Given the fact that FSBOs generally take longer to sell and receive lower offers on average, the FSBO seller should follow a few simple rules to increase the chances of finding that perfect buyer and closing escrow successfully. We’re not opposed to sellers trying to do it alone, but we do think we have a lot to offer, and if you are in this position, we’d love the opportunity to at least talk to you briefly about what we might be able to do for you.
One of the first things that sellers should understand is that a lot goes into marketing a home besides just listing it on the MLS. In our minds, that is the beginning of the marketing process, not the end of it.
Five simple tips for an FSBO quick sale
- Make sure your listing gets into the MLS. That is the bare minimum for marketing your home online, but of course, you can’t stop there. Most homes listed in the MLS require more marketing to get sufficient notice from buyers, unless the price alone is the main attraction (we’ll get to that later). The only way to do this is to use a discount broker, who charges a flat fee to get the home into the MLS.
- Make sure you offer a buyer’s agent commission that is high enough to attract interest from buyers’ agents wanting to show homes to their clients. While a good agent will show all the homes matching his clients’ needs, even the ones that would return a smaller commission, if you want to increase the odds of getting showings, it makes sense to set the commission at the prevailing rates in your market.
- Offer bonuses like cash back at closing, a free iPad, or other giveaways to attract attention from buyers and their agents.
- Search for your home in online real estate search sites and make sure it shows up. If it doesn’t, add it yourself. Many real estate sites will accept FSBO listings, and some are dedicated only to FSBO listings. Read the description of homes in the MLS and make sure you are providing sufficient detail in your online listings to cause buyers (and buyers’ agents) to notice it.
- Set up a single property website. This is a mini-website devoted only to your property. This gives you a link to point people to when you advertise your home online.
- Advertise your home on Craigslist. You should try different techniques to see which ones work best. Try writing some ads using Craigslist’s default text and image tools, then try using a more professional real estate listing tool like Postlets for Craigslist that will make the page look more like a professional real estate listing.
- Look for other sites to syndicate your listings to. If you use Postlets, it will automatically go to Zillow, but there are dozens of other sites you can submit listings to.
- Check the MLS for comparable properties in your neighborhood at least weekly. The market can and does change drastically from week to week, and does not move in a straight line. If you notice that there is a sudden lack of inventory matching your home’s general amenities, you may be in a good position. If you see a lot of competition from nicer homes in your price range, you may need to consider adjusting your price.
- Make sure you price your home to sell. FSBO homes are often considered by professionals to be harder to close, because the seller is not usually trained dealing with all the paperwork and escrow process that needs to be followed to successfully close a deal. As a result, price will become a big factor in whether you get any showings. As long as buyers can find a nicer home for a lot less, they will.
- If you do get a showing, have clutter picked up, the yard well manicured, and other visual aspects of the home ready for viewing. It’s critical that you make a good impression on each and every potential buyer. Read up on home staging and do a good job of it–it really works.
If you’ve been trying to sell by FSBO for awhile and are ready to consider some help, we’re happy to talk to you and present our plan for how we will aggressively market your home and get it sold. Just give us a call!