Frequently Asked Questions by FSBO Home Sellers

Q. What are the most common mistakes made by FSBO property sellers?

A. The most common mistake is overpricing your property; it has to be priced right for the market as it is now, bearing in mind its condition and location. Do your homework before pricing your home. Comparable sales are available through your local municipal tax assessor. Title companies are another good source. Or call one of the appraisers in our service directory as they can get you a market analysis for a reasonable fee.

Another common mistake is not making and keeping the whole property, inside and out, as stunning as it can possibly look. Certainly one should not overspend but a lot can be done with little or no money. In a crowded real estate market don't create reasons for buyers to drop your property from their consideration.

Q. How do I handle the closing so it is legal?

A. Title companies usually handle closings for between $250 to $350. Mortgage companies and attorneys also do closings. All are expert in this area.

Q. Should I contact a title company at the start of my selling process?

A. This is a good idea. You could even get some of the title work done, then all parties know from the get-go that title will not present obstacles.

Q. Should I talk to a mortgage broker or loan officer right away?

A. This is a good idea. It is helpful to be able to refer a potential buyer to someone to prequalify them, unless they are already prequalified. This will save you time and potential heartache, and the mortgage person will like it because it could possibly lead to further business. See our service directory for professionals who can help you.

Q. How do I determine a selling price? Should I contact an appraiser?

A. You can check with your city or township assessor's office and see what homes near you sold for and when. You should definitely consider calling an appraiser, if you have doubt on this subject. They may be able to do a comparative market analysis for about half the price of a full appraisal. Many people go ahead and get a full appraisal. This can lend some 'weight' to your asking price. Check out our service directory.

Q. Do I need an attorney?

A. This is a personal preference. Some people like an attorney involved in any legal transaction they are involved in. If you feel more comfortable with an attorney, by all means go that route. If your sale has any unusual components to it you should definitely have it reviewed by an attorney. Most residential real estate transactions are simple and most of our clients have not felt the need for an attorney.

Q. How do I make my home stand out, particularly in a buyer's market?

A. Price is always one way as people will likely know a bargain when they see one. Offering something special, like a rebate at closing, paying the closing costs, a vacation to Florida, first three months of mortgage payments, carpet allowance, rebate for a second bathroom, etc., these can all help. You'll need to be as aggressive as possible in your marketing. Consider using our MLS option if you aren't already doing so. Join forces with a mortgage lender, put up flyers at the grocery store, hold open houses. Get directional arrows put up if your community allows them, and if it doesn't then put them up on Friday evening and take them down on Sunday evening. Advertise in the local papers if you can.

Q. How do I get legal forms? What do I do with them?

A. Legal forms can be downloaded from our website after logging in. It is helpful to have your legal description written onto the Offer to Purchase, if someone is interested in making an offer. Make sure you fill out the Seller's Disclosure in advance, but not necessarily signed.

Q. What do I do when I get an offer?

A. If you accept the offered price and terms then sign it within the time parameters specified on the purchase offer. Both buyer and seller will need a signed copy. If you are going to use an attorney, or a particular title company, you could have them look it over. They will walk you through the subsequent steps.

Q. How do I counter offer?

A. This can be done right on the offer. You can specify changes, then sign under that. Remember that once you do that the original offer is void and unless the counter is accepted then there is no offer.

Q. Should I ask for a deposit with an accepted offer?

A. Yes. It is usually at least $1000 and is often 1% or so of the accepted offer price. It is often called 'earnest money' because it demonstrates commitment to the deal. Should the deal fall through because of contingencies spelled out in the offer (financing, inspection, sale of existing home, etc.) then the deposit is returned to the buyer. However, if the buyer backs out of the deal for unrelated reasons then the deposit stays with the seller if the seller wants it.

Q. Do I owe you any commissions when I sell?

A. No. The $195 upfront flat fee is all you pay us(unless you have agreed to an advertising deal, get pictures taken for you if that is offered in your region, signed up for discount mls, etc.).

Q. What do I do in regards to you and your service when I have an accepted offer?

A. Log in to your listing, go to the Status tab and change your status to Sale Pending. When the sale is about to close let us know by phone or e-mail to pick up the signage. If the signage has been taken down please make it accessible to us and let us know where to retrieve it.

Q. Can I call you if I have questions or need help?

A. Yes, absolutely. Most of the regional FsboMichigan offices are staffed during business hours and personnel are happy to answer your questions or concerns. If you do find someone out of the office, leave a message and they will get back to you quickly.

Q. Do you have a discount MLS option?

A. Yes. The basic idea is that for $350 you get a six-month listing on your local Multiple Listing Service and on Realtor.com. The beauty of this is that you can still be on our for-sale-by-owner site and can still sell the home yourself: you only have to agree to pay a buyer's agent the standard 3% should the buyers be represented by one. The listing agent takes no commission on the sale. This deal may have some variations among our regional franchises so be sure to check it out first.

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