Need Your Advice About for Sale by Owner

Updated on November 02, 2011
S.H. asks from Sachse, TX
9 answers

We need to downsize our home and move closer to my husband's job. We met with a real estate agent and once all the fees are added in, we might have to come up with money in order to get out of our current home. Unfortunately, several factors have made our financial position less than desirable. We used to have a nice emergency fund, but it is dwindling. Alot of it is the result of the economy and is out of our hands :( So, in order to get things more comfortable I think it's time to move into something less expensive. Anyway, the meeting with the agent was a little discouraging. Our neighborhood is very nice, but due to alot of foreclosures/economy, there is no guarantee we can even get what it's worth. Soooooooo, I have been looking into selling it by owner. The numbers look a whole lot better if we go that route, of course. But I'm scared! Can we do this? I would love to get your feedback, experiences, both good and bad. I really just need to be able to break even...not looking to make a bunch of money. If we can sell it ourselves, that should be fairly easy to do. It gives us alot more room to come down in price if we need to. Thank you in advance everyone!

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answers from Fort Wayne on

see if you have a company called Help you Sell, we have a friend who does that. I dont know all of the specs but its cheaper than an agent.

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answers from Philadelphia on

We unsuccessfully tried to SBO. We did however purchase a home that was FSBO so it can be done. The most difficult thing for us was being able to reach QUALIFIED buyers. We had an offer but it fell through because they couldn't afford the house. UGH! What a waste of time. My advice is to look for a discount broker so you do not end up paying the standard 6% commission. Best of luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

I have sold two houses with a realtor and two as for sale by owners. With the economy the way it is, for sale by owner is a great option - but only if you can advertise your house to buyers. A sign in the front yard with your phone number is not going to do it. You need to list on the MLS like a realtor would - so call your local MLS and see if individuals are allowed to do that. You can also go through a "for sale by owner" company who can help you list your house, I think it costs about $500.

Change your voicemail to say something like "you've reached Amy. If you're calling about the house for sale, please leave a message and I will contact you within two hours." And then make sure you check your VM obsessively. Get an email address that you can put on the listing as well and check that regularly. The best thing we ever did was create a website about our house for sale. It was free to set up (you can use blogspot or another site). We put up about 30 pictures, descriptions of everything, etc. It allowed potential buyers to see everything before they even call. That way you're not wasting your time showing the house to people who aren't serious. And you make potential buyers feel better because your house isn't such an unknown (I think this is the major problem with for sale by owners - some people don't want to call because they don't want to bother you if they're not really interested).

Before you list the house, clean everything up. Take everything personal out - no family photos, no toys strewn everywhere. Each and every morning, make your home ready to sell. It's a huge pain, but you never know when someone is going to call and want to come over in an hour. Because of that, you and your husband will need to work out a plan for weekday showings. If you get a call, can you run home from work to open the house? Can he? If you limit the days/times people can see your house, it will take much longer to sell.

Be professional. When someone schedules a showing, greet them at the door and then leave the house during the showing. Do not follow them around. Do not tell them how much you love this house.

But most important - price your house fairly!!!! Do not price it at what you owe on the loan, or what you want to get out of it, or $10,000 over what you "need". Look at the comparable houses that have sold - including foreclosures and short sales, and price it using those numbers. If you price your house too high, you will not have ANYONE come visit it. And then you're stuck lowering the price but most people won't notice that you changed the price and won't come see it anyway.

Oh - just thought of one more thing. Consider offering an incentive to buyers agents. Offer them their 3% or a certain amount of money if they bring in a customer that leads to a sale. The biggest problem nowadays with trying to sell by owner is that buyers agents don't bring customers to FSBOs because they won't make their commission.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I'm sorry but in this economy many people are loosing their homes and many more are trying to sell theirs. It is the buyers market no matter what anyone told you.

We have a couple of real estate agents that bring their kids to the classes at the studio and they say they are lucky if they can sell a house for half of what it was worth 3 years ago. They are lucky they have savings because most people, other than the people the big companies around here are transferring out, are not selling anything.

Now is NOT the time to sell. Maybe not for several years. The only other option is to find an apartment very close to his work and try to rent out your home to a local business for an executive's family or something close to that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

We sold our prior house ourselves and it went fine. In fact, it was easy. But, that was in a different time....2005. We only lived in our house for 2 years - we had built it, but had to move for my husbands job - so it was still very new. We sold it in 2 days and made a killing. We did consult with a real estate lawyer ($150) and that was it. He made sure it was all legal and drew up the purchase agreement for us. The buyers had a home inspector come in and also had a real estate lawyer on their side. I think they said they paid about $175 for that.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

The numbers may not be all that much better. You might save on commission, but people buying a FSBO think automatically that they're getting a better "deal" than going through an agent.

You "can" do it. We bought a FSBO. I'd get a home inspection done prior to putting it up for sale--at your expense--sign of good faith, proactive attitude, etc.

Personally, I'd get a power agent (Dave Ramsay has real estate ELP's) and get it sold FAST! Did you know the commission is negotiable? For example the "standard here used to be 7%, but many don't know many agents will list at a lower commission....and with the slump--you may have some luck with that.

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answers from Raleigh on

My first home was FSBO over 8 years ago. I heard about it through word of mouth-which in a FSBO situation, is extremely important. Also, put your listing up on Craiglist. When I was looking for a house, I looked there in addition to looking on places like zillow or
I posted fliers about the house, went into zillow and decided/updated information about the property, put it out on facebook. We did a lot of inexpensive upgrades to make it appealing to a buyer- made it ready to move in. Had some staging done. Painted some of the heavy traffic rooms a nice neutral color, decluttered, extensively cleaned, updated the fixtures, etc.
My realtor did a great job, but we also did our work too. We decided to go the realtor route this time because, with a small baby, we just didn't have the time or effort to do all that paperwork.
We sold our house with a nice profit in two weeks. Granted, we are in an area that isn't really seeing huge effects of the recession or housing market. But it can be done. You are in an advantage that you don't have to move out immediately. So throw it out there, and see what kind of bites you get.
Good luck to you!


answers from Houston on

Check out, it will shed some light on your circumstance. Good luck, and things will work out... they always do!


answers from Kansas City on

Right now since it's a buyers market you could have people offering less than your house is worth as they know they can do that and yet someone I know just had a price war selling their home and got more than they asked for it. It depends too on the area, state, etc., you live in as well as the neighborhood. It's worth a try but do your 'homework' and I look at the site and there are a few others just to see what's out there and I would go that route if I was doing it.

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