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For Sale by Owner Articles • - Home Selling Tips

Are You A FSBO Seller?

By Robert Irwin
Do you have what it takes to sell your home "By Owner?"
Not having to pay some or all of the commission is a huge incentive driving most of us to want to sell on our own. (After all, on a $300,000 property at 6 percent commission, that's a potential savings of $18,000 - no small hunk of change.)
However, there's the other side of the coin? What's involved in selling "by owner?" And are you capable of doing it?
Selling "by owner" you'll need to market/advertise your property, show it to prospective buyers, deal with the paperwork, and handle the closing. For some it's a daunting task. For others, it's a challenge they are eager to answer. Where do you fit in?
While there's no test to see if you're a good FSBO (For Sale By Owner) candidate, there are a number of indicators that you can look at. Here are 4 you should consider before undertaking to sell your home on your own:
Are you naturally gregarious? Most of us are. We are happy to talk with people. Remember, there's no real pressure when you talk with buyers, other than what you put on yourself. Act natural, chit-chat, discuss something you know very well - your home - and you may soon have a sale. On the other hand, if you're the sort who shies away from social contact, then perhaps you'd be better off using the services of an agent.
Do you like paperwork? Most of us don't. But on the other hand, most of us can handle it if we have to. And in a home sale, since most of the paperwork is technical, you should hire a professional (agent or attorney) to handle much of it for you. In truth, much of the so-called paperwork that you'll need to do is organizational in nature - deciding in what order to do things and when to do them... and again help is available.
Do you have the time? You'll need to make time to show your home, to find professional help, to open escrow and follow the closing. It would be a mistake to think that selling on your own can be done on one weekend and a few nights. It probably will take much longer. On the other hand, the rewards can make it worthwhile. Nevertheless, if you're a very busy person whose every moment is already filled, you might find you have to go with an agent.
Are you fearful? Many people are simply afraid of showing their home alone to strangers and to entering into a legally binding sale without professional help. Of course, you don't need to show your home alone. You can always have a friend or relative or two around. And, as noted, you can and should get professional help with closing the deal. Nevertheless, security issues won't go away. And if you're uncomfortable with those, and with making a deal on your own, by all means, get an agent to do it for you... and pay the commission.
I believe that most people can successfully sell their home on their own. But I also believe it's a fairly complex process. My suggestion is you don't try it until you've gone through at least one purchase and sale handled by agents. At least by then, you'll have some idea of what it all involves.
Robert Irwin is the most prolific real estate writer in America having produced over 100 published books in the field. His TIPS & TRAPS McGraw-Hill series has sold well over a million copies and his FOR SALE BY OWNER KIT and FIND IT, BUY IT, FIX IT and other books have been strong sellers for Dearborn.
In addition Irwin writes a regular real estate column for The Wall Street Journal online and is introducing a new weekly column
Irwin has sold his own property "by owner" and during over 30 years in the business has been a broker and consultant to lenders, agents, buyers and sellers.
He can be reached through his website

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