House Selling 101

How to Sell Your House by Owner (FSBO)

Couple in front of house with For Sale sign they are selling the house by owner FSBO

Home » House Selling 101 » How to Sell Your House by Owner (FSBO)


Selling your home by owner, without an agent, is possible. It can be a challenge, but once you know the process, it is doable. All you need is a strategy with an outline of key steps.

Step 1: Determine the Fair Market Value

This step is crucial. If you price the house too low, you walk away with less money than it is worth. Price it too high, and the house could sit on the market for months.

Use online real estate valuation sites, like Zillow or Trulia, to get an estimated value. This could be off by thousands of dollars, so get a second opinion. Ask a real estate agent to provide a competitive market analysis. This service is typically free but may come with a sales pitch. To avoid this, pay a licensed appraiser for the most accurate estimate.

Step 2: Prep the House for Sale

Pretend you are the buyer and walk through your house. What might a buyer notice and not like? Are there flaws? What about needed repairs? You must be objective. If necessary, bring in an outsider, like a professional stager or home inspector.

Buyers want to envision themselves living in your house. Declutter and clean living spaces to make them visually appealing. If you are too busy, hire professional cleaning services.

Step 3: Market For Sale By Owner

There is no single way to market a house. For sale by owner (FSBO) listings appear on consumer-facing listing sites like Zillow all the time. Consider listing on the multiple listing service (MLS). It is the largest, most accurate database of for-sale homes. Only licensed real estate agents can post on the MLS, but for a flat listing fee, an agent will list your house.

Traditional market house options include yard signs, flyers, and open houses. If you market your house online and use these options, you improve your chances of selling. The house gets noticed, and buyers will schedule walkthroughs.

Step 4: Negotiate Terms of Sale

Sell by owner means you must negotiate terms of sale with buyers and their agents. Be prepared for give-and-take situations. Buyers will offer less than your asking price and may ask for seller concessions. These include you paying for the appraisal, inspection fee, or a portion of the closing costs.

Step 5: Handle the Closing

Closings are legal matters overseen by closing attorneys or title agents. Once you choose the desired party, they will outline the required procedures. It is important to keep buyers in the loop. The biggest obstacle is the buyer’s mortgage. If it is not approved, the deal falls apart. Keep the mortgage agent informed of closing details as well.

Skip These Steps

If you would like to forgo these steps, consider selling your house to an investor. Most investors will make a cash offer regardless of how a house looks or its condition. You can enjoy a quick closing with fewer steps, less paperwork,  and stress.

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