For Sale By Owner? 3 Critical Home Seller Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Linda Marotto
Linda Marotto
Published on April 3, 2019

Real estate isn’t a game for the faint of heart. To ensure that you walk away from the deal with the maximum amount of money possible requires following a time-tested process.

Unfortunately, not all owner home sales are counseled their real estate agents on the do’s and don’ts of selling a home so mistakes happen frequently.

The real estate term ‘FSBO’, is pronounced, “fizbo”, simply means “For Sale By Owner.” FSBOs are home sellers who sell their homes directly to buyers without using a real estate agent. Those sellers often put signs in their front yards that say, “For Sale By Owner,” and thus the name.

A home sale by owner option sounds like it could be a pretty sweet deal for the seller. After all, if you’re doing the work, you’ll walk away with the most money, right?

Let’s take a look at three of the most critical mistakes that FSBO home sellers make and how to avoid making them.      

1. Overpricing the Home 

A home sale isn’t like a yard sale where folks haggle over prices. Sure, there may be price negotiations, but don’t count on them when coming up with a price for the home.

Pricing high to give the buyer “wiggle room” to negotiate isn’t wise.🙄

By using an agent, they will place your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)  database shortly after taking your listing. He or she will enter all the particulars of the home and the price. They will take pictures that make your house look amazing, to future buyers. Just these tasks alone will save you countless hours along with the stress of ALL the social media advertising it will take to get buyers rolling in, because maybe a simple ‘MLS’ description just won’t cut it. As the FSBO, you MUST stand out in a sea of the newest homes for sale in the neighborhood!


Still thinking ‘For Sale By Owner’ is right For You? Just check out the owner home sales in your neighborhood.  Being curious about the purchase amount of the homes sold near me, which is great,  but you need to know how many were home sales by owner and how may homes that sold near me, by real estate agents. You need to know the real home values of all your neighbors!

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Other agents in the area will search the MLS for homes that their buying clients may be interested in viewing. These searches are almost always based on price.

When you overprice your home, it will show up in searches for larger, newer and nicer homes – homes that yours can’t compare with.

So, it will sit on the market with few buyers viewing it in person. When a home sits for too long, buyers get the impression that you aren’t a serious seller or way over priced.

A home’s value is determined by what buyers are willing to pay for it, not what the homeowner wants to get for it.

To determine what buyers are willing to pay requires an analysis of homes similar to yours that have recently sold.


It doesn’t matter what your friend Connie across the street is asking for her house, it only matters what she finally realizes when the deal closes.

The biggest mistake a home seller can make is to lose that most valuable marketing period – the first few weeks after the home hits the market.

Unless the market is red-hot for sellers and multiple offers are the norm, work with your agent to determine the home’s value and price it right.

2. Not preparing the house

“You only have one chance to make a good first impression,” isn’t just excellent advice for a job interview. Houses make impressions as well and if you don’t take the time to ensure yours makes an impact immediately you may end up leaving money on the table.

Preparation starts with deep cleaning the home until it is immaculate. Paint any walls that need it, make repairs to dripping faucets, sagging screens and loose banisters.

Staging the home – hiring a decorator to rearrange furniture and add decorative items – isn’t a must but it has proven to bring more money at the close of the sale.

Finally, never neglect the exterior of the home.   What a buyer sees when he drives up to the curb must be compelling enough to make him want to see what’s on the inside.

3. Putting restrictions on showings

Being flexible is a must when your home is on the market. This means not putting too many restrictions on showing times.

As a for sale by owner, if you require a 24-hour notice or will only allow the home to be shown during certain hours, you restrict the pool of buyers that may be interested in purchasing the home.

Flexibility also means being willing to leave the home at a moment’s notice so that an agent can show it. It means leaving for the entire day if your agent wants to hold an open house.

Yes, it’s a bother and it’s inconvenient. But the homeowner hanging around during showings and open houses is intimidating to buyers and they won’t feel free to truly investigate the house.

🇺🇸   Did you know?   Estimates from sites like Zillow are inaccurate more than 30% of the time !!

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Bonus Tip

One of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make is to be less-than truthful about all aspects of the home.

Disclosure is your duty! For Sale By Owner or not, Non-disclosure of a known material fact can land you in court. You must tell a potential buyer both the good and the bad about the house. Your real estate agent will always have a Seller Disclosure questionnaire readily available for sellers. We are here to help sellers, in every way possible. Let’s work together towards a smooth closing!

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