Author Topic: How to sell a house FSBO  (Read 3464 times)

Kaplin261

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How to sell a house FSBO
« on: March 20, 2016, 05:25:11 AM »
So my wife and I are about to list our home for sale. We plan to list it on zillow as for sale by owner and get some signs. We will hire a real estate attorney to do the paperwork once we find a buyer.

Zillow estimates our home is worth $199,000, my own research looking at comps I think I can confidently get $215,000 due to the upgrades we have and the condition of the home. My wife purchased the home back in 2007 in the housing boom and paid $220,000 for the home, then paid $8,000 for new windows, $2,000 to get rid of trees that were causing damage to the home,$2,000 diy kitchen upgrade, Premium pergo flooring diy $2,000, whole home paint job exterior/interior $5,000, new hvac system (2014) $4,000.

The cheapest option is the above mentioned, list it on zillow and put some signs up. Second option is purchase the premium package on fsbo.com for $500. And then there is the most expensive option of hiring a realtor and paying 6%. We have also considered offering 3% to realtors who bring us a buyer.

Any thoughts or advice would be helpful. This is our first home we have ever sold so we are a little nervous.

Another Reader

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Re: How to sell a house FSBO
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 06:29:03 AM »
Relying on Zillow to price a house for sale is nothing short of insane.  Their estimates are often off by 30 percent or more.  What research have you done?  Do you have access to closed sale information from your local MLS?  Have you analyzed all the recent sales in your area?

In your shoes, I would talk to two or three of the best agents specializing in your neighborhood.  Tell them you are selling your house and are deciding how to do it.  Get their opinions of what your house is worth, based on recent sales in the area and their knowledge of the market's strength and direction.  Treat the discussion like a job interview, which is what it is.  You do not have to hire the agent, although you will be weeding through them for the best candidate in the event you need to hire one later.  These folks are used to making sales presentations and not winning every listing. 

If you are in a hot market and houses sell quickly, you may be successful at FSBO.  Not sure what the "premium package" at FSBO.com is, but unless it involves getting the property on the MLS, it's probably a waste of money.  You need to be comfortable analyzing offers to see if they are from qualified buyers or if the buyers are blowing smoke. You want to avoid contracts with buyers that can't perform.  Buyers figure you are saving six percent, and they will try to get part of your savings.  In many cases, you will be approached by buyers agents, who will want a 3 percent commission to bring you their buyer.  Depending on your market, you may have to pay that to get a qualified buyer.

Selling a house is not like selling a car or a piece of furniture on Craigslist.  It's a complicated process and there are a lot of outstretched hands at every point in the process.  Sometimes hiring an agent makes sense.  If you have the time, the fortitude, and the personality to sell it yourself, you can save money.

PhysicianOnFIRE

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Re: How to sell a house FSBO
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 06:32:23 AM »
I've been both a buyer and seller of a home FSBO in recent years. 

I would use Zillow and purchase signs as you plan.  Also, print up a quality flyer (find a template online) with good pics.  Borrow a nice camera with a wide angle lens if you don't have one.  I would also post on Craigslist.  There are a surprising number of homes for sale listed there as well.

The attorney will help you with closing, obviously.  The local title company you choose can also help you figure out some of that if you don't want to use the attorney's time for some of the details.  There are disclosure forms and probably some other forms that they will have for you.

Both our buying and selling were more pleasant experiences.  It helped that our buyers and sellers seemed to be good people.  When the transaction becomes more personal, the seller has a more vested interest in making sure the home is in good shape, clean, etc...  No realtors to hide behind.

Good luck!
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Bigsacks

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Re: How to sell a house FSBO
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2016, 10:06:41 AM »
Don't use that FSBO.com website....Zillow + Craigslist should be fine....I did that and it took 6 weeks......no relator involved.

Kaplin261

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Re: How to sell a house FSBO
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2016, 02:07:25 PM »
Is getting it on the MLS worth $500?

PhysicianOnFIRE

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Re: How to sell a house FSBO
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2016, 03:25:06 PM »
Is getting it on the MLS worth $500?

Totally depends on your market.  You could start with Zillow and Craigslist and see. If no interest after a few weeks / months, you could take the next step.

Meowmalade

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Re: How to sell a house FSBO
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2016, 03:25:27 PM »
If I were selling a house on my own (which I plan to do if we ever left this house), I would:

1)  Declutter and take *really* good photos.  Spend a couple hundred to have a professional do them for me if I don't have the ability/equipment to do it myself.  This is going to get people interested and they'll psychologically perceive higher value going in if the photos are good.

2)  List on the MLS, since you'll get so much more exposure this way.  I would offer 2.5-3% to the buyer's agent if I listed here.

3)  Optional: set up a website just to showcase the house, with more photos and all the things that you love about it.

#1 and #2 may cost hundreds of dollars, but I think it's totally worth it if you can get a higher sale price by marketing your place well.  YMMV depending on how hot the market it where you are and if you've priced it well.  If it's in a great and visible location, you may get interest just by putting a sign on the road.  You could always do things incrementally, like try on Zillow and Craigslist first and then put it on the MLS later.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 03:30:13 PM by Meowmalade »

MayDay

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Re: How to sell a house FSBO
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2016, 11:49:59 AM »
We did this successfully last spring/summer.

I spent early spring aggressively decluttering, repainting, and cleaning. We installed some new flooring as it was STD in the hood.

In April we listed on Zillow, CL, and sign in the yard. The sign sold the house- we live in a big subdivision that turns over maybe 20 houses a year. 90% of buyers in our hood drove by our sign when they went to showings in the hood.

We got an offer through an agent, and used another agent to do all the paperwork on our end. We paid our agent 1%, and negotiated to pay their agent 2%. The 1% was well worth it as he handled the contract, title search, closing, etc. We could have done it all but he made it easy.

We didn't have to sell, so we had nothing to lose.

b_girl

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Re: How to sell a house FSBO
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2016, 08:50:48 AM »
We sold our last house FSBO. It is worth noting that we didn't have a timeline that we had to sell by so there was no pressure. We had a nice house in a hot neighborhood.

1. I researched the price extensively and asked a realtor friend for her opinion on selling price.
2. Husband took great pics of the house (after extensive decluttering, painting, etc)
3. Paid someone on CL $<200 to create a basic wordpress site for me with url as the address (123mainst.com)
4. Made up flyers with website and basic info.
5. Listed on CL and Zillow.
6. Had a real estate attorney (that had a title agency) review all contracts.

Went under contract immediately to a PIA attorney that constantly browbeat me into trying to go lower. We finally ended the contract and I was never so happy. So... a Realtor would have been beneficial there to be the go between. Took the place off market during holidays and put back on in spring. It went under contract to second showing immediately. I did end up agreeing to pay the buyers commission (3%) at that time. I think it wasn't a bad deal as they really handled all the minutia (and my attorney reviewed everything). FTR, my attorney didn't charge me anything if we used his title agency (win-win).

We bought our recent house without real estate agents. Basic sale went smooth. I do think I overpaid a bit though after all was said and done.

My advice... FSBO can be great as long as you can negotiate and stick to your guns. I do feel that others will try to take advantage of FSBO sellers and pressure them down - so you need to be strong. The attorney was the absolute worst - don't sell to an attorney if you can! According to stories from my friends they like to argue and negotiate every.little.thing - and that was my experience also. I still think back to her and shudder...I was already at the end of my patience when she started asking for my furniture! Are you going to leave the bar stools? ETC... Not even buy... but she had the gall to ask me if I would give it to her! She had zero shame.

I debated doing the MLS route but in the end didn't and felt good about my CL and Zillow experience. I would NOT rely on Zillow for pricing though. Their 'zestimates' constantly jump all over the place in a mater of weeks/months. 

ETA: I wanted to add that we both worked at home also.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 07:03:34 AM by bobbi »

freeat57

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Re: How to sell a house FSBO
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2016, 03:45:18 PM »
As others said, it depends on your market.  I sold my own pretty much as you said.  I had seen a couple of other houses in my neighborhood sell by owner, so I decided to try it.  I was only in the house a little over 3 years and the oil industry weakness meant that the market in my town was not too hot.   I cleaned and made small repairs before listing so that it looked practically new again.  I spent about three days staging it and taking good pictures.  I set my price by looking at comparable houses for sale in my neighborhood and by looking at the sold houses on Zillow (click the yellow button).   The Zestimate was 192K at the time, I listed for 188K based on my research and the professional appraisal that the buyers got came up with 186.5k. 

I listed on  Zillow and put out a sign.  My estimate is that each attracted about 50% of the lookers.  I also sent an email to all my neighbors via the informal neighborhood association mailing list.  One neighbor brought someone to see it and others said that they knew people looking.  I listed at a bad time (August) and had the winning offer in early November.  I think it would have sold faster if I had listed in April or May.  I did have an offer about 3 days after listing, but it was a cash investor lowball. 

You do not have to pay a full 3% to a realtor who brings a buyer.  Most of them are negotiable.  If their buyer wants to see the house, they are unlikely to say no to them.  One realtor flat out told me that his clients saw my listing on Zillow and asked him to set up a viewing.  He the had the kugels to ask for 3% for doing nothing more than making a phone call! 

In my state (TX) all the standard documents are on a state government web site.  They were the exact documents my realtor used when I bought my house.  The buyers did not want to use a realtor either, so we used the standard documents and got a title company to do the transaction.  Went off without a hitch.  If you pick a title company and tell them that you will use them for the transaction, they will give you all the advice you need to do it right.


My main advice when talking to prospective buyers is just to be completely open, honest and friendly.  If they are the same with you, you can probably work something out.  I turned one looker away because he was trying to be a wheeler-dealer.  I didn't trust him.

Blindsquirrel

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Re: How to sell a house FSBO
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2016, 06:42:37 PM »
   I would start with CL, and make a nice flyer. Leave flyer with neighbors, churches,  grocery stores, city hall, drop off at car dealerships, and local stores, etc in the area. I would ask for a pre approval letter before signing a contract. Have sold a half dozen flips or so FSBO over the years. Also, Facebook posting. I have told folks (people living near house) that if they bring me a buyer, I will give them $1000 in cash. (not legal in most states as one must be a licensed agent to receive compensation for selling a house in  my state but, eh it is a tip. :). I would watch your pricing though as you do not want it to sit. If it does not sell in a month, stick it in MLS and price it well, you want house to sell in the first month on either CL or with a realtor. If it does not sell, it is probably priced too high. Good luck. It really is not that hard.