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What Is FSBO?

What Is FSBO?

If you are selling your home without a real estate agent, you may end up need a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) purchase agreement. However, many FSBO sellers are not familiar with this document. It is normal to find yourself asking: what is a FSBO agreement? This is a way to list your home without the help of an agent or brokerage. People will do this if they are hesitant to pay a real estate agent’s commission. However, the benefits of having a real estate agent outweigh the cost of not having one.

You may review the specifics of FSBO agreements right here. Go over what must be included in a FSBO agreement. Find out if this document is legally binding and learn more about your options for completing a FSBO agreement to sell your property.

FSBO Purchase Agreement

Anytime you sell a property, there must be a purchase agreement. If you work with a realtor, they may draw up this purchase agreement for you. However, if you sell your property on your own, you must provide the document. This document is considered your FSBO purchase agreement. If you’re asking what a FSBO Agreement is, you should know that it is considered a legal document. It will need to include information to protect your legal rights. Note that if your FSBO agreement is not written carefully, the sale of your property could fall through. You could also end up losing money on the sale.

Many property owners don’t know where to start when it comes to designing a FSBO agreement. Your state may actually have specific requirements for writing up a FSBO agreement. Utah, for example, has an entire division dedicated to real estate contracts and forms, called the Division of Real Estate Contracts and Forms. Many title companies provide different templates designed to meet the needs of different states around the nation. It is important that you use the correct template when designing an FSBO agreement. Failure to include the correct information in your contract may prevent you from closing the sale to your property. Note that, sometimes, the escrow company may provide you with a contract template as well.

Information to Include in Your FSBO Agreement

In order to draw up a FSBO agreement, you will need to include a lot of specific information. This includes:
• sale price of your property
• The method the buyer will use to pay for the property
• Information about property taxes
• The method used to handle a default
• The amounts for closing costs
• terms and conditions of the sale
• Responsibilities for the buyer and seller

You should also include your full name and the full name of the buyer(s). After you use these names once, you may simply use the terms Buyer and Seller. Ensure that you give the agreement a title (“Real Estate Contract” is often acceptable) and that you date the contract. An FSBO agreement may also need to include information about the property to be sold, including:
• The address of the property
• A description of the home
• A list of everything you are selling, such as appliances

Including all of this information may make a FSBO agreement quite lengthy. Depending upon the nature of your property the contract may become very complicated. However, it is important that you ensure the contract is completed carefully, as the sale of your property may not go through if there are issues with your FSBO agreement.

Your FSBO Agreement May Be Legally Binding

Note that, in most cases, a FSBO agreement will be considered legally binding once both the buyer and the seller sign the document. This applies even though most FSBO agreements are not notarized. Once you sign a FSBO agreement, it may be more difficult to back out of the contract. Ensure that you consider the document carefully before you sign anything. Sellers, especially, may face legal penalties if they take steps to back out of a FSBO agreement once they have signed and completed the document.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Homes For Sale By Owner

Selling your home involves a lot of homework. Make sure your home is priced right for the market. Research the recent sales and home prices in your area. Overpricing a property can make it languish unsold for months or even years, undermining any leverage you as a seller may have later in negotiating. It’s easy to become subjective about the value of your home, especially if you’ve lived there awhile and made upgrades to it. You have to put aside your pride, avoid setting an unrealistic price and be willing to lower it if necessary. It can be a worthwhile investment to spend a few hundred dollars to have your home professionally appraised. Visit open houses in the area to get a general idea of going prices. Ask the listing agent how long the house has been on the market and if there have been any price reductions. Make full use of the Internet as a research tool.

Make sure everything in your home is in working order. If you somehow miss a problem before the contract is signed, it’s a pretty safe bet that the professional inspector will catch it and you’ll be forced to fix it anyway before the closing.

Don’t ignore cosmetics. Make your home attractive to buyers. It should be clean and clutter-free, with fresh paint and clean carpets — the perfect opportunity for that fix-up project you’ve been putting off! Help buyers envision themselves living there.

Know the rules. Research state laws and regulations governing fair housing, lead paint disclosure and other requirements, so that you’re in full compliance. Also bone up on the rules governing offer-and-acceptance (your sale negotiations with a buyer) and sales contracts. The last thing you want is to risk a future lawsuit for not disclosing some defect on your property. Go to a library or bookstore to get familiar with these procedures.

Know about financing. Ask the buyer if they have been pre-approved for a home loan. This is especially important in the current credit crunch. You should get an earnest money deposit to ensure they are serious about purchasing your house. Financing can fall through at the last minute, so be prepared for that possibility.

If you’re selling a condominium, townhome or co-op, it is the buyer’s right to be informed about the association and its financial health. This includes information about the bylaws and reserves (how much money the association has in the bank to fund needed repairs and improvements to the property). It’s your duty as the seller to disclose these facts. Hire a lawyer to draw up a sales contract and represent you at closing. If you were happy with the attorney who assisted you as a buyer, consider him or her. Otherwise, get recommendations from family or friends. Be aware of the tax implications. Your attorney should be able to advise you on whether or not you will owe capital-gains taxes on the sale.

Reasons FSBO Home Sellers Fail

Selling a house is not as easy as selling a car. It’s an extensive process that demands a lot of knowledge, patience and time. First, you have to familiarize yourself with all the relevant legalities that go into preparing the contract for the sale of your house. This is crucial for home sellers without an agent. You will have to hire a real estate attorney for that or else you could get yourself into legal trouble quickly. If you choose to list your home FSBO, you should consult a real estate attorney before listing your house for sale.

If you are listing your home on your own, you are effectively the agent of your own house. Make sure to be sure to become a good one. There are plenty of acronyms and other terms to be aware of in the real estate industry.
Research everything, from the FSBO listing websites to the cost or repairs demanded by potential home buyers. Try to reach as many potential home buyers as you can using social media and your personal contacts.

Not Knowing the Value of Your Property

People who list their home on their own often make a huge mistake before they even get to show their home to potential buyers. Everyone is emotionally attached to their home. This makes it harder to objectively price the property and understand its value from the buyer’s point of view. Buyers will point out problems in your home that you don’t even consider noteworthy. And they will negotiate for a lower price.

Pricing the house accurately is crucial. When an agent helps you price a house, they do it with a wealth of experience backing their numbers. They’ll account for the state of the real estate market and a variety of factors that will influence the value of your home and the time it takes to sell. If you are doing it yourself, you must research the current housing market trends. It helps to find the median price of a property in your neighborhood and prepare a realistic estimate of the necessary repairs. This is something you will have to reevaluate after every potential client’s visit. It is also important to stay objective and not get emotional when buyers seem to undervalue your beloved home. Know that in most cases, properties sold through a realtor sell for a much higher price than the ones sold by the owners. FSBO owners typically sell their home for less than 94% of the price they would have sold with a real estate agent, so the safer option is to hire a realtor to help you sell.

Bad Marketing and Open Houses

Even though the FSBO sites are a great way to place your house in a listing, most buyers stray away from these listings. A great way to advertise your home is through hosting open houses through your social media accounts. Even still, this may not attract any people to view your home besides your friends and family. The competition for ads is fierce, and you don’t want to burn a hole in your wallet.

If you list your house on your own, you should always be ready to show your house. It would drastically shrink the list of potential home buyers if you are only available to show your house on weekends or after working hours.

Because you already have a smaller list of potential buyers because of your FSBO listing, you can’t afford to miss any showings for potential buyers. When you consider listing your house as FSBO, you will have to be positive, enthusiastic and energetic when you show your house to strangers. It is typical that viewers will complain about the worn staircases, creaky doors, and other quirks about your house they find undesirable.

If you work all day and have to do showings right after, you have to ask yourself, can you handle that after a hard day of work? For most people, it’s better to let a realtor field buyer’s complaints and market your home so that you can sleep easy and keep your free time free.

Not Knowing how to Negotiate

The most tricky and most important part of selling a home is undoubtedly the final negotiations. Negotiating is a skill that many people feel they are intuitively good at. However, a lot of people overestimate their ability to facilitate a good negotiation- especially when negotiating terms they’ve never handled before. Negotiating is a skill that takes practice. Negotiating terms for a real estate sale takes even more. There are so many variables to take into account, and a skilled agent would be a pro.

Consider the following if you’re thinking about listing your home as FSBO:
• How much lower than the listing price would you be willing to sell for?
• Someone is willing to buy the house at your price, but is not willing to put in the earnest money. What would you do?
• The buyer hands you a list of thousands of dollars worth of repairs as part of the contract, can you renegotiate?
• Do you know what a rent-back agreement is and how much that is worth to you?
• Would you sell to someone who isn’t a pre-approved buyer? Would your price be different for a buyer who isn’t pre-approved?
• If someone was willing to pay cash, how much would you be willing to sell for?\
• Your first buyer lowball your offer and says “Take it or leave it.” what would you do?
• How would you handle a lowball offer if you aren’t getting interested buyers?

These final negotiations are the hardest part of closing the deal without an agent. Many properties for sale by owners tend to sit for months because the owners are unable to close deals. Or they can end up selling the house at far too low a price because of inexperience in negotiating.

Why Sell Without an Agent?

The benefits of selling without an agent are endless, but there are a few positives worth highlighting. Our customers repeatedly tell us 3 things they love about selling real estate without an agent:
1. Savings – more money in your pocket: One of the primary attractions to selling a house privately is quite apparent. Sellers with no agents not only save these real estate agents fees, but also save expensive marketing costs that are usually paid to agents. So, you stand to save quite a lot on real estate selling fees by selling your home without an agent.
2. Control – you have the power in your no agent sale: No agent real estate may seem scary at first, but it’s actually an empowering experience. Our vendors love being able to make their own decisions, especially when it comes to how their property is advertised and what is communicated to their buyers. Vendors also have the greatest knowledge about their property, making the process of how to sell property without an agent quite efficient, as you’re the best person to sell your own place. When you’re in control of selling your property, you’re in control over the experience that potential buyers have and their first impressions of your home. Agents are busy people because they have several properties to manage at once, but when you’re in control, your number one priority is selling your own property. Selling a house without an agent can be convenient, as you have one on one access to interested buyers and you can work within your schedule to find mutually convenient times to show them through your home. You have control by effectively taking on the role of an agent, saving real estate commissions in the process. In selling a house without an agent, you have access to the same audience, but without the agent.
3. Transparency – the importance of being upfront and open: Transparency is a word that many sales professionals use, but unfortunately some of them do not abide by, with many of our vendors telling us they’ve been burned by agents who were just after a quick sale. In selling your home without an agent, you’re the one who signs off on your advertising and you’re the one controlling the narrative with prospective buyers. This means you can ensure a transparent process that is upfront and honest. You also know what buyers are saying, as you’re hearing the feedback firsthand. When you sell without agents, no middleman means greater transparency, with the added benefit of controlling the costs of selling a house and paying no real estate sales commission. No agent sales mean the information that’s being communicated with the potential buyers is verified and controlled by you. You are responsible for the negotiations, and when and if to accept an offer, and you are not relying on the word of the agent. Selling with no real estate agent gives you the opportunity to adhere to a high standard of ethics and transparency.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506