For Sale by Owner Tips & FSBO MLS Listings
10 Steps to FSBO Success:
1. Pricing Tips: At last count, around 85% of sellers in this program who offer 3% and give it 6 months succeed.. That being said, overpricing due to bias is the single biggest reason why a for-sale-by-owner does not sell. Price your property with the prices of competing listings and recent sales in mind. We offer current MLS market data with our phone consultation option, or you can view active listings for free on sites like Realtor.com. Market analysis by real estate agents (or CMA's) in most states cannot be considered appraisals in part because they are not unbiased. Consider getting an appraisal. A 1% mistake on pricing will cost most sellers more than a $300 appraisal. Offer a competitive commission to agents (3% recommended in most cases) in the MLS so they want to sell your property.
2. Polish your home: Little blemishes can lead to big discounting by buyers. Visit our showing tips section to learn how to stage a house. Fix as many defects as possible.
3. Write your ad: We provide an MLS profile sheet for you to write your ad. The remarks section is where you have the most opportunity to be a salesperson. Take time to use the space provided. Don't waste valuable space repeating what is mentioned elsewhere on your MLS listing. Focus on things not already covered. Some good phrases (if they're true) include: fresh paint, private lot, low utility costs, quiet neighborhood, excellent condition, fixer upper, priced to sell, newer roof and mechanicals, well maintained, fenced yard, low traffic street, close to schools, close to shopping, etc. Finally, make sure we promptly get your photo.
4. Get Help if Needed: It's fine to represent yourself if you know what you are doing. When you do not, we recommend hiring us or a real estate lawyer for representation.
5. Mainstream Exposure = Higher Sale Price: Don't sell without the MLS, as sale prices outside the MLS average around 7% less*. The MLS gets you mainstream exposure, both to buyers working with agents, and buyers searching on public versions of the MLS database. Lawn signage accounts for 20% of sales, so don't neglect this area. We offer two types of signs, and directional signs. Seek supplemental print advertising if your target market requires.
6. Open Houses: In most cases open houses are not worth the seller's time, as they account for a small percentage of sales. We do provide space on the profile sheet for you to list any open houses you do on the MLS. We recommend sellers using supplemental print ads to promote an open house.
7. Property Disclosure/Condition Statement: Fill this form out thoroughly to win buyers' confidence, and reduce your post-settlement liability in many states. If you are not sure whether to disclose something, use the golden rule and disclose it. Make copies of this disclosure available for showings with your brochure.
8. Evaluate Offers: Choose not only on price. The other half is the terms. Request a preapproval letter from your buyers. Learn how to critique this and your buyer's financial ability with our buyer qualifying package.
9. Sales Agreement and Escrow: If the buyer you choose comes with an agent, you should direct the buyer's agent to prepare a formal sales agreement and hold the escrow moneys. Normally agents are compensated only by the commission you listed in the MLS. If you find a buyer yourself, you may order a blank sales agreement from us (under $20). You may also hire a lawyer of your choice to provide these services.
10. Settlement/Closing: Call a local title company or lawyer office to learn the answers to these questions: 1) How do the buyer and seller divide the closing costs? 2)What are the local customs and conditions for any transfer and misc. taxes?
* Based on a study done in 2002 by Housepad.com, REALTORS. Over 30 tax record sales in Berks County, PA were compared to the same number of MLS sales in the same area over the same time. The tax record sales included MLS and non-MLS sales. The MLS sales prices were 7% higher.