How To FSBO Like a Pro
by Homepie | Published May 30, 2022 |6 Minutes
Are you getting ready to sell your home yourself and wondering how difficult it may be? Choosing “For Sale By Owner” means that you are taking on the tasks that an agent would take care of, and it can seem like a pretty big job. However, with the right tools and support, you can sell your home like a pro. Our expert team at Homepie has some tips to help you FSBO like a Pro!
Choosing the Right Price
One of the biggest mistakes we see with For Sale By Owner listings is that the seller either prices the home too high and it takes ages to sell, or they price it too low and end up losing money. What do the pros do to get the right selling price?
It all comes down to doing your research. You need to research comparable sales to get close to your home’s fair market value. This means comparing your home to other similar homes, as well as home prices in your neighbourhood. You can do this by reviewing public listing sites, however, you may not have access to all of the data that an agent has. However, Homepie gives you access to MLS data by letting you check your home’s estimated value based on real life current data.
You also need to see what the current housing market is like. If there are many buyers but not as many homes on the market, it’s referred to as a seller’s market. This means you have a better chance of setting a higher price and actually getting it. In a hot seller’s market, you have multiple offers and, even if you set the asking price a bit under, you could still be offered over the sale price. This happens all the time in a hot seller’s housing market.
On the flip side, when there are more homes than buyers, you have a buyer’s market. This means having to price your home more carefully. If buyers can find better-priced homes to choose from, it can take ages to sell your home and will often lead to having to lower the price. It’s a good strategy in a buyer’s market to price your home competitively in order to get to the sweet spot where you maximize your return.
Making Upgrades – Is It Worth It?
When selling your home, there’s nothing wrong with doing a bit of light remodeling to boost the attractiveness of the home. However, you need to weigh the investment against the return. You also need to keep design trends local to your area. Some features in one state or county may not be important in another area. In a seller’s market, some buyers may be willing to overlook some flaws because they just want to get the bid on a home. In a buyer’s market, however, you may need to entice them a bit more with light upgrades. If you know an upgrade will add value to the home, and that value outweighs the cost of making the upgrade, then it’s a good idea to do it.
Real estate contracts can be dicey, and you need to make sure you have all of the right boxes checked and have protected yourself. A real estate lawyer knows the hundreds of real estate laws that you need to watch for and can help you draw up your purchase contract and disclosures, but hiring an attorney can costs thousands so you will have to decide if the peace of mind is worth it. There are options in some states to be able to close without an attorney. Homepie’s system is built to help people through a real estate transaction from list, to negotiation, to contract, to closing. There are times when the advice of an attorney is needed to resolve a dispute or to guide a seller through a legal issue, but almost all Homepie’s real estate closings happen without an attorney. Homepie’s system is built to give you all the information and technology tools, including all legal paperwork needed, to successfully navigate the process with the ultimate level of confidence.
Homepie has an offer negotiation tool that makes it simple to negotiate all terms with your buyer. Once these basic but significant terms are agreed to, a Purchase Contract is generated. This is not to say you won’t need a lawyer at some point, but it’s very common for sellers on Homepie to make it through without and saving the cost.
As an added layer of peace of mind, Homepie also has a Seller Protection Program that offers a Seller Errors and Omissions type insurance for those sellers who take advantage of it. This offers protection from potential disgruntled buyers after closing.
You Need Some Negotiating Know-How
Somewhere along the line, you may be faced with a buyer that knows their stuff. Negotiating with buyers like this can be nerve-wracking. In most cases, you will need to deal with the buyer’s real estate agent. You need to prepare for things like having your appraisal come back lower than what you have listed the home for should the buyer want repairs to be made after they have their home inspection.
As mentioned above, Homepie has an offer negotiation tool that makes it easy to negotiate all standard terms with your buyer. Once these basic but significant terms are agreed to, a Purchase Contract is generated.
As you may know, negotiations aren’t finished when you are done negotiating the original contract terms. Once the buyer does an appraisal and an inspection, they will commonly ask the seller for some sort of concession which may mean asking for repairs, a monetary credit, or a purchase price reduction. Even though it’s not required to entertain a buyer’s request, you’ll want to be ready for this. In many cases it makes sense to give a little to grace to the buyer in order to get the sale closed. Homepie’s system helps you negotiate at this point of the process as well, and it’s all digital. This includes automatic buyer contingency removal for when you agree to their terms.
Pre-Listing Home Inspection
Consider having a home inspection before you list and sell your own home. It can save you money and stress long-term. It may be better to find out about any issues first, rather than having the buyer’s home inspector find issues and get you to lower the price half-way through the process.
You’ll be able to say the property has been pre-inspected in your listing and can share the report with those looking to buy the home, and they may even decide they don’t need to do their own inspection.
Keep in mind that buyers don’t always give full legitimacy to an inspector that wasn’t chosen by them, so they may also still want to have their inspector inspect. The good thing about getting a pre-listing inspection is that you may uncover some of the more serious issues up front, so you are less likely to get a major unwanted surprise.
Listing On MLS
Real estate agents have access to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that you won’t have access to when you choose for sale by owner. Listing your home on the MLS means your home is being seen by the bigger real estate sites and getting in front of more buyers. It is the gateway to these large real estate sites that buyers use, such as Zillow and Realtor.com, so it’s the only way to get your listing on these sites. Zillow does have a FSBO listing option, however, Zillow hides FSBO listings that are not listed on the MLS, so buyers have to know where to go to find them. Largely, the only people who know to go there are investors, which might score you an offer, but likely a lowball offer.
The exposure you get from the MLS as of the time of this writing in is substantial and should not be discounted. Many real estate companies have tried to sell homes without using the MLS and it is an uphill battle. Homepie makes it easy to get your home on the MLS and exposing your home to the full buyer market will fetch you the highest possible price, despite the potential that you may need to pay a fee to a buyer’s agent.
Staging and Photos
The photos in your listing are the first things a buyer will see, so you want to make sure those pictures are as good as they can be. For this, you should consider hiring a professional photographer. They know how to get the best angles and lighting to showcase the rooms in your home. You also need to stage your home correctly, which means making it look its best by getting rid of clutter and dressing up the rooms a bit. You could hire a professional stager to do this as well.
Be Prepared for Showings
During the selling process, you need to be as flexible as possible when it comes to answering buyers and showing the home. This can be hard if you are working a full-time job. Being able to get back to buyers and their agents as soon as possible is crucial so be sure to set up times for each day that allow you to answer emails, do call-backs, and show the home.
In a hot market, sellers often get overwhelmed arranging showings, so there are a couple of things Homepie does to make this easy on you.
- Homepie offers a showing scheduler for all listings so you can see all of you showing requests from your dashboard.
- Homepie offers a Smart Lockbox for those who want to grant access to buyers when they are not home. This is probably the most convenient way to get your home shown, but you’ll want to make sure all valuables are locked away, and it never hurts to have a Wi-Fi security camera inside, which is very affordable these days.