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What Does it Mean When a Home is ‘For Sale by Owner’?


“For Sale by Owner” is a phrase that a lot of us know of, but don’t really know about. When a house is “For Sale by Owner,” also known as FSBO, what does it really mean? Looking at it simply, it means that the house isn’t listed with an agent and that it is being sold and shown by the owner of the house. So, in a FSBO situation, the owner is the agent. There are costs and benefits to this route of selling your house, though it really just depends on each individual basis. When a FSBO situation is done the right way, it can save a lot of money, but when it’s done the wrong way, it can be a long, difficult, strenuous path to nowhere.

If you are thinking about selling your house the FSBO way, be sure to think things through and consider all the different aspects of the process. Are you familiar with the house selling process as well as the housing market in general? Do you know what goes into marketing a home and getting people to want to go to your open house?

The following is a checklist to go over for you to find out if selling your home the FSBO way is the right route for you. Check if you are familiar with these topics:

*Pricing a home

*Houses/housing market

*The business side of things, such as marketing techniques

*The legal points to cover—do you know what legal steps you need to take and when? Do you know how to protect your home, yourself, and your contract? Do you know how to properly draw up a contract and what it needs to say?

*Each step of the house selling process—when you do what and how.

There’s a glitter in the thought of being the seller of your own house. It’s easy to think you will save countless dollars on being your own agent, but that may not be the case if you aren’t familiar with the process and what goes into it. Even if you are familiar with these things, a lot of time and effort goes into being your own seller, so make sure you weigh your options before choosing your house selling route.

For instance, if you try to improvise on legal documents, it could cause you a lot of heartache, headaches, and money. Even if you don’t get in trouble, if something needs to be redone, the fees associated with that could get pricey really quickly. On the business side of things, you want to make sure you price your house correctly so you don’t lose out on money or allow comprises to be a little too compromising. If you have any questions about the process of selling your home, don’t be afraid to ask experts or hire one all together. If you have no idea where to start, it may be best to just hire an agent.

On the other hand, if you are familiar with the house selling process and/or have closely observed another FSBO situation before, this could end up being a good route for you to choose. If you are a marketer or are good at marketing, or maybe you’re a lawyer and know the legal ins and outs, and you feel that you’d be able to learn what you don’t already know, then being your home’s seller could be your best bet at saving money and using your resources wisely.

Let’s say you are a great marketer and businessman/woman, but you have no idea what legal matters you need to have taken care of. Try finding a lawyer that will offer a consultation either for free or for a one-time fee. You can also do this for a housing agent if there are any questions you have about the process in general. Many agents are willing to talk for a flat fee, whether or not you choose to hire them. You could get the help you need filling in the gaps you need to know about in the house selling process without having to hire an agent to do the work for you. Yes, you’d still be paying an agent for work, but it pales in comparison to how much you’d pay them to sell your home.

Do you have the knowledge and time it takes? If you feel you’re ready to get started in the FSBO process, read through these tips and keep them in mind before you start:

*Two of the most crucial steps in the selling of your home without going through an agent is pricing it correctly and making sure that you have everything in working order, cleaned, and ready when the house is going to be shown. These two steps are critical and will make all the difference between a good and bad experience. Make sure you take care of the little things—you don’t want dishes piled up in the sink or clothes scattered on the couch when a buyer is coming to look at the house. Make sure everything is tidy and ready before each showing. It makes a huge difference; remember: first impressions are important in these situations because they may be the only impression your potential buyer ends up having.

Pricing your house is huge. Make sure you go about it the right way; don’t skimp or go overboard. Make sure it’s just right for your market.

*Legal issues are extremely important to take care of properly. Check everything and even consult with someone if needed. You don’t want to give bad or invalid documents to your potential buyer. Make sure everything is in writing and that you protect yourself. Even if the buyer verbally says she is okay with the crack in the back of the house, make sure you include it in the paperwork so she can sign it and legally say she is okay with it. The last thing you want to go through is a court case or lawsuit from someone accusing you of fraud of some kind. Be open and honest with each potential buyer. You can talk up your house without hiding its defects beneath the carpet (perhaps literally).

*Another big part of the FSBO process is marketing. Your house is not automatically online or in view, in flyers or in newspapers, when you decide to sell it. Since you won’t have an agent when selling your own home, you will have to take care of the marketing yourself. First, go the route of word of mouth. Tell everyone and anyone you meet about your house. Tell your friends, your friends’ friends, and family members and colleagues. Get flyers put together, and stick that

“For Sale by Owner” sign in front of your house. Get everything done and taken care of. In your house’s flyers, talk up your house like you would when showing your house. Don’t build it up to an impossible standard filled with half-truths; talk about what you loved about it through pretty language. For example, instead of calling your bonus room just that, call it “a haven of entertainment away from the rest of the house” or something of the like that pertains to its location and what it is like within the home itself. Have fun with it—get crazy with language, but not too crazy. Sell your house in order to sell your house, if that makes sense (if it doesn’t, think about it—if you want to sell your house, you have to sell the idea of your house first).

There is so much more that goes into selling a home by owner, but these steps are a good place to start. If you want more information, find a housing agent who will consult with you in your local area or by phone so you can get started on the road to selling your old home and moving on to the next stage of your life.

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