Avoid These 5 Common FSBO Mistakes


Beautifully staged living room in for sale by owner home with no clutter, clean furniture and plenty of light.

Do you love the idea of selling your home without a realtor to lower or eliminate the sales commission? The listing agent commission, usually 3% of the selling price, on a $300,000 home is $9,000. If your buyer is looking for an FSBO home and has no buyer agent, your savings can double to 6% or $18,000! That kind of savings is hard to turn down.

Acting as your own agent is easier than you think. But you need to do some homework to get the most from your For Sale by Owner transaction. Before you start, learn to avoid these common FSBO mistakes.

Easily Avoided FSBO Mistakes

While you have a chance to keep more of your sales price if you work without a realtor, some common pitfalls can delay your sale and reduce the selling price, so pay attention to these common pitfalls.

1. Neglecting Market Research

Explore recent sales prices for comparable properties in your area. Without actual market research, you risk setting your price too low or too high. Rather than setting a price based on what you believe your house should sell for, or how much you would like to gain from the sale, try to base your price at or slightly under your home’s current market value. Some real estate websites let you select a few comparable properties in your neighborhood to calculate a market price for your home using your knowledge of your home’s features and your local area. These results can vary widely however. With your flat fee MLS listing that gets your home in front of thousands of realtors and buyers online, For Sale By Owner Virginia (GoToFSBO.com) can provide you with a professional set of comps for the most accurate listing price, one that will generate real offers.

2. Not Bothering to Make a Home Marketable

The good news is that almost any home can be sold. Still, a presentable, neat home is likely to attract higher offers more quickly. Reduce the clutter, remove personal items like family photos and of course, tidy up, and you’ve made it possible for people to envision themselves living in your house. You don’t necessarily have to fix every ding in the drywall or crack in the driveway, but such inexpensive tasks as painting, cleaning windows and blinds, and weeding the garden will almost always pay for themselves many times over.  Remember the outside of your home is the buyer’s very first impression!

3. Trying to Cover Up Issues

Again, you don’t necessarily have to fix every issue; however, you should never try to hide problems from buyers. Before the sale, you will need to complete a seller disclosure form. At this point, you can let buyers know about any problems that you’re aware of. Failure to disclose known issues can delay the sale or even get you sued.

4. Failure to Respond Promptly to Buyers

If you accept inquiries about your house by phone or email, be sure to contact them promptly. If you delay too long, buyers will have moved on to another house. If possible, try to respond to buyers within a few hours and make your home available for a showing within a few days. If you get an offer, take care to respond within the time limits of the offer.

5. Lacking a Marketing Plan

Marketing doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective. The good news is that technology such as the internet and mobile phones makes marketing more accessible to regular people than it was a few years ago. For instance:

  • If you want to sell faster, you can get a lockbox to allow entry to buyer’s real estate agents, even if you plan to act as your own seller’s agent. Buyer agents prefer you are not home when they get to your home with their potential buyer.  If your buyer comes from a buyer’s agent, you can still keep the portion that would have gone to the your listing agent commission, and these real estate pros may move your house faster.
  • Most buyers and real estate agents search the MLS for homes, so it’s helpful to have your listing published where it will be seen. Major real estate listing websites that buyers look at, such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, pull their listings from the MLS. You can use a flat fee MLS listing service to get your home listed on the MLS without needing a realtor.
  • Don’t forget about yard signs and flyers to advertise your home to drive-by traffic. A passerby may have their eye out for a home in your neighborhood for themselves, a friend, or a family member. Make it easy for them to get your information. Our most popular FSBO MLS listing packages include professional yard signs and flyers.

With GoToFSBO.com, You Aren’t On Your Own

One of the largest obstacles to an FSBO sale is the fact that many sellers have no experience handling real estate transactions. At GoToFSBO.com, we fill in the gaps between seller and buyer to make the experience seamless and successful. For a flat fee, we will help you list your home on the MLS as well as market it on other sites, no seller commissions involved. We provide resources and instructions to help you prepare, list and sell your home. We offer a la carte services for areas where a little extra help may be needed, such as price negotiations, countering the offer and assistance with meeting the terms of the contract to get you to closing.

If you plan to sell your home in the Virginia area without an agent, let GoToFSBO.com work as your trusted partner.

Author: Debbie Kent

Debbie Crevier-Kent began her career as a licensed Real Estate agent. Seeing the need for lower real estate selling costs, she created easy to use FSBO service packages, starting GoToFSBO.com in 1994. Ms. Crevier-Kent is a member FlatFeeGroup.com, Homesbyowner.com and FSBOpublishers.org and a member or NAR, NVAR, REIN, BRIGHT, WAAR, and CAAR

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