A lot of real estate agents will tell you that anyone who tries to sell their home on their own is being foolish. I disagree.
Most sellers DO need professional advice in order to sell their home. And most sellers that try to sell “For Sale By Owner” or FSBO…either give up or eventually hire an agent to assist them.
But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people that successfully sell their home on their own. If you do decide to jump into the FSBO market, there are a few things you’ll need.
5 Things that Every FSBO Seller Needs
1. Combination Lock Box
One of the biggest challenges for FSBO sellers is giving buyer’s agents access to their home. Many FSBO sellers insist that they need to be home for every showing.
Buyers feel uncomfortable looking at a home with the seller looking over their shoulders. Even if the seller steps outside, the buyer is acutely aware that the seller is paying close attention to how long the buyer spends in the home. Buyers tend to leave much more quickly if the seller is nearby. Often, they transfer their discomfort to the home, and leave with a negative impression.
In addition, most sellers simply aren’t available to leave work with short notice to run home to meet a buyer’s agent that wants to show the house in the next hour. Sellers who assume that the buyer will come when it is convenient for them are being foolish. All it takes is one house that the buyer really likes, and the buyer will have bought a house before making it back to the FSBO property.
The solution to this problem is simple. FSBO sellers should purchase a combination lock box for the house keys. When an agent calls, they can give the agent easy access to show the home privately. But don’t fall prey to thieves posing as an agent. When an agent calls, I recommend that you take the agent’s name, office and main office phone number, along with their cell number. Before giving out the combination, make a quick call to the main office to confirm that the agent really works there.
2. Yard Signs
This one is pretty obvious. If you are going to sell your house, you need a sign in your yard plus at every nearby intersection pointing towards your house. Buy plenty of extra signs too. You would be amazed at how quickly the arrow signs at intersections disappear.
One of the biggest challenges for FSBO sellers is to get the word out about their house to all of the available buyers. Every potential buyer won’t be driving by the subdivision, but it’s a must-have if you are going it on your own and not getting the exposure of the MLS.
3. Vacuum Cleaner
You might wonder why I’m including a vacuum cleaner in this list. Simple. In order for a house to sell for the highest possible price, it needs to be in spotless condition for every buyer showing.
That means you are going to be doing a lot of vacuuming. Often, you’ll be pulling out that vacuum and scrambling to get the house looking perfect with just a few minutes to spare. It would be nice if every buyer’s agent gave you 24 hours notice, but the reality is that most of them will call only 1-2 hours before they want to show a home.
If your vacuum cleaner has seen better days, it might be time to invest in a new one before you list your home.
4. Digital Camera
This one might seem obvious. But you need a camera that not only takes digital pictures, but takes GOOD digital images!
I use a Canon PowerShot Camera that is a couple of years old. It takes amazing pictures that are often just as good as the ones taken by professional photographers.
If you are getting ready to list your home for sale, good pictures are critical. It might be the right time to upgrade your camera.
5. All- in-One Color Printer & Fax
Now that you have a good digital camera with great photos of your home, you will need to print some color fliers. Actually, you will need to print a LOT of fliers. Since you won’t be advertising on the MLS, you’ll want to pick up a flyer box to go with your yard sign and keep it well stocked.
You could go to your office every time you need fliers, or head over to your nearest copy center. But, it really is much more convenient to have the ability to print more fliers as soon as you run out.
And, you’ll also want to be prepared for a contract by having a way to send & receive faxes at home. If a contract comes in over the weekend or late at night, it is so much more convenient if you have a home fax. Prices on home faxes have really come down, so they are affordable now for most people. I use a Brother All-in-One Printer that handles printing, faxing, scanning and copies. Plus, it’s wireless so I can print from my laptop anywhere in the house.
(Disclosure: I recently signed up with Amazon’s affiliate program to help offset the costs of this website. If you click through on one of the ads or links on this site to Amazon, I will be paid a very nominal amount…change more likely than dollars. I would never recommend to my site visitors that they buy something that I don’t think they need just to earn a buck. But, if you do decide to buy one of the items above and feel this article was helpful in making that decision, I hope you will click through and help me defray my website management costs.)