Robert Donica

You have the house.  We have the FSBO tips you need to sell it on your own.  What are you waiting for!?

You have the time and energy.

You’re thrilled about the potential savings.

1And you’re ready to dive into the FSBO tips and tricks that will help you on your way.

Does this sound like you?  If it does, and you’re about to begin the adventure of selling your home on your own, Rocket Realty can help.  After years in the real estate business and extensive experience helping out FSBO homeowners like you, we’ve decided to compile our wisdom into the ultimate survival guide for selling your home FSBO.

In it, we’ve addressed the major challenge at each stage of selling.  So, no matter where you are in your journey, we have the vital tips and the real help you need to succeed in the sale of your home.

After you’ve decided that selling your home on your own is the best course of action for you, there are five basic stages that you’ll have to go through.  First, you’ll need to prepare your home.  This stage is all about helping your house make the perfect impression on potential buyers.  Then, you need to price your home.

In the real estate game, getting the price right the first time is a must.  Once you’re ready, it’s time to market your home, so potential buyers know that you’re the best option out there.  When you have people interested, the next step is to negotiate with buyers so everyone is comfortable with the deal.  And, finally, when everyone is on board, your last step is to close the deal (and then celebrate a job well done)!

Are you ready?  Let’s get started!


Preparing Your Home (And Yourself)

There is a lot of work that needs to be done before you stick that For Sale sign out in your yard!  Before you do anything else, you need to make sure that you and your home are both ready for listing, showing, and selling.  There are seemingly endless FSBO tips available that are targeted at this stage.

Unfortunately, the reality is that some of these ideas will make a big impact on your results… and others will simply leave you with a big bill.  How do you know what steps are really necessary?

The Challenge: What preparation is worth doing & what isn’t?

Although the preparation process will be a little bit different for every house, there are a few tried and true steps that everyone should take.  These include:

  • Prepare yourself to take an objective look at your space and what’s in it.  At this stage, emotional nostalgia will only hold you back!
  • Do your homework. Call the title company and the mortgage company, and inspect the property.  Resolve any issues you come across to ensure smooth sailing later on.
  • Repair, don’t renovate.  Little repairs, such as fixing a leaky faucet or a finicky door latch will actually give you a better return on your investment than a major kitchen or bathroom renovation at this stage.
  • Declutter. Although it’s always a challenge, do your best to create a clear and open appearance to keep potential buyers from becoming distracted by your… collections.
  • Clean up, down, and inside out.  It’s inexpensive and makes a huge difference on the impression your home makes. Don’t forget to clean those baseboards and the corners of the ceiling.
  • Stage your home. Spend some time rearranging or even doing some mild redecorating to make your home seem as open and neutral as possible.  Your staging should help your potential buyers envision themselves in the house.

(Steve Flanagan, @ForSaleByOwner


Pricing Your Home

After you’ve repaired, cleaned, and staged your home, it probably looks like a million bucks! …But is it actually worth that million?  Maybe not.  Pricing your home well the first time is one of the most important steps to take for a successful sale.

In fact, home buying/ selling expert Elizabeth Weintraub writes, “The single most important factor to consider when selling a house is pricing the house correctly; it’s picking the right price tag…”  But how do you know when the price is right?


The Challenge: How do I know if my price is right?

Fortunately, setting the right price for your home isn’t just a game of chance.  In fact, these three steps will help you get off to a solid start:

  1. Start by looking at similar homes in your neighborhood that have sold recently, especially those closest in size, age, and location to your home.
  2. Investigate listings that were withdrawn to see why homes in your area haven’t sold.  Pricing often has a lot to do with it!
  3. Check out other active listings in your area.  Price your home similarly to comparable homes and then try to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Pricing your home is another area where emotions will only get in the way.  Regardless of how much you paid for your home, it is only really worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

Often, this number will depend upon the current housing market.  In a seller’s market, you can typically add 10% to the last comparable sale, but in a buyer’s marketing you need to be prepared for a lower list price in order to maintain a competitive edge.
(Elizabeth Weintraub, @EWeintraub

Marketing Your Home

3Once you have your price set and your home prepared, your next challenge is to bring in the potential buyers! Marketing your home is all about creating the right kind of visibility so that your property gets the kind of attention you need.  However, when it comes to how to market your home, the choices are endless!  From open houses to print advertising, even the old fashioned For Sale sign… how do you know what methods are worth your time and effort?


The Challenge: What marketing methods will actually get me the results I need?

Although you could browse the web until you have a comprehensive list of FSBO tips for marketing, there are more direct and reliable ways to figure out which marketing matters most.

For instance, check out the latest statistics about what buyers actually used in their home search.  According to the 2014 National Association of REALTORS Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the top information sources in home searches were as follows:

  • Real Estate Agent: 89%
  • Yard Sign: 51%
  • Mobile or Tablet Website/ Application: 45%
  • Mobile or Tablet Search Engine: 42%
  • Print Newspaper Advertisement: 23%

Statistics like these are useful to show you where your effort would best be spent.  Getting on the radar of local agents is a must, which means listing online as well as sending an e-flier to local agents or brokers.

A sign also offers you indispensable and essentially free advertising.  Running ads in the local paper does help you reach the population who is not online, but may not be worth the time or money it takes.

One final tip: One of the most important parts of your online listing is the photos you use.  Make sure they look good and represent your space well.  You may even want to hire a professional to ensure that your home makes the best visual impression possible.


Negotiating With Buyers

Once the word is out and interested buyers start making contact, you are faced with a new challenge.  How to negotiated with interested buyers or their real estate agents?  Chances are, you are new to the real estate game, so it’s no surprise that negotiations can be intimidating to many FSBO sellers.


The Challenge: I’m not a real estate broker… How do I hold my own?
The good news is that with a little preparation, you can feel confident, and be successful, negotiating with the professionals.  Start by researching the process.  When you understand the basic flow of negotiations, you can continue to feel one step ahead of the game.  Then, do some planning on your own.  What are your goals?  What are you willing to negotiate on?  These answers should inform your strategy going forward.

Finally, prior to any negotiation, spend some time preparing emotionally for the event.  Acknowledge the fact that you are emotionally invested, and then put those feelings to the side.  Remaining calm and objective can help you stay focused on your goal and ensure a smooth negotiation process.  Although you want to be firm about some of your goals, make sure that you also show some flexibility; being too stubborn can quickly dissolve a potential sale!



Closing The Deal

You’ve found a buyer!  Congratulations!  Now, all that remains between you and a successful sale in the rearview mirror is the closing process.  Many first time FSBO sellers are so focused on the listing, showing, and negotiating stages, though, that they don’t take time to preparing for the closing stage and the significant amount of paperwork it involves.

In fact, more FSBO sellers ranked “Understanding and performing paperwork” the most difficult FSBO task than any other. Make sure that you aren’t caught off guard and having to scramble by understanding the closing process before you get there.



The Challenge: I’ve found my buyer… Now what?

Although closing paperwork is a big part of the process, there is more to closing than just signing the bottom line.  You can stay on top of things by making sure you have accomplished the following steps between the contract and the closing:

  • Work with the buyer’s appraiser and inspector. Both of these professionals will have to visit your home before the deal is closed.  You can help make the process easier by having your paperwork, such as the listing sheet and your list of improvements or maintenance.
  • Track the buyer’s financing progress.  At this point, the buyer is focused on getting the approval of a lender; you need to stay on top of this so that, if the deal falls through, you can get your house back on the market as soon as possible.

  • Schedule your move.  Although selling your home can be a rush, don’t forget that your own move is coming up and you need to prepare for that process as well!

  • Sign the deed. Once everything is finalized, one of the last steps is for you to sign the deed and get your check!  Don’t forget to celebrate a job well done!

(Steve Flanagan, @ForSaleByOwner
During the closing process, may FSBO sellers find that it is easier to hire a flat rate real estate agent like Rocket Realty to help with the final paperwork.  This way, you can be confident everything is done correctly and you can focus your attention on the next step: your own move!


The Help You Need, When You Need It

At Rocket Realty, we are dedicated to offering FSBO sellers like you the help you need when you need it.  That’s why you can choose from our list of a la carte services at any point during your selling process.

Have you sold a property on your own before?  What other FSBO tips and tricks do you have for new sellers?  Share your ideas in the comment section below!