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You have been watching HGTV for years. You have Googled all about selling your own home. You have heard success stories of people selling their own homes. You are a self-proclaimed Real Estate Aficionado.

Here are my tips for your For Sale By Owner adventure.

 For Sale By Owner Tips

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THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START

10 to 15 HOURS

DETERMINE YOUR SALES PRICE

Determining your sales price is one of the more difficult aspects of a For Sale By Owner and frankly, its the hardest part of a realtors job. Start by pulling 20 sales comps. 


Compare square footage, amenities, location, date of sales, financing for sales, property records for permits, year of property, landscaping, type of materials used in the home, quality of appliances, pools/amenities, HOA fees, Deed restrictions, flood restrictions, zoning, school district, property surveys, neighborhood foreclosures, and general upkeep.

Now, write down three prices. A price that would excite you. A realistic price for listing, and an absolute low. 

5 to 10 HOURS

DETERMINATION OF FINANCING

Are you going to accept: FHA, VA loans, Traditional Loans, Non-QM, investment properties, owner-finance, mortgage assumptions, sellers assistance, and/or cash. (Each type of loan has its own set of requirements. Contact your mortgage lender for more information)

Managing all the different types of deadlines depending on the type of financing (We would need another 5 pages to explain all of these)

2 to 5 HOURS

DETERMINATION OF PRE-APPRAISAL

Pre-appraisals are a great way to validate your estimated sales price. It also validates the selling price when talking to perspective buyers. Ask yourself, do you need it? Who will be your appraiser? How long will your appraisal be valid?

2 to 5 HOURS

DETERMINATION OF PRE-HOME INSPECTION

Most buyers get a home inspection, and financed buyers are required to get a home inspection to received financing and homeowners insurance. Inevitably that list of TO-DOs becomes your responsibility. 

We highly recommend hiring a home inspector for a pre-inspection, so you don't have any surprises and can repair the little things that can kill a deal.

5 to 10 HOURS

DETERMINATION OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Now that you have the home inspection in hand, it is time to fix up the house.

If you don't have these professional services ready, you might watch your deal walk away. Find a trustworthy electrician, plumber, roofer, HVAC, pest control, title company, and MOST IMPORTANTLY real property lawyer. If you don't have a real estate agent, you need another licensed professional to draft contracts.

2 to 3 HOURS

REQUIREMENTS TO UNDERSTAND

Before listing your house make sure you understand other important topics that will arise during the selling process. A few issues that can sideline deals include wind mitigation reports, 4-point inspections, financing terms, inventory lists, HOA requirements, zoning, surveys, deed restrictions, contract compliance, and liens just to name a few.

PREPARING YOUR HOUSE

Congratulations! You now know real estate. Let's start applying what you've learned.

4 to 8 HOURS

REPAIRS

Now is the time to roll the dice or fix the house. Take your pre-inspection report and determine what items you want to DIY, hire to fix, or just let it be. Remember, roofs, HVAC, plumbing and electrical issues will show up in the 4-point inspection, so we highly encourage you to fix these issues.

10 to 15 HOURS

PHOTOS

Photos are what is going to sell your house. Buyers' agents aren't going to promote your house. They are only going to show it if their buyers ask about the property.

You need to determine if you are going to get professional photos. Who are you going to hire? Who is going to deep clean the property before the shoot? Who is going to clean up the landscaping for the shoot? And how/who is going to stage the house?

2 to 4 HOURS

ADVERTISING BUDGET

Homes don't just sell themselves. Like everything else, home sales require advertising and marketing. 

Start to set up your digital ads, social ads, social marketing, print ads, signage, and direct mail campaign. Most realtors run multiple campaigns to sell a house AND get top dollar. A small for sale sign in the front yard isn't going to get you many visitors.

5 to 8 HOURS

LISTING YOUR PROPERTY

Now the paperwork begins!

You will need to write a seller's disclosure, a property description, create photo arrangements, setup contact details, and start posting.

You will need to list your home on MLS ($500), Zillow.com, Realtor.com, trulia.com, homes.com, redfin.com, forsalebyowner.com, realestatewitch.com, and reozom.com.

 

(note, each listing has various listing prices from free up to thousands of dollars depending on your ads budget)

SELLING AND THE ART OF THE DEAL

Congratulations! You now know real estate. Let's start applying what you've learned.

40 to 50 HOURS

SHOWINGS

This is by far the most time consuming task when selling your home. It is also the most volatile. 

You might get lucky and sell to the first person who enters your home. But typically it can take 10 to 20 showings to close that deal. During that time you need to coordinate schedules, prepare your home, show your house, answer questions, manage follow-up, and schedule second showings. All of the little logistical tasks add up to a lot of time.

2 to 4 HOURS

OFFERS

When it comes to offers I highly recommend having an attorney review in full prior to execution. This is your most imperative time to negotiate price and terms.

What kinds of offers will you be accepting? Verbal offer? Text offer?

Written offer? Digital offer? Is there a certain format that you would like to have your offers submitted in?  Are there supporting documents you will require with offers that are submitted? How much time do you need to have your attorney review? Keep in mind that most offers have timelines/deadlines for acceptance, counters, and execution. 

5 to 10 HOURS

NEGOTIATIONS

Few and far between does a perfect offer come in that meets your needs 100%. This is where the art of skilled negotiating come into play. 

 

What items are up for negotiation? How can you give a little to get a little if what you want/need? What items are negotiable? 

Price, escrow funds, secondary escrow funds, title company, escrow holdings, timelines for deliverables (inspections, surveys, repairs, financing, escrow), closing date, post-occupancy, furniture, decor, personal property, repairs, and contingencies.

2 to 4 HOURS

COUNTER OFFER

Again, I highly recommend you have an attorney review and sign off on counter-offers prior to submission to prevent any surprise issues. And don't forget to document EVERYTHING!!

 

More often then not there is a timeline for counter offer submission. Make sure you are familiar with this and follow the timelines specifically. An offer can be null & void by a simple error in time. 

5 to 10 HOURS

ACCEPTANCE

If you haven't done so yet, at this point you need the lawyer from your determinations of professional services to review prior to full acceptance. (2 - 4 hrs)

Make sure you have everything covered and as you intend it to be. The smallest error or issue with verbiage or timelines could be a reason your deal falls apart before or at the closing table. 

CLOSING TIME AND DEAL KILLERS

Congratulations! You have an accepted offer and you are on your way to a sold home!

15 to 20 HOURS

INSPECTIONS, FINANCING, AND APPRAISAL

You may not be responsible for each o​​f these services but, you will have to coordinate and be onsite when each of them occurs. 

Based on your contract terms and agreements with your buyer you may have one, none or all of these occurring: full home inspection, termite inspection, 4-point inspection, wind mitigation report, pool inspection, gas inspection, property survey, and appraisal are among some of the most commonly ordered services. 

10 to 20 HOURS

NEGOTIATIONS

Guess what? The buyers and you now get the opportunity to renegotiate again based on the findings. This is when a lot of buyers have remorse and a large portion of deals do fall apart for one reason or another.  This is another point that it is recommended you have your attorney review any changes that may be made.

 

Know your rights as a seller and make sure you are prepared to negotiate reasonable solutions to any problems that may occur. This is a good time to have reputable vendors a call away and ready to take action if needed. ​

2 to 4 HOURS

Document everything, set timelines and have your attorney review.

NEW TERM SHEETS

2 to 4 HOURS

TIMELINE MANAGEMENT

Everything has a timeline and a deadline as you work your way to closing. One missed deadline can lead to default in a contract and a contract could become null and void. All that hard work for nothing? Not if you are on top of everything and following up daily with all parties involved. Be prepared to file extensions when / if needed.

1 to 3 HOURS

FINAL WALKTHROUGH

In most cases, your buyer will want to inspect their new home the day before or the day of closing. For this, you will need to assure that all repairs have been completed and that the home is in the condition in which the buyer will be receiving it. All personal belongings should be out at this time. 

This is generally when issues arise of repairs not completed to specifications, something not being left that should have been, appliance swaps having occurred or a simple misunderstanding of some sort rises to the surface. Be prepared to calmly negotiate a solution to assure you make it to that closing table. You have come too far not to!! 

5 to 10 HOURS

CLOSING TIME

The day has arrived!!! CLOSING DAY!!! Now, don't get too excited until everything is signed, sealed, and delivered by both parties. Issues/challenges can and often do arise at the final hour. ​

 

Every single real estate transaction that has occurred in the history of real estate has its own story and path that it takes. Simply be prepared, do your homework, and follow this guide for a successful closing!

CONGRATULATIONS!

You are now educated about the entire For Sale By Owner process.

The average for sale by owner spends over 200 hours managing the process to save $5,000 to $10,000. And for some, this is time well spent, and a few homeowners that I’ve helped with For Sale by Owner even enjoyed the process. For others the frustration is deep, they net less and wish they never attempted the process, to begin with. 

For everyone else (or if you are "others"), give me a call, 727.336.3202. I can explain the For Sale by Owner process.

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