Get Your Ducks in a Row Before you FSBO

By Karina Gafford
                                                                                                                                                                                                           photo credit: goir/Dollar Photo Club                                                                                                                                                                     
5 little FSBO’s went swimming one day,
Over the hill, and far away.
Mama Duck said, "Quack, Quack, Quack,"
But only 4 little FSBO’s came back!
Oh no! Where did one little FSBO go?

One little duck you need to get in line before you FSBO (For Sale by Owner) is your marketing!

Once you’ve identified your target market, there are three key items you’ll need to plan for your marketing:
  • Your Photography 
I probably don’t need to tell you by now, but there’s a flourishing segment of the professional photography business devoted to real estate photography. If you’re seeking to save money by completing a FSBO, think carefully before you choose to skip professional photography. Your photos and video tour are what will help your prospective buyer decide whether to take the time to include your property on their house tour. Help them vote in your favor!
  • Your Language
No, silly, I don’t mean that kind of language! I mean your selling words. When you’re listing real estate for sale, you are your own sales team. That means you need to craft sales language that appeals to your target market. It also means that you need to abide by the home selling language rules, too.
 
If you don’t have a broker’s insurance coverage protecting your home sale, make sure to familiarize yourself with the language requirements of the Fair Housing Act as well as any state or local policies that govern marketing your property. You’ll see that you can’t include language such as "safe neighborhood" or that your home would be perfect for an "elderly person" (even if it would be!).
  • Your Marketing Strategy
Research over the past decade consistently shows that the days of selling a FSBO solely by yard signs are long over. To make sure you’re capturing your target market’s attention, you need a multi-pronged marketing strategy that incorporates a mixture of online listings, local marketing (street signs and yard signs), and cross promotion through relevant social media. If you’re marketing to military, then there’s no place better to make sure your home is found than on MilitaryByOwner. We’ll even throw in the yard signs and street pointers to help you knock out two prongs of your marketing strategy!
 
4 little FSBO’s went swimming one day,
Over the hill, and far away.
Mama Duck said, "Quack, Quack, Quack,"
But only 3 little FSBO’s came back!
Oh no! Where did one little FSBO go?

One little duck to get in line before you FSBO is your mortgage documents and payoff statement.
 
It’s critical to know how much you really need to make from this home sale before you list your home. The last thing you want to do is list your home below what you need to earn, and then solicit offers only to realize that you need to refuse the offers and relist at a higher rate.
 
You’ll want to calculate any costs of sale into the amount that you need to earn on the home. The cost of sale could include legal fees, broker fees for the buyer’s agent, marketing costs, repairs, and any investments to help sell the home such as new carpet, paint, landscaping, or upgraded appliances, depending on what the market requires. You may also want to calculate how much you’ll offer prospective buyers in concessions or closing costs.
 
It’s important to know these numbers up front because once you do receive an offer, you may not have much time that day to calculate whether you can afford to accept the offer, especially if it’s five or even ten percent below your asking price.
 
3 little FSBO’s went swimming one day,
Over the hill, and far away
Mama Duck said, "Quack, Quack, Quack,"
But only 2 little FSBO’s came back!
Oh no! Where did 1 little FSBO go?

One little duck to get in line before you FSBO is your documents.

To help avoid lowball offers for your FSBO, you need to show your prospective buyers that you are a pro at this FSBO game! To help with your professionalism, make sure you have the following documents on hand:
  • Survey: Ideally, you’ll be able to present the original property survey to the buyer, and you won’t be requested to pay for a new one. Surveys can cost well over a thousand dollars, so having this on hand can help you potentially avoid a buyer’s request for a new survey paid for by you. Eek!
  • Maintenance and repair documents to present to the buyer’s inspector.
  • Receipts of upgrades on the property for the appraiser to help make sure that your property will appraise at the value that the buyer’s lender needs to see. Keep in mind, though, that upgrades won’t directly increase the value of your property in the amount that you spent on them, and in many cases, some upgrades won’t affect the appraisal value at all.
2 little FSBO’s went swimming one day,
Over the hill, and far away.
Mama Duck said, "Quack, Quack, Quack,"
But only 1 little FSBO came back!
Oh no! Where did 1 little FSBO go?

One little duck to get in line before you FSBO is your support team.

It’s one thing to list your home for sale; it’s another to go through the sale process. When a prospective buyer tours your home and makes a formal offer, do you know what needs to happen next? If you’ve got your support team in place, namely, a title company, an escrow agent, and potentially a real estate attorney, then you’ll have the support you need to make sure that you successfully complete the transaction.
 
Research and identify which title company you would like to handle your transaction, and request that your prospective buyer submits a purchase agreement and earnest money directly to the escrow agent at that title company. A good title company can help you make sure that you’re aware of any relevant dates and events associated with the sale, such as the option period, response requirements to the inspection report, and closing.
 
In most states, a real estate attorney is not required, but if you don’t have a real estate agent and broker reviewing your side of the transaction, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to review your documents to make sure that your interests are protected in the transaction, too.
 
1 little FSBO went swimming one day,
Over the hill, and far away.
Mama Duck said, "Quack, Quack, Quack,"
And 5 little FSBO’s came back!
 
Even if it seems like some of the little ducks are getting away from you during part of the house selling craziness, if you follow Mama Duck’s advice and persistently quack on, you’ll get those little ducks in a row to help you complete your FSBO.
 
Want more help on your For Sale by Owner? Download MilitaryByOwner’s free e-book For Sale by Owner: Is It an Option for You?
 
                                         
solo duck  Photo: Andrzej Tokarski/Dollar Photo Club