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Thousands of homeowners nationwide choose to sell their homes without the services of a real estate agent
or broker – as much as 20 percent of home sales annually are accomplished on a “For Sale By Owner” basis
(also known as FSBO, or “fizz-bo”).

Is FSBO the method for you? If you’ve never done it before, it certainly can be challenging, but if you are
willing to do the work necessary to market your house and work with potential buyers, there are some advantages.

Typically, a real estate agent or broker who lists and sells your home gets paid with a commission of between
5% to 6% of the selling price. That means that if your house sells for $400,000, you would end up paying him
or her between $20,000 and $24,000. The commission makes up by far the biggest chunk of the expenses associated
with selling your house. If you sell it without the help of an agent, you save that money.

Here are a few things to consider if you are interested in selling “FSBO”

  • How much can you save on commission fees
  • Are you motivated to sell more quickly than a broker
  • Is control of the selling process important to you (including when you show your home and pricing)
  • If a fast sale is a high priority to you, once you’ve figured out what the asking price for your house
    should be, subtract the amount you would pay an agent – usually 3%, and reduce your asking price by that
    amount, passing on your savings to the buyer.
    • Your house will be priced lower than other comparable ones in your area.
    • Buyers are likely to respond quickly and enthusiastically!
    • You still save half of the standard 6% commission
  • Consider listing your house on the MLSIn short, selling by yourself is not simple. But, neither is selling through a real estate agent. The FSBO option
    can be worth your work, if you are committed to saving money, equity and quite possibly time. You will never
    know unless you try!

Pricing your home is the most important decision you will make. This checklist will help you consider all the
important factors.

  • Search online for similar homes that have sold in the last 3 months in your neighborhood
  • Check prices of comparable homes currently for sale in your neighborhood
  • Visit open houses to see what buyers will be comparing your home to
  • Order a Home Valuation Analysis
  • Consider what repairs or changes can impact your home’s value
    • Kitchen or Bath minor remodel
    • Painting exterior
    • New roof
  • Make a list of all the things that make your home stand out from similar homes for sale
  • Estimate a minimum value for your house and a maximum value, based on your research
  • Calculate what your net proceed from the sale will be at the top and bottom of this range.

Below is a quick checklist that will help you prepare your home for sale. Focus on the exterior of the house
first because if that doesn’t attract buyers, they won’t even walk in the front door. Do the inexpensive fixes first.
You can always negotiate with the buyer on the more expensive repairs at the time of sale. The three most
important things to remember are, Clean, Clean, Clean!

Interior Exterior
  • Remove excess furniture
  • Remove excess collectibles
  • Remove excess artwork and photographs
  • Clean out closets and cabinets
  • Clean out garage and basement
  • Clear counter and tabletops
  • Clean appliances
  • Scrub bathroom
  • Remove carpet stains
  • Shampoo carpets
  • Remove cobwebs from ceiling corners
  • Clean fireplace
  • Clean or replace drapes
  • Wash pets
  • Clean litter box
  • Remove mildew
  • Add fresh scent like potpourri
  • Consider having your home Staged
  • Find a Stager in your area
  • Search for qualified local contractors and repairmen
  • Remove Clutter from Front Yard
  • Clear yard equipment from lawn
  • Mow and water lawn
  • Prune trees & bushes so they don’t touch the house
  • Plant colorful flowers
  • Clean front entrance
  • Clean entryway
  • Repaint or replace front door
  • Fix broken windows, shutters, screens
  • Polish door handles, address numbers, fixtures
  • Replace worn or broken items
  • Replace burnt out bulbs
  • Replace welcome mat
  • Wash all windows and floors
  • Clean Back Yard
  • Remove gardening equipment
  • Clean outdoor grill, barbeque and lawn furniture
  • Store items that make yard look cluttered
  • Make sure sprinklers and faucets are working
  • Clean and repair pumps and filters for swimming pool, Jacuzzi®, and outdoor
  • Look High and Low
  • Make Necessary Repairs
  • Remove debris from roof and gutters
  • Inspect and clean chimney
  • Repair/replace worn shingles
  • Wash or paint exterior if needed
  • Clean, paint and align gutters and downspouts
  • Clean grease and old spills from driveway
  • Check foundation for cracks and repair
  • Caulk windows, tubs, showers and sinks
  • Make sure toilets and faucets work well
  • Install new carpeting if needed
  • Touch up or repaint walls neutral color
  • Replace switches and outlets that don’t work
  • Replace burnt out bulbs

If you want to sell something, you have to come up with a marketing plan. Even if it’s just lemonade, you still need a stand and a sign to attract customers.

Selling real estate is no exception. The professionals in the field know this well. Every good agent has a marketing plan. It typically includes listing the property on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) so that other brokers can help sell it, generating interest in the property by “talking it up” at sales meetings, placing advertising in the newspaper, and planting a bold sign in front.

Marketing Plan
Read free articles from bestselling author Bob Irwin on FSBO marketing at the Owners.com Article Library
Include in your marketing plan the following:

Online Advertising
• List on Homekaroo.com
• Get your home listed on the MLS – Questions?
• List on Craigslist.org

Offline Advertising
• Newspapers classifieds

Local Promotion
• Yard Sign with the URL of your online ad
• Flyers to post in your neighborhood

Online Networking
• Notify friends and co-workers of your online listing

Plan for an Open House

Agent incentives
• Decide what you will offer an agent if they represent a buyer ( generally 2% – 3%)
Consider a Home Warranty to increase value to buyers

Online Advertising

  • Take Photos of the Exterior, Entry, Inside and back yard
  • Write a short ad describing your home
  • Write a longer description that emphasizes your homes’ unique features
  • List your home on the MLS to attract buyers who are using agents
  • List your home for free on Craigslist.org ( Owners provides a free listing tool to make this easy to do)

Offline Advertising

  • Order a Yard sign
  • Print flyers
  • Order a Brochure holder to place flyers next to your For Sale sign
  • Place your short copy ad in your local newspaper’s classified section

Open houses are a traditional way of showing a house to prospective purchasers. Basically, you put up a sign
and/or run an advertisement and invite people into your house to look around. They are usually held in the
afternoon on Saturday or Sunday.

Many of the steps you will take before for an open house are the same as those you’ll need to do before showing
your home to a possible buyer or buyer’s agent. Here are some tips and rules of thumb.

Before You Show

  • Advertise the open house in the weekend real estate section of your local paper
  • If there are several homes for sale in your neighborhood, put up directional signs to your house and expect
    to pick up some traffic from other open houses in the area
  • Always put the house in prime showing condition. – clean, clean, clean
  • Put soft music on and play up the best features
  • If you have a fireplace and it’s cold outside, light a fire
  • Turn on lights in darker rooms
  • Be sure the house smells nice
  • Place fresh flowers in different rooms
  • Put away all small valuables
  • Have a sign-in sheet for buyers to put their names, addresses and phone numbers. Ask everyone to sign it.
  • Have house information flyers and financing sheets ready
  • Have offer forms ready just in case

Showing Your Home

  • When buyers come through; let them look around without you. Introduce yourself at the door, shake hands
    and tell them you’re available to answer questions. Then, let them look.
  • Before they leave, ask if you can answer any questions.
  • Ask if you can tell them anything about the neighborhood or schools.
  • Mention any special features such as a Home Warranty
  • Smile

Follow Up

  • Follow up after the open house with everyone who came through.
  • Ask if there is any further information you can provide about the house and whether they had interest in the

There are many details to consider when you are closing your sale. One option we recommend is having a professional review your sale contract to make sure that everything is in order. Worry free paperwork with professional contract review is included in Owners Agent Assisted package. For a small fixed fee a licensed professional or real estate attorney can save you a lot of time and uncertainty.

Here is a list of things to remember when you close your sale:

  • Decide on your timing requirements for escrow,
    when do you need to move, how long do you
    need in your house.
  • Get professional contract review
  • Review local disclosure requirements


  • Review The Contract; list all the items that are
    benefits and all those that are negatives.
  • Decide on Counter offer price
  • Schedule:
    • Inspections
    • Counter-offer date
    • Settlement and closing dates
  • Set earnest money deposit amount
  • Accept contract


  • Home inspection completed
  • Solve home inspection issues
  • Additional possible inspections
    • Roof Inspection – Ask Your Local FSBO Expert
  • For Recommendations
    • Electrical Inspection
    • Sewer
  • Property disclosures approved by buyer
  • Schedule appraisal – usually by buyer
  • Mortgage approval confirmed
  • Open escrow – either with your title company or
    the buyers
  • Deposit earnest money with Escrow company
  • Documentation to escrow company
    • Purchase price
    • Address and description of the property
    (this will all be contained in the purchase
    • Seller’s name and address
    • Buyer’s name and address
    • Parties to whom the preliminary title report or
    the abstract of title are to be sent (generally
    they are the buyer, seller and lender).
    • Termite report information (who will do the
    • Amount of deposit to be held in escrow
    • Insurance agent for the buyer
    • Financing information
    • Any personal property involved in the sale
    • Rent, if any
    • Projected closing date
  • Termite Inspection
  • Confirm buyer’s home owners insurance
  • Complete contractually required repairs


  • Final walk through with Buyer – make sure you
    have your contract in hand.
  • Settlement with either your escrow company,
    buyer’s agent or buyer directly
  • Review closing documents 48 hours before
    closing to catch any error or omissions
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