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For Sale By Owner – It’s More Than Just Putting a Sign in the Yard

June 17, 2016


Every year a certain percentage of sellers sell their home by themselves, also known as For Sale By Owners or FSBOs. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, that number has remained about 9% for the last three years, and 44% of those sales were situations where the buyer and seller knew each other first.

Many FSBOs may start out listing their home by themselves, but go on to enlist the help of a real estate agent down the road due to the amount of work involved. The challenges of selling a home FSBO are many. Here are just a few things that a FSBO has to handle on their own:

  • Carefully research information regarding the prices and terms of sales in today’s real estate market. Investigate recent sale prices for property similar to theirs in the immediate area and establish a realistic price for the property based on that information.

  • Determine which internet sites, newspapers and home magazines, etc., will best advertise the property.Call them for rates, deadlines, and formats for submitting property details and create an ad.

  • Establish an advertising budget.Prepare a contingency advertising budget in case the home does not sell as quickly as anticipated.

  • Prepare a plan to reach those out-of-town buyers who account for a portion of today’s home purchasers.

  • Purchase an eye-catching and weatherproof yard sign; install it in the front of the property.

  • Schedule and conduct open house “weekdays” as well as open house weekends. Purchase special “open house” signs and position them in paths that lead from main roads or thoroughfares, through the neighborhoods and to the property.

  • Be available to walk through the property with prospective buyers to answer their questions.

  • Negotiate with the buyer(s) as an impartial third party.

  • Obtain all forms necessary for the legal sale of real property

  • Determine the type(s) of financing they are willing to consider, such as FHA, VA, Seller Carryback, etc

This is just a quick outline. Although it may sound appealing to save the commission, when you consider the work involved that a FSBO seller would have to take on. FSBO sales in 2014 also had a lower median sales price: $208,700, which was about 11% lower than the agent-assisted median sales price of $235,000.

There are many factors that point to it not being in your best interest to sell FSBO. I would be happy to share additional information with you. Please contact me at 206.730.0962 or send an email to


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