• Debbie Ferraro

What Does "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO) Mean?

Updated: May 4

house for sale by owner

FSBO is an acronym meaning “For Sale By Owner.”

Suppose a house is listed for sale by owner. In that case, it means that the homeowners want to handle the sale of the property themselves—including finding the right buyers, handling pricing negotiations and paperwork, and signing the necessary contracts. Sellers typically choose this option to have more control over the sale and save money on commissions and fees.

Advantages of FSBO

For Sellers

You have more control over the sale of your home by selling it yourself. You can set your asking price and negotiate the terms of the deal on your own instead of having an agent do it for you.

For these reasons, many people decide to handle the sale of their homes without a realtor.

A significant advantage to FSBO is the cost savings. Owning your own home is a considerable investment, and selling it without hiring a realtor can save you money. Many people who sell their homes themselves do so because they can't afford to (or don’t want to) pay an agent's commission.

The commission on the sale of a single-family home can be as much as 6% of the gross sale price of the property. That represents thousands of dollars in lost income for the seller. Considering that an average home costs about $250,000, giving up just 3% of that amount can be significant.

On top of saving money on commissions, you don't have to pay closing costs when you sell your home yourself. Closing costs include prepaid interest on loans, title insurance, appraisal fees, surveys, and recording fees. Since these charges vary from state to state, it's difficult to put an exact dollar figure on them. However, closing costs generally run from 2% to 5% of the final price.

For Buyers

Advantages include:

  • A FSBO often sells for a lower price than comparable homes in the area.

  • You’ll save money by not paying a realtor’s commission.

  • You have more control over the process without an intermediary advising you.

Some FSBO sellers need to move their properties quickly. This means that buyers have an opportunity to save money on a lower-priced home and to work directly with sellers who are willing to negotiate more aggressively than many real estate agents would allow.

Disadvantages of FSBO

For Sellers

Selling FSBO can be risky. A significant advantage of working with an agent is that they know the market where your home is located. They’ll be able to negotiate on your behalf and complete the necessary paperwork involved in the sale.

FSBO sellers take responsibility for completing those tasks themselves, potentially increasing the risk of problems during or after the sale. Closing paperwork can be problematic since important documents may be mishandled without advice from an experienced professional.

For Buyers

For some buyers, the lack of representation can be a problem. They may not get the information they need about the home or may find themselves in negotiations with sellers who are difficult or unwilling to make necessary repairs.

Some FSBO sellers may make unreasonable demands that can potentially slow down the process. Without the expertise of a professional realtor, FSBOs may take longer than traditional sales.

Things to Consider Before Listing Your House For Sale By Owner

To decide whether to list your home with a real estate agent or sell FSBO, consider these factors:

  • What price do you want to get for your house? If you're looking for a quick sale, an agent may be a better option because they can advertise and market your home to a broad audience. However, their commission fees eat into the profits of the sale.

  • How long will it take to sell your home? The length of time is another factor that affects which method is the better choice for you. An agent may be the best option if you want to sell quickly. On the other hand, if your primary concern is keeping as much profit as possible, FSBO could be worth considering.

  • Do you have time to manage the transaction? Real estate agents take care of many details in a sale that FSBO sellers will need to find time to handle themselves.

FSBO: Is It Right for You?

To compensate for the lack of professional representation, you must be prepared to deal with interested parties and the entire sales process on your own.

If this seems too daunting a task, you may want to consider listing with an agent. But if you already have experience selling another home FSBO, the process won’t be unfamiliar.

On the other hand, selling a home FSBO offers flexibility, including the ability to set the terms of the sale.

Even if you don’t use real estate agents in the sales process, it’s important that the closing is handled correctly. If you have no experience in this area, it may be smart to involve a title company to act as a knowledgeable, impartial party to facilitate that part of the transaction.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of going FSBO and make the right decision based on your priorities. Choose wisely!

Learn More About FSBO With American Guardian Title

A title company can make the closing on your FSBO transaction go more smoothly. By functioning as an experienced neutral party between buyer and seller, American Guardian Title can ensure the necessary documents are in order, thereby avoiding costly mistakes. .

If you have questions regarding title insurance, American Guardian Title has the answers. Call our office at (833) 331-8476 or contact us online. We’d love to walk you through the title insurance process wherever you are on your journey.