For Sale By Owner Resource

A Guide for the Unrepresented Seller

We routinely see For Sale By Owner (FSBO) signs and advertisements, so we wanted to provide a few resources for those of you who are trying to sell your home on your own.   We do our best to make sure our buyer clients have access to all listings in the area that we serve, including homes For Sale by Owner.  If you’d like for us to include your home information as part of what we send to our potential buyers, please feel free to complete the questionnaire below.  Since only *14% of homes purchased nationwide are sold from a For Sale sign, we understand the limitations and potential challenges of selling a home. We’d like to provide you with a few tools to help you understand the sales process.  Of course, if you’d like to discuss our successful Listing and Marketing plan, we’d be happy to discuss options with you.

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Forms You’ll Need to Sell Your Home

1. Property Disclosure form. This form is required by Virginia law for all residential sales.  There are a few exceptions, but Unrepresented sellers are not exempt.

2. Purchasers access to premises agreement. This agreement sets conditions for permitting the buyer to enter your home for activities such as measuring for draperies before you move.

3. Sales contract. The agreement between you and the seller on terms and conditions of sale. Again, check with your state real estate department to see if there is a required form.

4. Sales contract contingency clauses. In addition to the contract, you may need to add one or more attachments to the contract to address special contingencies — such as the buyer’s need to sell a home before purchasing yours.

5. Pre- and post-occupancy agreements. Unless you’re planning on moving out and the buyer moving in on the day of closing, you’ll need an agreement on the terms and costs of occupancy once the sale closes.  Make sure you review the Virginia Wet Settlement Act to better understand recordation issues, when the buyer gets keys and when you may get money from your home (traditionally not on the day of closing)

6. Lead-based paint disclosure pamphlet. If your home was built before 1978, you must provide the pamphlet to all sellers. You must also have buyers sign a statement indicating they received this pamphlet.

17 Service Providers You’ll Need When You Sell

  • Real estate attorney
  • Appraiser
  • Home inspector
  • Radon Inspector
  • Mortgage loan officer
  • Environmental specialist
  • Lead paint inspector
  • Tax adviser
  • Sanitary systems expert
  • Occupancy permit inspector
  • Zoning inspector
  • Survey company
  • Flood plain inspector
  • Termite inspector
  • Title company
  • Insurance consultant
  • Moving company

Is Your Buyer Qualified?

Unless the buyer who makes an offer on your home has the resources to qualify for a mortgage, you may not really have a sale. If possible, try to determine a buyer’s financial status before signing the contract. Ask the following:

1. Has the buyer been prequalified or preapproved (even better) for a mortgage? Such buyers will be in a much better position to obtain a mortgage promptly.

2. Does the buyer have enough money to make a downpayment and cover closing costs? Ideally, a buyer should have 20 percent of the home’s price as a downpayment and between 2 and 7 percent of the price to cover closing costs.

3. Is the buyer’s income sufficient to afford your home? Ideally, buyers should spend no more than 28 percent of total income to cover PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance).

4. Does your buyer have good credit? Ask if he or she has reviewed and corrected a credit report.

5. Does the buyer have too much debt? If a buyer owes a great deal on car payments, credit cards, etc., he or she may not qualify for a mortgage.

Tips for Pricing Your Home

Consider comparables. What have other homes in your neighborhood sold for recently? How do they compare to yours in terms of size, upkeep, finishes and amenities?

Consider the competition. How many other houses are for sale in your area? Are you competing against new homes?

Consider your homes condition.  Is your home updated?  Remember that 70% of current buyers want a move in ready, turn key home.  If yours is not, that may limit the number of buyers that will be interested in your home.

Consider your contingencies. Do you have special concerns that would affect the price you’ll receive? For example, do you want to be able to move in four months?

Get an appraisal.   Realtors typically perform a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to give you an opinion for asking price.  Absent a CMA, you should consider an Appraiser for a asking price.  For a few hundred dollars, a qualified appraiser can give you an estimate of your home’s value. Be sure to ask for a market-value appraisal. To locate appraisers in your area, contact The Appraisal Institute or ask your REALTOR® for some recommendations.

Ask a lender. Since most buyers will need a mortgage, it’s important that a home’s sale price be in line with a lender’s estimate of its value.

Be accurate. Studies show that homes priced more than 3 percent over the correct price take longer to sell.

Know what you’ll take. It’s critical to know what price you’ll accept before beginning a negotiation with a buyer.