Trusted Local Real Estate Expert & Board Certified REALTOR®
954-853-7048 | desi@desiavila.com
Charles Rutenberg Realty Fort Lauderdale

10 Things To Know Before You FSBO

Take it to another level and FSBO like a pro with these 10 tips!

Getting Ready for the Big Match

"A winning effort begins with preparation".

A lightweight can win an uneven match, but they have to train.

Selling FSBO means that you will most likely be dealing with professional real estate agents, the heavyweights in this match. You, on the other hand, are the lightweight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t win this match.

On the contrary! I believe that you can successfully sell your home FSBO with the proper coaching and training. The 10 steps outlined below are designed to help you train and prepare for your upcoming match.

Throughout this heavyweight/lightweight match up consider me your own private coach. Contact me if you need help with anything, and I mean anything. For the quickest response text me at 954-993-4246 or email me at desiree@desireeavila.com.

If the outside of your house looks unkempt, buyers may pass on it all together.

If you want potential buyers to be impressed by your home when they come to see it, then you have to take the time to prepare it for sale. You should do the following :

  1. Clean, clean, clean. Have it deep cleaned and regularly cleaned throughout the sale.
  2. Declutter and depersonalize. Make the house seem more like a hotel.
  3. Deodorize the house, make sure it always smells nice when you have showings.
  4. Landscape the front and backyard. Curb appeal is very important. If they don’t like what they see on the outside, they many not want to come inside.
  5. Patch, Paint and Fix. Neutralize the paint color, patch any holes and fix any little things that may give buyers a bad impression.
  6. Improve the kitchen and bathrooms. These areas are two of the most important spaces in a house. Spruce them up as much as possible.
  7. Let there be light! A house that does not get a lot of light doesn’t give a good impression. If that is your house, then find a way to make it brighter.

You may also want to consider doing a pre-sale inspection to remediate and head off any potential issues that could be deal killers.

Nailing the right price range is one of the single, if not, the most important thing when selling a house. Yet, it is one of the most common and most detrimental mistakes a seller makes. If a house is priced incorrectly, a lot can go wrong with the sale of the home.

If it is priced too high it will linger on the market and people will wonder what is wrong with it.

If it is priced too low you will leave money on the table.

I can’t underscore enough how important it is to price it right.

A house has an objective value. A house is not automatically worth what the neighbor’s house sold for, nor is it worth what the Zestimate says or what you feel it is worth.

Pricing it involves looking at comparable properties, evaluating them, adjusting them according to features and narrowing down a range into which your property falls. You’ll know you have nailed it if you get lots of showing requests. If you don’t, don’t wait to long to adjust the price. The longer a house stays on the market, the worse it is for the sale.

If don’t want to go at it alone, hire an appraiser to do an appraisal. You can then use it to justify your price to any potential buyers. An appraisal starts in the $400-$500 range and goes up from there. A Realtor® can create a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for free. Fill out the form below if you would like me to create one for you. It’s FREE !

Nail the price, period.

CMA Request
Typical turnaround time is 24 hours.

It won’t matter how great your house looks if you don’t have a marketing plan in place to get qualified buyers to see it. Somethings you should do are  :
  1. Professional Photos and Videos. Have professional photos and videos taken. The photos and videos will be the first impression potential buyers get of your home, so they need to be professional. Yes, phones today take great pictures, but they will never be better than professional pictures and videos.
  2. Provide information and FAQs neatly and professionally. Create an information and feature sheet that details what people always ask about the house. Click here to see an example of the one I customize for my clients.
  3. Create a website for the property.  If you want to get really fancy you can even buy the URL that is your address, i.e. www.myaddress.com .
  4. Let friends, family and neighbors know you are selling. Share the info sheet, photos and videos with them or if you create a website, share the URL with them.
  5. Order a professional sign to place out front. Add your custom URL and a QR code to it so people can easily see pictures of the house if they are driving by it.
  6. Share it on social media.
  7. Make sure real estate agents know you will pay them a commission for bringing the buyer. Agents are your best source for qualified buyers. Even though you may not pay an agent to sell your house, you should become comfortable with the idea of paying a buyer’s agent a commission. If you offer no commission at all, you are pretty much dead in the water.
  8. List it on the MLS using a Limited Service Agreement/Flat Fee. This can be done with most agents. My flat fee service using the standard Florida Realtors contract, however, if you use another Flat Fee make sure you read the fine print.I offer a no risk, no nonsense Limited Service Agreement which includes a one page property website, like the one found here. For more information about my Limited Service Agreement, fill out the form below and I will send you details about how it works.
  9. Get help from a Realtor and still sell it yourself. Even though you can do this on your own, if you have a team behind you, you are stronger and united in one same goal, selling your house. My Stronger Together system is a middle of the road cooperative agreement which allows you to benefit from the strength of my marketing skills, knowledge and experience while at the same time allowing you in the freedom to still sell FSBO. Why not give yourself the best chance to successfully sell your property FSBO ? Want to know more, just fill out the form below.

When selling a house FSBO traditional wisdom about letting strangers in to your home goes out the window, but it should not. On the contrary, to protect your family and property, you must have a safety plan in place and follow it to the letter.

Safety has become of utmost important amongst the Realtor community and it should for you too.

  1. Secure and store away all valuables and weapons, if you have any.
  2. Buyers represented by a real estate agent. If a buyer comes to you via a real estate agent, take down their contact information, brokerage and license number. Check the brokerage website or call them to verify the agent is part of their brokerage. Alternatively you can check the license at MyFloridaLicense.com
  3. Unrepresented buyers. If a buyer is unrepresented ask them to send you their ID and proof of funds or mortgage pre-approval. Keep their ID on file and make sure a friend or family member knows about and has access to this information. The proof of funds or mortgage pre-approval shows you they actually have the means to buy.
    If they are not willing to provide either decline the showing.
  4.  Do not fall victim to temptation. Do not be tempted by offers that sound to good to be true.  This is how dishonest people find a way to disarm you so you allow them into your house. An example of this would be “ I am an investor and I will pay you $10K over asking , but I have to see the house tonight“.  In a statement like the one above, they are creating a sense of urgency to manipulate you. Don’t fall for it. Trust your gut and follow your safety plan. If they are the real deal they will see the house on your terms.
  5. Refuse to show. If you have scheduled a showing with two people and three show up or they don’t look like the people on their license. Then refuse to show. At all times you must remember your safety and your family’s safety is of primary importance. Remember follow your gut and your safety plan to the letter.
  6. Create a showing plan. Ideally nobody, except for the person providing access, should be there during showings. If other people have to be there, make a plan for them to leave temporarily while the house is being shown. You can provide access using a lockbox, but I would recommend doing that only with Realtors and not with any unrepresensed buyers. Who is to say they won’t park a moving van in the driveway and start loading it up. Imagine trying to explain that to police !
  7. Have an exit Strategy. During showings, have an exit strategy in case something goes sideways.

When you place your house for sale FSBO, you will start getting a lot, I mean a lot of calls from real estate agents – have a strategy for how to handle them.  It ma get unnerving after the umpteenth call of th day. So prepare to steel yourself against this kind of interaction.

The other thing you have to steel yourself against is criticism. When you have an agent they are your buffer, but when you sell by owner you are on the front lines, no buffer. So be prepared to hear criticism about your house, low ball offers, pushy investors, pushy agents and the like. Steel yourself by preparing how to respond to these scenarios.

Lastly, remember that the sale of a house is an objective transaction. Remember this always, even though for you it may be an emotional one.

A key to selling a house is making sure it is as available as possible to show. All your hard work getting the house ready will be for nothing if you don’t make the house available to show when qualified buyers would like to see it.

For example, having the house available one time per week for a 2 hour slot and on the weekend for a total of 4 hours is probably not going to cut it.

Yes you want buyers to work with your schedule, but you cannot be overly rigid either. Find a balance that works for you and prospective buyers, but never, ever make an exception that would violate your safety plan.

You want to know what people are thinking about your house. The way to do that is to collect feedback after every showing. Most agents or buyers don’t respond right away, so it is important to be insistent. My team requests feedback no less than 6 times by email, text and phone and we get a fair amount back. The key is to be persistent. The feedback will give you a gauge as to how people perceive your house. The questions I typically ask are :
  1. What did you like most about the house ?
  2. What did you like least about the house ?
  3. What did you think of the price ?
  4. Please share any other thoughts you have about the house.

If 9 out 10 people say they think the price is too high, then you should probably consider adjusting it. If 8 out 10 people say they are concerned that the roof is too old, then consider attenuating that concern by offering a credit toward a new roof. At the very least, anticipate it might come up when an offer comes in and how you may handle it. Use the data you collect to inform your decisions.

Selling a house involves a lot, I mean a lot of paperwork.  An attorney can write a sales contract but I would recommend asking the buyer’s agent to present you with one of the standard sale contracts use by Florida Realtors. Here is a sample As-Is Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase.

The contract should have all its attendant addendums. If anything is written in the additional terms, make sure you know what it means and don’t just assume you know.

Since you have opted not to hire an agent, it is highly recommended you hire an attorney to help you review the paperwork and complete the seller side paperwork for the closing.

Lastly, provide the buyer with a Seller’s Disclosure. You can ask the buyer’s agent to provide you with one. Disclose everything you know about the property. This will protect you from any future liability.

For example, if the roof leaked two years ago. Disclose it and share what you did to repair it. If the house has any material defect, like a collapsed pipe, disclose it. Disclose, disclose, over-disclose.

Once you get an offer, you have to make sure the offer is a strong offer. If it is a cash offer, ask for proof of funds. They should send you proof they have the money in the bank, all of it, not part of it, all of it.

A pre-approval is not a loan approval. The buyer still has to go through the loan approval process. You want to make sure they actually have the ability to get the loan, so you have to ask questions. 

Before signing the contract, contact the mortgage broker beforehand and ask them about the buyer’s ability to get the loan. Ask if they have performed a thorough evaluation of the buyer’s finances. If so ask if there is anything of concern that could kill the deal.

Ask anything else you feel may be relevant. If there is any shadow of a doubt ask the buyer’s agent to help you clear it up. Don’t sign anything until you have vetted the buyer and are sure they can get to the closing table

In addition to becoming familiar with which paperwork you should expect, you also need to know the deadlines throughout the contract. For example, by when is the escrow money due to the escrow agent? When does the inspection period end ? By when does the buyer have to complete the mortgage application ? Submit a loan approval ? and more.

Know the deadlines and make sure the buyer’s agent is abiding by them so that they are not out of contract and can pull a fast one on you like cancel the deal without penalty. Remember the buyer has a real estate professional representing them. That real estate professional, most likely, has a lot more experience and knowledge than you do. All Realtors are bound by a code of ethics and must deal with all parties fairly. However, if there is a loophole they can use to legally extricate their client from the deal, and they have to use it, they will. Make sure you know the deadlines, what exactly they mean, what to expect for each and what to do if they are not met.

By following the deadlines to a T, you will ensure the deal goes as smooth as possible or you will know when something is amiss and what to do about it so you can get to the closing table.

Celebrate being the champion of this heavyweight/lightweight match up !