FSBO: For Sale By Owner. You might have seen these signs around your own neighborhood and wondered why an owner would want to sell their home on their own without the help of a knowledgeable, experienced real estate agent.
For many owners, the bottom line is that it’s the bottom line. Selling their homes themselves comes down to a simple question of saving money. With real estate commissions averaging nationally around 5.3%, a motivated owner/seller might save thousands of dollars by skipping the realtor and managing their own listing. What’s more, selling your home yourself might help you close on your property faster.
If you’re interested in selling your St. Petersburg, Florida home yourself, read on for TKTK essential things to know and do to protect your interests and get top value for your property.
1. Understand What FSBO Really Means
Selling your home by yourself means that you’ll take over all the responsibilities and tasks that a listing agent would normally handle. In exchange, you get to retain more of the selling price when you close with the purchaser, instead of handing over a commission to the listing agent. (If the buyer has retained an agent, they’d probably still get their commission.)
Some of those tasks include:
- Setting your asking price
- Revising your asking price in response to interest
- Staging the home and taking photos
- Listing your property on websites and doing other marketing tasks
- Arranging times for interested shoppers to view the home and hosting open house events
- Negotiating with buyers
If you’re not prepared or able to handle these important tasks, it might be better to enlist the aid of an experienced seller’s agent.
2. Take Care of Necessary Repairs
Before you take the first step in selling your home, address any necessary repairs and make sure your home is actually ready for sale. In Florida, some of the repairs most often cited by home inspectors that sellers need to address include:
- Roof maintenance and repair
- Out-of-date electrical and plumbing systems or elements
- HVAC systems (especially in Florida summers)
- Mold and mildew cleanup
Florida buyers will expect homes on the market to meet a certain minimum standard and be able to stand up to the extreme heat, humidity, and precipitation the state can get year-round.
3. Exercise Care in Setting Your Asking Price
One of the ways a seller’s agent can be tremendously useful to St. Petersburg homeowners is in helping them establish the right initial asking price. Set this amount too high and you’ll turn off potentially qualified and interested buyers; too low, and you’ll leave money on the table. And while you might sell your home faster on your own, you’re statistically more likely to sell it for less. That’s why the right asking price is so important.
If you’re selling your home yourself, you’ll need to figure this out on your own. Start by looking at comparable listings, or comps. Go to open houses in your neighborhood and browse listing sites for homes of similar age, style and size. Track these homes over a few weeks or more to see how the prices range, and try to identify features that might warrant a price at one end of that range or another. This will help you determine the best price to list your home initially.
4. Fill Out Your Home’s Disclosure Form
In Florida, sellers will need to have a properly filled-out Florida Seller’s Property Disclosure form. This form is required to make sure all buyers have been adequately informed of anything that might materially affect the property’s value but might not be readily apparent to the buyer.
5. Declutter and Stage Your Home
Buyers like to see a home that’s as close to “model home perfect” as possible. You don’t have to go to any great lengths when you’re selling your home yourself, but it will help you immensely to clean the space out of any personal clutter, photographs, knickknacks, etc. Give the place a thorough scrubbing (hire a professional cleaning team if you can) and then do some light staging. Repair any visible or obvious cosmetic issues, and consider updating easily replaced fixtures such as outlet plates and light switch covers.
6. Take Pictures of Your Property
Even if you’re selling your home on your own, you’ll want the best photographs of your home that you can manage. If you’re skilled enough, you can take digital pictures yourself. Study listings for homes in your area to get an idea of how to arrange and compose real estate photos. Otherwise, hire a professional. Also consider getting drone fly-by videos and walk-through videos, which can help sell your home faster.
7. Take Offers and Negotiate the Price With Buyers
Learn what contingencies are being waived in your area if at all possible. This is less likely now than it was, say, a few years ago, but you may still generate some interest from competing buyers. If that’s the case, you may be able to negotiate the waiver of contingencies such as a home appraisal contingency (where the buyer can terminate the contract and demand a return of any earnest money already paid if the appraisal comes in lower than the offer price). Learn what contingency waivers might warrant a lower offer.
There are a great many other contingencies and potential pitfalls to be aware of. For that reason, it’s a good idea to hire an attorney to help walk you through all the legalities of negotiations and closing.