For Sale by Owner - FSBO
If you are selling your house without a realtor, You've decided to be a for sale by owner seller, so you've looked at what other houses in your area are going for and you decided on an asking price for the house. You've spiced up the outside, fixed up the home's interior and fixed the minor blemishes. So now you're ready to put it on the market... or are you? On the positive side Selling a home will save you literally thousands of dollars in real estate commissions. You are in control of the sale process from deciding when to show and where to advertise. Since it is your home you will be motivated to make it a priority. On the negative side You will need to make a commitment in time and energy plus be willing to embark on a fairly rigorous learning curve. Selling is just that. Dealing with potential buyers and working to close the sale. Closings too require an expertise in taking certain steps to get the paper work and legalities straight. If you have the time and the willingness to learn a few basics and realistically believe you are up to the challenge, then you can essentially earn that big fat fee for yourself and smile all the way to the bank. Do You Need to Give A Property Disclosure? Your state law may require that you give potential buyers one or more property disclosures? Disclosures deal with the condition of the property or facts about its location . Don't assume that disclosures are only necessary for homes listed with real estate agents, because most for sale by owner sellers must usually furnish them, too. Even if a formal disclosure isn't mandatory, you are probably required by law to tell your buyers about known problems, often referred to as material facts. Learn your obligations by contacting the agency that oversees real estate sales in your state. Many offer disclosure forms online Lead Paint? If your house was built prior to 1978, federal law requires that you disclose that the home could contain lead based paint and give buyers details about past tests for lead paints. You must also offer buyers the opportunity to do their own lead paint testing. Most people don't perform the tests, but you must furnish them with a lead paint pamphlet, which is available free online from the EPA. Can the Buyer Really Buy? A good real estate agent verifies a buyer's pre-approval status before he shows them property. When you sell by owner you'll deal with many people, including those who are qualified to buy a home and those who don't have a chance of getting a home financed. People who know they cannot buy sometimes think that for sale by owner homes offer a better opportunity, because they're hoping to find a seller who will finance the transaction. Contract Forms Who will provide the contract forms that will be used for an offer to purchase your house, you or the buyer? You can write a contract yourself on a piece of paper, but it probably wouldn't offer much protection for either your or your buyer. The forms you use should be valid for your state's real estate laws and cover issues that are important for your location. If you aren't contract savvy, have a real estate attorney review any offer before you sign it. Don't cut corners, neglecting to get advice from an attorney or other knowledgeable person will cost you money, not save it. The Buyer's Deposit The contract should spell out what happens to the buyer's deposit money if the deal falls through: Under what conditions would the buyer get it back? (Unable to get financing etc.) Under what conditions would you expect to keep it? (buyer backs out for no good reason) The deposit money is NOT yours until the house sells or the buyer breaks the contract. It must be credited to the buyer's funds on closing day and ideally should be held in someone's trust account until then. Bottom Line Real estate laws and customs differ in nearly every state in the US , so it's essential that you do some research on a state and local level to be sure you are complying with all laws associated with the sale of your home.