9 Step Guide to FSBO


Selling your home is a huge decision. After researching local Realtors and seeing how fast the market is moving right now, you may feel that it’s better to sell your home yourself. FSBO, or for sale by owner, is when you sell your home without the help of a Realtor or licensed professional. By doing FSBO, you can avoid paying commission, working with an agent, and you have complete control over your listing.

If you know you’re ready to sell your home but not sure where to start, we made a step-by-step guide on how to FSBO.

Step 1: Price your home accurately

Need help figuring out where to start with the sale of your home? Click the photo above for a free guide to selling your home!

According to NAR, 17% of people who have done FSBO said pricing their home was the most difficult task. Not only can pricing your home be difficult but accurately pricing your home can be close to impossible. In fact, homes priced by owners are an average of 2% higher than homes listed by agents according to Trulia research. Although that may sound good, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will sell at that price. Homes that are priced inaccurately actually stay on the market longer.

To accurately price your home, here are a few things you should research:
  • Current prices for homes similar to yours in your city and neighborhood. Because you aren’t a Realtor, it’s impossible to pull an accurate list of comparable homes. For accurate numbers, you need access to MLS data. However, these require a licensed professional. Therefore, you may need to rely on sites like Zillow and Trulia which aren’t always accurate.
  • The ROI of any improvements and renovations you’ve made to your home. This can take quite a bit of time and research depending on how many improvements you’ve made to your home. You’ll also want to be careful to not over or underprice the ROI since that will directly affect your home value.
  • Prices over time to find any market trends. Again, without access to MLS data, it will be more difficult to find accurate data about the market over time.

Click here for a free home value report!

Step 2: Prepare your home

Since you won’t have an agent that offers their knowledge and expertise on home improvements that buyers look for, you will have to decide what should be upgraded or repaired in your home. To decide what should be updated, weigh the costs of the projects you think should be completed against the value of your home from step 1. You want to choose improvements carefully or you could make the common mistake of paying more for upgrades than the value they will add. After making any necessary renovations, you will need to stage your home. Staging is the process of strategically arranging the furniture and decor in your home to be show-ready so buyers can imagine living there. According to NAR, 83% of buyers’ agents said buyers could better visualize living in a home if it was staged. 22% of sellers’ agents saw the dollar value of offers increase 1-5% when they saw a staged home. Finally, 17% saw the dollar value of the home increase 6-10% in comparison to similar homes.

Many agents offer staging advice or referrals as part of the selling process. However, since you’re doing a FSBO, you can either research and hire a professional stager or do it yourself. If you decide to stage yourself, the rooms you should prioritize are the kitchen, living room, master bedroom, and dining room.

Curb Appeal

Not only does the inside of your home need to look perfect, but so does the outside. Curb appeal is how your home looks from the street and is another important step that you don’t want to overlook. It’s the first impression potential buyers will have of your home. So you’ll want to make sure the exterior is also show-ready. According to NAR, landscape maintenance, overall landscape upgrade, and standard lawn care service are ranked as the highest projects that should add value to your home when selling.

Step 3: Photograph your home

Once your home is prepared and staged, it’s time to photograph your home. Although the newest iPhone and Android phones have pretty good cameras, hiring a professional who knows everything about lighting and the most appealing angles will be worth the extra cost. According to the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD), homes with high-quality photos sell 32% faster. Plus, the more photos you have, the faster your home will sell. Homes listed from $200,000 to $1,000,000 with professional photos have sold for $3,000 to $11,000 more.

Most Realtors offer professional photography as well as 3D tours and videos as part of their services. So if you have the budget, this is something you definitely want to invest in.

Step 4: List your home

After all your preparations, you’re finally ready to create your listing. Unfortunately, only real estate agents can create listings on the MLS. Sites like Zillow and Trulia automatically pull from the MLS, so this is certainly a disadvantage to FSBO.

You can list your home yourself as FSBO on Zillow. Or, you can pay certain real estate companies to have them list your home on the MLS.

FSBO - For Sale By Owner

Step 5: Know your home disclosure requirements

If you’re doing FSBO, you need to research the requirements your state has for disclosures. A seller disclosure includes what sellers must tell buyers about their home. This can include structural problems, past issues like flooding, and any repairs or upgrades you’ve made on your home. A seller disclosure will save you time from any surprises that may come up in a home inspection. If you do have any surprises or bumps in your inspection, you could be left with expensive and unnecessary repairs or demands from buyers. There are a number of legally required disclosures in California and missing any of them could create legal liability for you in the future so you may want to consult with an attorney to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.

Step 6: Market your home

Now that your home is listed, it’s time to market your home. Although you may think a for sale sign in your yard is good enough, it’s not. When we market your home we typically start with an email blast to our database of buyer leads that we’ve accumulated over the years as well as to real estate agents who work in the area. You should definitely start with an email to friends and family letting them know your home is now on the market. However, you may find it hard to get results this way unless you have an extensive database, one that hopefully includes real estate professionals who sell in your area and may be working with motivated, qualified buyers.

Social Media Marketing

At The Shannon Jones Team, we set up ads on Facebook and Instagram and target potential buyers in our area. According to NAR, members found social media as the most valuable source to obtain high-quality leads and interest in homes. With more than 1 billion monthly active users on Instagram and 2.41 billion monthly active users on Facebook, marketing your home on social media is one thing you don’t want to miss out on.

You could post about your home on your personal page, but exposure and reach will be limited. Plus, the quality of leads will likely not be what you were hoping for. Adding your professional video to YouTube as well is a good idea since YouTube is the second most popular search engine online (second only to Google). If you don’t have a YouTube channel with local subscribers that may be a disadvantage for you, but you can try advertising on YouTube as well,

How The Shannon Jones Team Handles Marketing

For all of our listings, we get professional photos, a professional video, and a 3D Matterport tour. We also add them to our website, send out emails, and create printed materials to advertise our recent sales. To learn more about our marketing strategy, please CLICK HERE or watch the video below.

Step 7: Communicate with potential buyers

Hopefully, by now, you’ve acquired a few leads that have started to show interest in your home. Even though you don’t have an agent, your potential buyer probably does which means you’ll be responsible for all communication with them throughout the process. You will need to be on top of emails, texts, and phone calls to schedule showings and meetings with your potential buyers and their agents. Additionally, you need to be responsive to any questions they may have about your home. Just remember to be patient and think about your responses. Selling your home (especially as a FSBO) can be emotional and make you say things you don’t mean.

COVID Protocols

You’ll also want to make sure that you are following any COVID-safety protocols in today’s environment, and you’ll want to have a screening system in place so that you are ensuring that anyone who views your home is both motivated, serious AND qualified. If you don’t know the questions to ask, you’ll want to educate yourself on the process.

Step 8: Hire third-party experts

You might want to hire an attorney to help you throughout the selling process. This is especially important when signing legal documents, purchase agreements, and seller disclosures. Although this can be costly, it’s ultimately for your own protection throughout the process.

Step 9: Wait for offers

And now we wait. Depending on how much effort you’ve put into the preparations, staging, marketing, and listing of your home will determine how long it will take your home to sell. According to Inman, 18% of FSBOs did not sell in the timeline they were hoping for. The average FSBO home was sold for $200,000 while homes sold by agents were $265,500 in 2017. In fact, homes sold through the MLS were sold on average 20 days faster, according to NAR. And in some neighborhoods in Long Beach, the average selling time recently was 5 days.

Feeling overwhelmed by FSBO?

If the selling process seems like too much to handle on your own, we’re here to help. Even though homes are moving quickly during the current seller’s market, selling a home for top dollar still requires a strategy. It can be tempting to think you’ll save money by going the FSBO route, but in reality, the expertise of a real estate agent can actually help you sell your home for more. An experienced real estate team, like The Shannon Jones Team, can help walk you through the real estate process and help you earn more money than you would on your own. We are always up to date on real estate trends and current home prices. This helps us price our sellers’ homes accurately and increase activity for the listing.

If you’d like more information on how we get our listings sold, please reach out! We’d love to chat and tell you more about our strategy and how we can help you. To get in touch, please fill out the form below or give us a call at 562.896.2456.

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About the Author

Shannon Jones has been selling real estate since 1998 and specializes in listing and marketing homes. She has consistently been one of the top Realtors in the Long Beach area. Prior to her award-winning career in real estate with the Shannon jones Team, Shannon has had successful careers in journalism and public relations. She holds a bachelors degree from UC Irvine and a masters degree from UC Berkeley. Shannon holds E-Pro, CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert), and PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) certifications. Shannon is very personable and maintains a very strong moral compass, always putting the best interest of home buyers/sellers above monetary goals. A California native, Shannon enjoys gardening, travel, reading, cooking and poker when she’s not selling homes MY DESIGNATIONS Lic# 01247705 | CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) | E-Pro | PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) MY SERVICE AREAS Anaheim Bellflower Buena Park Carson Cerritos Cypress Downey Fountain Valley Garden Grove Huntington Beach La Palma Lakewood Long Beach Los Alamitos Los Angeles County Norwalk Orange County Rossmoor San Pedro Seal Beach Signal Hill South Bay Westminster

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