Clayton Sanders

5 Tips for a Successful FSBO
by Clayton Sanders

It’s no secret that skipping the real estate agent and selling a home on your own can save you thousands. Depending on the location, the average seller can pay anywhere from 1-4% of the sales price just for listing with an agent. But, if it’s easy to sell on your own, why doesn’t everyone do it?  For sale by owner isn’t for the faint of heart, but there are ways to make it successful.

Price It Right

Pricing might be the single most important key to a successful For Sale By Owner. Every property on the market is only new for a few days; it will lose its freshness after a few weeks of showings to potential buyers. Demand starts dwindling after about 21 days, and if the price is too high, you may have to drop it. While it’s never too late, you might have lost an opportunity to sell the house.

While pricing the home low can increase demand, resulting in more offers, you may get less for the home than what you could have. Everyone wants to get as much as they can from their home sale.

Take an objective approach to pricing your home.  Look for other similar homes in your area that have sold recently, assess the market, and try to keep your emotions in check.  

Consider Flat Fee MLS Options

According to NAR, in 2018 only 4% of homes sold were not listed in the Multiple Listing Service. Instead of hoping that your other marketing hacks get in front of the right people, make sure your home is readily available for looking buyers and their agents in the MLS. Instead of paying a percentage of the sales price when the home sells and being contractually obligated to an agent, pay a small flat fee up front for them to put the home in the MLS for you.

Pay For Professional Photos

With most buyers starting their home shopping online, it’s critical to make a great first impression.  This starts with the listing photos. Don’t cheap out by taking photos with your phone while you drive by.  Hire a professional photographer for a couple hundred dollars that can get the best shots possible.

If your listing has poor quality photos or even worse, no photos, you are going to get overlooked by potential buyers.

Don't Underestimate the Power of Social Media

A marketing campaign without the inclusion of social media is incomplete. These are the most visited sites, and your chances of making a sale here are high. One of the best places to market your house is on Facebook where over one billion people are active every month. Others include Twitter, Nextdoor, Instagram and LinkedIn.

You can also join real estate communities and place your ads to reach your targeted area. Post photos of your home and sales details and wait for potential buyers to call. The traditional FSBO sites are now also active on social media, and so wherever you choose to list your home, it may end up in their social media where you are likely to get a lot of traffic.

Offer a Buyer Agent Commission

You decided to sell on your own to avoid paying a listing commission, but don’t ignore what offering a buyer agent commission could get you.  Anywhere between 1-3% of the sales price is standard, depending on your market. It may sound like a lot, but it increases the flow of buyers sent your way by buyer agents. Most MLS’ also require a buyer commission to be eligible to add your listing. Failing to offer a commission or not offering enough, can make buyer’s agents direct their clients to go where they are paid. If a buyer’s agent obtains a buyer that eventually purchases the home, the buyer agent commission will be taken from your sale proceeds at closing. A property for sale by owner will gain extra exposure if you offer a buyer agent commission.

Can you be successful on your own?

Absolutely, and you can save yourself some money doing it.  The internet is full of successful FSBO stories. Use their experience and figure out what works for your home and market. You can also look for online tools to guide you through the process.  There are several platforms that provide you what you need to manage the sale from day one to closing. Then make your story one of success.




Clayton Sanders
Clayton Sanders is a real estate enthusiast and Brand Ambassador for Transactly living in St. Charles, MO. Clayton spends his time researching real estate trends, and the implications of NAR data on the current US housing market. Clayton credits the foundation of his real estate knowledge to Worth Clark Realty.


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