before putting it up for sale??

David Zagorsky

Subject: Selling Your Home

The inventory of homes for sale nationally is very small. I have been a real estate broker in San Diego for 35 years. Any listing that is priced right now will get multiple offers.
You can pay an appraiser but consider having three agents give you presentations that include a CMA. This would give you price comparisons to your home at no cost to you.


Subject: real estate

trying to find a agent that will help sell my moms house how do i choose the best one had a rough start with one so far


Subject: Finding the right agent

The best way to choose an agent is to interview AT LEAST 3 different agents (from different brokers) and ask the right questions. Unfortunately there are still agents out there that think a sign in your yard and an open house will sell your home. Ask the agents during the "interview" (I like this term because they should be interviewing for the job so to speak) how they market their listings. Answers should include things like direct mail marketing but mainly online marketing of your home. There are over 900 real estate websites and they should be hitting every one in order to be seen by potential out of state buyers as well. Little things like virtual tours and professional pictures on the homes website make a HUGE difference. Direct Text lines given on the properties sign gives a potential buyer instant access to all the homes information and a direct link your homes website. ALL of these techniques and more should be common practice for the agent you choose. Also, find out how many homes the typical agent in your area sells per year and compare that to the agents you are interviewing. Keep in mind most agents work part-time or split their time between buyers and sellers so you will probably not be getting 100% of their time. Potential buyers now days are more likely to narrow down their home search in the comfort of their kitchen table then spending weekend after weekend traveling to open houses. Technology is now the successful agents best friend...hope this helps!

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