How to For Sale By Owner: Six Steps for FSBO Success - Introduction

Thinking of selling your home without using a real estate agent? You've found a great resource, my Six Step "How To" Guide to Successfully Selling For Sale By Owner. I am a real estate attorney, as well as a licensed real estate broker, and I've helped hundreds of successful home buyers and sellers.

Craig provides the following insight for informational purposes only, and without any warranty or guarantee whatsoever. This blog does not create an attorney/client relationship, and Craig is not your attorney unless you have a signed fee agreement with him. Now with that disclaimer out of the way...

Thanks for checking out this How to FSBO Guide! This introduction will get you on track for - hopefully! - a successful sale.

INITIAL GOAL: Decide whether to sell your house.

So you're thinking of selling the home yourself...

FSBO isn't for everyone. But these days, it's a reasonable consideration for anyone who wants to cut out those large real estate commissions. Thanks to the internet, most buyers find the homes they want to buy themselves. And with online tools like Zillow and Trulia, it's easy to post a listing where buyers will find it. You just don't need to pay 6% to sell your house anymore.

However, you'd better be prepared for work. Lots of work. Steps 2, 3, and 4 are done by a listing broker. But by doing it yourself, you'll save at least 3% and as much as 6%. (You can still save up to 4% if you hire Added Equity to sell the home rather than an MLS broker, and they'll do all the work.) 

Steps 5 and 6 are tricky. These are legal issues, and there is a lot on the line.  That's why most people agree you should hire an attorney to assist when selling FSBO.

In any event, FWIW here is the FSBO Law Center's insight on how to sell your home by yourself "For Sale By Owner".

Our 6 Step FSBO Guide:

Step 1: Prep It

Step 2: Price It

Step 3: Write It Up

Step 4: Post It

Step 5: Sell It

Step 6: Close It

Step Prep: Should I sell?

Before you can take even the first step on your FSBO journey, a little preparation is in order. You have to be able to answer the question, "Should I sell the house?" It can be a complicated question, and one you want to answer with a lot of of confidence before you move forward.

One factor you should consider is the current state of your local housing market. Maybe you don't have a choice as to the timing of your sale. But if you do, it's good to know whether conditions are favorable. Plus, you'll want to do a lot of the same research anyway when you get to Step 2, and it never hurts to get ahead of the game.

Don't just rely on a real estate broker buddy, agents are notorious for promoting the market. Do your own research using the free tools available on Zillow and elsewhere on the web. Check out some real estate blogs.

Seattle Tip: We have a great real estate blog that cuts through a lot of the BS in real estate, launched a decade ago and called the SeattleBubble (go figure...)

Talk to a lot of people, and keep an eye on some listings similar to yours. Soon you'll get a sense of the strength of the market, and what might be a reasonable amount for you to expect.

Once you decide to sell, the rest is easy! Well, not easy, but at least the difficult emotional decision is out of the way.

Up next, Step 1: Prep it