How Do I Find Homes For Sale By Owner?

Couple in their bright new living room surrounded by boxes celebrating purchase of home for sale by owner
Couple Taking A Break And Sitting On Sofa Celebrating Moving Into New Home With Champagne

If you’re looking to buy a house, you know it’s a big decision. Finding the right home at the right price can be challenging. Many people are interested in finding homes For Sale By Owner (FSBO). Buying an FSBO home can save you money because the seller is not going to pay a commission if there is no buyer agent (approximately 3% of the sales price).  If the home is not in the MLS at all, or if the seller lists with a flat fee FSBO realtor, then the seller is also saving the listing agent commission as well (approximately 3% of the sales price). Sellers may pass on some of that savings to the buyer. But how do you find FSBO listings?

Search for Online FSBO Home Listings

There are a number of websites that exclusively list for sale by owner homes. FSBO listings can be listed for one flat fee. They can appear in both the MLS (if the home seller wants) and its affiliates like Zillow, as well as a range of other websites for maximum visibility. Sometimes homeowners just want to list on FSBO sites like ours, GoToFSBO.com. Sellers can also list their home For Sale By Owner on Zillow and other sites as well.

Some Brokers offer flat fee listing services at a low cost to FSBO sellers so buyers can see the same information they see on other home listings. This gives Sellers the best of both worlds, listing For Sale By Owner and hopefully selling and paying zero commission and listing on the MLS for a flat fee and paying approximately 3% in a real estate commission to the buyer agent.

The MLS is a comprehensive database of current homes on the market and is where most buyers go to look for homes for sale. MLS Listings are picked up and seen on real estate sites like Zillow and realtor.com. While the MLS is only available through real estate agents, many FSBO home sellers want additional exposure by adding their home on the MLS for a flat fee by using an MLS listing service.

How to Buy an FSBO Home

It is a good idea to have the expertise of an experienced and knowledgeable FSBO realtor to help with the process of price negotiations, contract, inspections and appraisal and other requirements for close. An option that keeps costs low for both buyer and seller is to use our Assistance Option Program. Under this program, we prepare the offer for both seller and buyer and then work with them to meet the terms of the contract to get to closing day. We are there to hold your hand every step of the way.  If the home is listed in the MLS, the buyer can use GoToFSBO’s buyer rebate program. If you use us as your buyer agent, we will rebate you half our commission. You get 1.5% of the purchase price of the home as a cash rebate at close (percentage is if seller is offering a 3% commission).

The Advantages of Buying a Home For Sale By Owner

There are a few key advantages to buying an FSBO home. Some of these include:

●     The price is usually a bit lower on a FSBO home. Typically, the seller is responsible for the real estate agent’s commission. Because there is no seller agent, there is more room to negotiate on the price.

●     Because someone is working directly with the seller, there is a more personal feel to the process. This means the person doing the talking on the other end is more knowledgeable about the home and the process may go faster.

●     The final contracts are often easier to understand because of the direct access to the seller. Because there isn’t an extra real estate agent in the middle, it is harder for information to get lost in translation.

While these advantages are nice, there are also a few things to consider before you buy an FSBO home.

Things to Consider when Buying an FSBO Home

Some of the drawbacks of a FSBO home that buyers should note include:

●     Price and close negotiations can be difficult if you are not experienced with buying and selling real estate. Having an FSBO specialist to assist you with these steps can save you money by making sure you get the right deal on your purchase.

●     Real estate paperwork can be complex. It’s a good idea to get someone to help with close documents and filings to be sure everything is done correctly and you have not put your investment at risk or face unnecessary hassles or expenses later.  Another reason to have a FSBO specialist and our Assistance Option Program.

●     You are on your own to get any required inspections and appraisal. It is important to ensure that everything is done correctly and that you find out any issues of concern before you buy.

As an FSBO buyer, be sure to protect your investment with a good plan before you shop so you get the price you deserve, and there are no unpleasant surprises after close because of missed steps. Find an agent who works with FSBO buyers like you and you’ll breathe easier as you search for and buy that perfect home.

Am FSBO Home Can Be a Great Opportunity

Ultimately, it is important not to overlook FSBO homes for sale. They can be an opportunity to purchase a fantastic home at a great price. Our website has useful resources for both buyers and sellers. For Sale by Owner Virginia can help you buy an FSBO home in the Virginia, Maryland and DC areas. For more information, contact Deb Kent, Realtor, at dkentcsr@gmail.com or call 540-582-5777.

Author: Debbie Kent

Debbie Crevier-Kent began her career as a licensed Real Estate agent. Seeing the need for lower real estate selling costs, she created easy to use FSBO service packages, starting GoToFSBO.com in 1994. Ms. Crevier-Kent is a member FlatFeeGroup.com, Homesbyowner.com and FSBOpublishers.org and a member or NAR, NVAR, REIN, BRIGHT, WAAR, and CAAR

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