For Sale By Owner – Is It Right For You?
If you’re wondering how to sell a house by owner in NC – FSBO (for sale by owner) in Asheville or Western North Carolina, there are many things to consider. Like most property decisions, you should take care to look at all aspects of the process before making a decision, and have a solid plan in place. At Asheville Cash Buyers, we aim to help you take the best possible step forward with your home.
From deciding to sell, weighing your options in the area, and marketing your property, we will walk you through the details and assist you in making an informed choice.
Deciding To Sell FSBO
What is FSBO? Selling your home “by owner” is the process of selling a home or property without a listing agent. You will not list the home on MLS, or multiple listing service, an official real estate portal that realtors use to share their listings with others.
You may want to choose FSBO to make extra money without paying commissions, sell your home quickly or “as-is,” or because you have experience selling homes already.
Variables to Consider When Deciding:
- Timeline. Are you comfortable waiting 6 months to sell your house, or do you want it gone in 30 days? This will affect whether you list your home traditionally or take another route to sell it.
- Home Condition. What is the condition of your home? We like to rank it on a scale of 0-10. Ten, it’s so clean you can eat off the floors. Zero, everything needs to be demolished and redone. The closer to 10 you are, listing will be a good option. Closer to zero, considering a cash buying situation or selling the home independently will probably be a better option for you. Assess the quality of the home and add that into the time it will take to sell your home.
- Your Comfort Level Negotiating. Can you have hard conversations, stick to your bottom line and not get swayed by emotions? You may not want to do this alone. You’re not just negotiating price in a FSBO situation. You’re negotiating potential repairs, the amount of time until closing, how quickly you close, how much money is getting deposited with the attorney for earnest or due diligence fees. Negotiation is everything about the transaction, not just the price of the property.
- Your Real Estate Experience Level. Do you know what questions to ask the buyer? Do you feel comfortable writing a contract or signing a contract on your own, without an attorney? There is no right answer here, just details to consider when deciding whether to list or put out the For Sale By Owner sign. You don’t want to be facing these details after you’ve already made a decision or put a plan in place.
- Your Overall Comfort Level. What’s your comfort level with selling, marketing, and everything else that encompasses a real estate transaction? We mentioned timeline, home condition, negotiation, real estate experience – what’s your comfort level with all those as a package? Do you really want to handle all of them, and are you able to do so well?
Make sure you answer these questions for yourself before you make the decision. If you need help brainstorming, give us a call! Maybe we can bring up points you hadn’t considered. Whatever you decide, we’d love to be part of the process.
Selling Your Home Without An Agent vs Selling On The MLS
It’s important to look at the benefits of both selling FSBO and going the traditional agent-driven MLS route. There is no perfect answer for which will work best in your situation, so pay attention and do your research.
Benefits of FSBO
- Save $$$ on commission. When listing a home, you pay 6% of the sales price to the agent. As the property price goes up, so does the commission.
- You control the process. Choose when people view your home and when the home goes on and off the market. There are no contracts to honor with agents or firms. You have full autonomy throughout the sales process.
- No extra people are involved. It’s you, your house, and the buyer. When listing, it’s the agent and all their clients, then the buyer’s agent and all their clients. You may feel lost or like you’re just a number. Also, much of the agent’s job is now automated and accessible with technology and via the Internet.
In a FSBO sale, you are in charge. Since you care more about the sale of your house than anyone else, this may be the ideal way to get the best price for your home without having to relay the message and negotiate through lots of different conversations. Retain the value and integrity of your property through your voice.
Benefits of MLS
Note: These benefits only apply when you have a good quality listing agent!
- Incredible marketing experience. Your agent will provide professional photography, perhaps using drones, and create virtual tours or 360 experiences for buyers. The agent knows who to share the house with and just how to reach them. They’ll help you set the right price and position the house on the market properly to get the most attention from the right buyers.
- Responding to inquiries. They answer all the phone calls, emails, and inquiries. They can answer all potential buyers’ questions in depth and save you valuable time. The agent will always provide good customer service to convert those callers into buyers. This is an important skill since many people are just “tire-kickers”- someone who seems interested but isn’t able to close the deal.
- Negotiation experience and talent. Good agents have the ability to negotiate. They will go to bat for you, using their experience to navigate all the details and protect you as the seller.
As always, do your research. A listing agent will generally tell you that by using their service, you will sell faster and for a higher price. That may or may not be true. Since FSBO sales do not fall under the MLS, they aren’t tracked the same way. Thus, there’s no way to track how long it took for that home to close or whether it sold above or below list price. That data is not in the MLS database. If the agent promises these things, ask them how they can verify that claim.
Listing On The MLS? How To Find the Right Realtor
Have you decided not to sell FSBO and that you’d rather sell with an agent on the MLS? Great! Let’s take a detour and help you select an agent.
- Interview 3-5 people. There are a lot of good agents out there, and communication style goes a long way. Do you want daily calls or to be completely removed from calls and emails? Choose what aligns best with you.
- Ask for references. It’s important to hear from others for proof of the quality of work and details about their style. Ask your friends for recommendations, look online for reviews, and ask the realtor for testimonials from prior clients. This also helps you examine whether their style works with yours – their reviews may be glowing, but they may point out an attribute that you’d prefer them not to have.
- Marketing plan. A sign with balloons and an internet listing doesn’t work anymore – marketing must be a multifaceted effort. What is their plan for professional photos, open houses, mailings, etc.? Get clarity up front and have them commit to a plan. You can keep them accountable to this commitment later in the process.
- Support team, if any. They may have team members who do the paperwork with you, or they may be a one-person operation. What do you like or dislike about that? Do you feel comforted having others to help if your agent is busy, or do you want one person dedicated to your home so the process doesn’t get spread too thin? It’s up to you and what you prefer.
- Commission. If you feel like you need to negotiate the agent’s commission, don’t. If you don’t have confidence in their quality of service and need to ask for a reduction, move on instead. You need to find an agent that you believe will work hard to earn the 6% commission. This shows you believe in the value they’ll provide. Remember, in North Carolina, 3% goes to the buyer’s agent and 3% is for the listing agent. Both agents have incurred costs during the process.
You may also consider a flat fee listing. Instead of a commission, you’d pay a fee and an agent puts your property for sale on the MLS for all other agents and buyers to see. After that, it’s the same as a FSBO listing.
We hope you find a great listing agent, and we’re confident you can with these tools. If you need help deciding or need agent recommendations, call us!
Preparing to Sell FSBO
If you’ve done your homework and have decided to sell FSBO, that’s great news! Follow these steps to ensure a smooth process without wasting time and money.
- Determine timeline, home condition, and price. We mentioned this earlier, so revisit that if needed.
- Make a marketing plan. Make sure to include a plan for:
- Photography. You need to invest in professional photos of your home. Yes, phones have great cameras. But unless you’re a professional real estate photographer, don’t chance it. Look online at homes for sale – there is a stark difference between good and bad real estate photos online, and buyers will spend more time looking at the professional images.
- Ads. Where will you advertise? Will you pay Zillow? Have that plan in place so there’s no guessing. This is important, since the longer your home is listed on a site like Zillow, people will ask for price reductions. They’ll believe you want to get the process over with and are willing to negotiate, and will make lower offers than you’d like.
- Open houses. Will you hold open houses? You can skip them and just host private showings to interested buyers. An open house may seem like a headache, but it may get a buyer or agent into your home who may not have reached out otherwise.
- Terms and disclaimers. Set your terms ahead of time and include them in the listing. For example, you will receive calls from agents wanting to sell your home, and buyer’s agents wanting to know if you’ll pay the buyer’s commission. You can avoid those calls by clearly listing terms beforehand.
Ready? Now, put your marketing plan in place. Your experience will be made or broken here.
Reach Out For Assistance
We know it’s not easy to sell FSBO, but it can be a great way to move property in Western North Carolina. Even the most prepared seller can have issues along the way. Our professional team at Asheville Cash Buyers is always here to listen to you and provide help!