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Tips For Homeowners Who Want To Sell A House On Their Own?

Tips For Homeowners Who Want To Sell A House On Their Own?

Residential real estate is normally sold either through a seller's real estate agent or by the homeowner themselves. Selling a home yourself is known as a For Sale By Owner transaction, or FSBO. Most homeowners hire a licensed and qualified real estate agent to help them list and sell their home for good reason, it can often be an arduous and expensive process lasting months and many homeowners may not be equipped with the right tools to facilitate the sale. If however, a homeowner is up to the task and is willing to incur the time and expense to handle an FSBO listing there are some tips consider first.


One of the primary benefits of handling the sale of a home yourself is saving significant amounts of money on sales commission which would normally be split between a buyer and seller agents. A typical sale when using an agent incurs a commission of 6%, so on a property of $250,000 the commission can be as high as $15,000. That alone will often be enough incentive for most homeowners to at least consider selling the property without the use of an agent.

Another big plus is for homeowners which are more hands-on and enjoy the challenge is that they can do many of the marketing and other promotional activities an agent would do as part of their job. There is nothing that prevents a homeowner from conducting their own open houses, taking photos and listing the property on numerous real estate websites like Trulia or Zillow or negotiating with prospective home buyers. If you're a people person who has the time and inclination to do all that is required to properly market a residential property for sale then a FSBO might be right for you.


In reality however most homeowners which consider going the FSBO route often change their mind once they fully understand what is required to facilitate a home sale. The National Association of Realtors has reported that roughly 15% of all home sale transactions are conducted by the homeowner and almost 90% of those homeowners which intended to use FSBO eventually wind up hiring a real estate agent to represent their interests. One of the primary reasons for this is that most individuals do not have access to the Multiple Listing Service, also known as the MLS, with which to list their property. This centralized service is one of the first resources home buyer agents use to locate and narrow down the list of prospective properties for their clients. Without access to the MLS it is significantly more difficult to generate any kind of traffic which will lead to the sale of a home.

Another significant obstacle when trying to sell a property yourself is fulfilling all legal and disclosure requirements as mandated by state and federal law. This is why real estate agents are licensed and require specific training to sell property. Selling a house is not the same as selling an automobile where you write a check, create a bill of sale and sign over the title. Home inspections are normally required by mortgage lenders and offers and counter offers must be prepared in a certain way using specific documentation. There's also the issue of handling good faith payments and escrow accounts to prevent abuses by realtors.

Any individuals who has felt uncomfortable when car shopping because they don't like negotiating an FSBO would not be ideal. Many homeowners develop emotional attachments to the property which could not only lead to inaccurate home pricing which can significantly delay the sale but it also means counteroffers might feel insulting if the price is being perceived as low balling. Real estate agents act as impartial third parties to help assist in the transaction and hopefully get everyone what they want. It is important to consider the emotional component to determine whether or not you as a homeowner can impartially act in your own best interests when trying to sell your home.


For sale by owner transactions can be a great way to save money and make sure your are being fairly represented. Some homeowners will have the tenacity, emotional detachment and negotiation skills to properly sell their home to maximize their profit while minimizing hassles and the length of time their home sits on the market. Selling your home however is not for the weak of heart and may require additional upfront costs for marketing and promotion especially without access to the MLS. It will also probably require the use of a real estate attorney to properly draft closing paperwork and ensure all disclosures have been sufficiently made. If you're up to the challenge an FSBO transaction can save thousands of dollars and keep others from profiting off of your property. As with any complicated endeavor, thoroughly research what is required to protect yourself legally and financially and hopefully keep complications to a minimum.

Image by: Paul Sableman