For Sale By Owner
October 2, 2005 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Can I sell a home by owner?

I am in the US, Ohio specifically. I want to sell my house 'by owner' because my margin is tight. I just bought a year ago, and now need to get rid of the property ASAP.

I know by-owner will probably take longer, but has anyone succcessfully done this, is it reasonable to expect it sold within 6 months?
posted by benjh to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've sold 3 houses FSBO so far and will do it again. You have Craig's List now which will really help. The most important factor I've noted is that the house is clean, sparely furnished and the prices is correct. Have a name of a banker - usually a local bank rather than a national chain - that you can refer the buyer to for mortgage information (get a few business cards). When showing the house you will get a lot of agents, always welcome them and explain the commission will have to come from their clients not from you. Good Luck.
posted by ptm at 1:23 PM on October 2, 2005

How do you handle the legal paperwork?
posted by yerfatma at 2:12 PM on October 2, 2005

A real estate lawyer should be able to handle all the paperwork and other legal issues that arise for a set amount (much less than the percentage charged by a real estate broker). You should definitely have a lawyer.
posted by MrZero at 4:07 PM on October 2, 2005

I am in the process right now of preparing to sell (hopefully next 2 weeks it'll be on the market) but have never sold a house before either. We considered using a fsbo service (specifically, but in the end will be doing it solo. I think one of the things we have going for us that it is a really clean house with a lot of it having been remodeled.

benjh, I think 6 months is definitely doable, of course depending on what kind of market you're in, but that money is yours. This process is doable. If you want to correspond with someone about how your progress is going, let me know. I did go to a seminar and through that and other research may have some answers you didn't ask in this post.

One question I have for ptm ptm is what they make of "needing" an mls listing. We are considering a combo mls listing and listing (which we actually consider a bigger deal than the mls). The broker looks bonafide and there's no percentage, just a reasonable flat fee.

Also, we're considering offering buyers who come w/o a realtor 1% cashback at closing. I guess we're afraid that buyers are nervous of the fsbo process and want to make sure they have an incentive to try it w/o their realtor. Would that make us seem desperate or like we're hiding something?
posted by artifarce at 7:29 PM on October 2, 2005

My wife and I sold her condo in a couple of weeks on our own. We had a realtor come over and take a look at the place beforehand to give us an idea of what it would go for. Not only did we save the comission from the realtor, we also sold it for more money than the realtor suggested we try for. Like, $20k more. Boo yah.

A couple of words of advice.
1) Start watching shows like Sell This House. Learn from them and clear all of your personal crap out of the house before having an open house. Rent a storage unit if you have to.

2) Go to a few open houses in your area. It'll give you an idea of what places are going for as well as point out some things people did wrong with theirs.

3) Open houses suck, but that's how we got our buyer. Post lots of signs the day of, and bake cookies. The cookie smell helps and you can eat 'em if it no one's showing up.
posted by Moondoggie at 5:55 AM on October 3, 2005

Disclosure: I am a real estate agent (but not in your state - laws vary).

If you're in a seller's market, in an area with considerable traffic, you might be able to pull it off without too much difficulty.

For better or for worse, the MLS is really how agents sell things. The number of potential buyers you reach with that system is far beyond any number you'll see as a FSBO. That being said, you should expect to pay the flat listing fee plus a 3% commission to the buyer's agent. A buyer's agent can legally get that 3% from the buyer, but they will work dilligently to get it from you. (On Preview: benjh wasn't asking about that, but there you go)

Regardless of whether you list your home or not, Moondoggie's advice is good. Keep it clean, move your stuff out (or hide it away in closets). Don't leave underwear laying around on the floor, and fix any obvious problems if you can.

Finally, people tend to overprice their homes when selling by owner. It's tough to get a handle on the market value, and overpriced homes can sit there for a long time (FSBO or listed). If you slowly do lower the price, when it gets to the market value people will wonder why it hasn't sold in 6 months - something must be wrong.

Best of luck!
posted by shinynewnick at 7:50 AM on October 3, 2005

There's and, which are in between the cost of FSBO and hiring a realtor. I bought my current house off the latter and got a good deal.
posted by goethean at 8:30 AM on October 3, 2005

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