How Do I Sell My House Without a Realtor in Florida?
Too big, too small, too expensive, too much work needed, too far from your new job… Sooner or later, there may come a time when your home does not fit your needs anymore. Most people would reach for their phone to give their real estate agent a call. However, if you catch yourself thinking, “should I sell my house in Florida myself?” you are in the right place.
Selling a house in Florida without a real estate agent is not for the faint of heart. It typically requires significantly more work on your part than listing it with an agent. Nevertheless, there are also numerous reasons why a FSBO (For Sale by Owner) sale may be the right choice for you. You will have more control over the selling process, and you could also save a lot of money in commission fees.
No matter your circumstances, putting your house on the market always comes with its own set of concerns. We are here to help you figure out if selling your Florida home without a Realtor is the best course of action for you and, if so, what you will need to keep in mind for an optimal outcome.
Table of Contents
- What are the pros and cons of selling without an agent?
- How can I tell if selling by owner (FSBO) is a good fit for me?
- How much money can I save by selling without a Realtor?
- What paperwork do I need to sell by owner?
- How much taxes will I owe on the sale?
- Do you have any useful tips on selling without an agent?
- What are the steps needed to sell my house myself?
What are the pros and cons of selling without an agent in Florida?
So, are you ready to sell your property? If you get in touch with a real estate agent, you will notice that their services are not cheap. While house hunting with a Realtor comes at no cost for you, you will need to pay a hefty commission when they sell your property. But it is not the only reason why you may pause and ask yourself: “should I sell my Florida home without a real estate agent?”
In Florida, the typical real estate commission rate is equivalent to 5 to 6% of the property’s final sale price, to be paid by the seller. The commission is then split between the listing and the buying agent. It is enough to make you think twice about putting in the extra work and keep the proceeds of your house sale for yourself. After all, relocating to a new property often comes with many expenses.
By using a real estate agent, you also let go of a significant part of control over the selling process. The property owner always has the last word. Still, you may feel pressured into doing things you are not entirely comfortable with, from suggestions on how to sell your Florida house to accepting a lower offer. After all, seller’s agents do not get paid until the home is sold. Therefore, it is in their interest to encourage you to accept an offer now rather than letting the property sit on the market in hopes that another buyer with deeper pockets comes along.
|No commission. Selling your house with an agent means you pay 5-6% in commission fees.||The average FSBO listing sells for almost $80,000 less than agent-listed properties.|
|It’s easier to sell to friends or family.||If you misrepresent your home, even if it’s an error, you can end up in trouble.|
|Not using a real estate agent means you can offer your home for less.||18% of people who choose to sell FSBO end up not selling in their chosen time frame.|
|Selling your home is a top priority for you. Agents usually have multiple properties listed, so your home would not get all the attention you want.||You need to do all the negotiation, which can be uncomfortable.|
Finally, you are probably the best advocate for your property. While a real estate agent deals with several houses at once, selling your home is your primary concern. You will not need to compete for your listing agent’s attention with other properties – some of which may have a higher price tag and, therefore, lead to a bigger commission for the agent. You will also have more control over your schedule, from the timeline to sell your house, to when showings can be scheduled. Since when selling your home yourself, you market it on your terms, you also have more control over your privacy – you could bypass all internet listings or avoid open houses if you are not comfortable with these options, for example.
However, there is a reason why 89% of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their house.
Real estate requires in-depth knowledge you may not have as a homeowner. Agents are familiar with the areas they work in, such as how much houses sell for and how long they stay on the market on average. They also know what typically appeals to buyers in your area and which neighborhoods are the most desirable. They are experts on the ins and outs of a real estate transaction, such as the paperwork you will need to provide and the legal ramifications if you run into any issues. Finally, they are expert negotiators and often have an extensive professional network at their disposal, from personal relationships with other agents to valuable referrals for contractors, mortgage agents, and so on.
Real estate agents also have access to a lot more resources than your average homeowner and may have a better chance to bring in the right qualified buyer. Multiple Listing Services (MLS) are one of the main ways of advertising a house for sale. However, they are only accessible to real estate agents, who pay a fee for that privilege. You may have an extensive personal network, but the chances are slim that you will find someone interested in buying your house among your connections.
On the other hand, real estate agents are in touch with dozens of potential buyers in your area – either their clients or those of other real estate agents they have established connections with. Let us not forget that most buyers are house hunting with the help of a Realtor – their services are free for them after all. Real estate agents are more likely to show a house listed by a fellow agent than a FSBO property since homeowners are often perceived as less professional and harder to deal with.
Selling your house yourself can be more time-consuming than what you bargained for. Without a real estate agent acting as a buffer, you will need to market the property through all the appropriate channels, arrange for showings, and take care of all the paperwork yourself. You will also need to research, negotiate, communicate back and forth with the other parties, and so on. If you already hold a full-time job, it may be tricky to take time off work, especially if your property ends up staying on the market longer than you expected. Selling your house on your own may soon feel like a job itself.
Finally, by trying to save money on commission, you may end up losing money on the sale of your house. According to a National Association of Realtors survey, the typical FSBO home sold for $217,900 compared to $295,000 for agent-assisted home sales. Many factors contribute to this situation: homeowners may be pricing the property too low, accepting a low-ball offer after the house is not selling within the planned timeframe, lack the negotiation skills, and so on. Keep in mind that there are expenses you will need to take into account while selling your Florida house alone that would otherwise be included in your selling agent’s commission, from the cost of marketing to the commission for the buyer’s agent. Once all is said and done, you could end up losing money on the sale of your house instead of saving.
How can I tell if selling by owner (FSBO) is a good fit for me?
After considering the pros and cons, are you still pondering: “should I sell my FL house without a Realtor”? If you can confidently answer “yes” to the affirmations below, then selling your house FSBO may be the right choice for you.
I am familiar with the local market and real estate transactions. If you have lived in the area for a long time and already sold and bought multiple properties, you probably know how things are done. You may already have established connections with trusted professionals, such as contractors, inspectors, title companies, real estate lawyers, and so on. You are familiar with the paperwork involved and which mistakes to avoid. You keep a close eye on the real estate market in your area and know how much your property can expect to sell for based on several solid recent comparable sales.
I can remove the emotional aspect of selling my house. A home is made of four walls and a roof, but it also represents a lot more for a homeowner. You probably have a lot of memories in your house. You chose the decoration carefully. Without a real estate agent to guide you, can you take an objective look at your house’s advantages and disadvantages? Can you handle ruthless comments from house hunters?
I have time to market and show the property. While listing your house without a Realtor means that you can decide how and when you want to show your home, it also means that you need to be reactive to answer any inquiries and take time off your day to prepare and show the property. You will need to accommodate the potential buyers’ schedule, often on short notice.
I am in a sellers’ market or already have buyers lined up. FSBO homes are more challenging to sell than real estate agent-listed homes in any market. However, if the inventory is high in your area, it will be even trickier to compete with properties that are marketed more broadly. On the other hand, if houses for sale are few and far between, you may get lucky as desperate buyers look for off-the-market properties to avoid dealing with competing offers and the risk of losing the property. You may find buyers in your personal network and through word-of-mouth, in which case you probably do not need a real estate agent.
I am ready to invest in professional help when needed. While selling your house alone is not impossible, you will likely run into issues and delays, especially if it is your first time. You must be prepared to recognize your shortcomings and put in the time – and money – to use exterior help when needed. For example, you can take out the guessing from pricing your home by hiring an appraiser. You should also step up your marketing efforts by using a home stager and a real estate photographer. Access to some marketing resources (listing platforms, for example) can be expensive but necessary. So is the legal help you may need to draft the sale contract. However, these expenses could save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
How much money can I save by selling without a Realtor?
By selling your Florida house without a Realtor, you could avoid paying a commission fee that represents between 5% and 6% of the sale price of the house, and sometimes even more. With the typical value of homes in Florida being $273,094, the commission represents $13,654 to $16,386. It is not a sum most people would look down upon, especially if they intend to buy another property. However, listing agents typically split their commission with buyers’ agents.
When it comes to FSBO sales, the seller may want to offer to pay a 2% to 3% commission fee to the buyer’s agent. Most house hunters use a real estate agent. However, Realtors may discourage their clients from looking at your property if there is no incentive for them to do so. Do not forget to mention that you are willing to pay a commission to the buyer’s agent in your marketing materials, whether it is online or on a flyer.
Other expenses are not compulsory, but you may want to consider investing in your property for a speedy and successful sale.
Hire an appraiser and get the house pre-inspected before listing it. If the potential buyers use bank financing, their lender will order a home inspection and appraisal to approve the mortgage. You can get a head start to identify – and potentially remediate – any issues with your property. It also guarantees that you can list your house for the right price from the get-go instead of a lengthy and potentially expensive trial-and-error process. You can mention any inspection that you had done in your marketing material and, for example, include an allowance for repairs in the contract. More importantly, having your house appraised and pre-inspected will help with the closing and avoid any last-minute bad surprises as much as possible.
“Why should I make repairs if I am planning to sell my FL home without an agent?” you may ask yourself. Real estate agents often suggest that sellers prep their home for sale, but repairs can be expensive. Besides attracting potential buyers, an updated house also has a better chance to close quickly. Some repairs, like peeling paint, for example, are often part of lenders’ requirements. Therefore, for the property to close, you will need to take care of the repairs at the last minute, or the sale may fall through. Spending money you would rather spend on your new home is probably the last thing you want to do, but familiarize yourself with what you should fix before putting your house on the market vs. what constitutes an unnecessary expense. Although it is possible to sell a home as-is, you may need to price the house lower if it is in bad condition and would only appeal to investors and cash buyers.
When you decide to sell your home in Florida without a Realtor, you also take on the marketing expenses your real estate agent would otherwise have included as part of their commission. They are often experts at staging the property to appeal to buyers and take great pictures. Some have professional equipment, such as specialized lenses or even drones. As the homeowner, you may need to hire professionals to take on this aspect of marketing. You will also need to pay for all the marketing materials, like flyers, newspaper advertisements, online ads, and so on. The primary marketing tool to sell a house is access to the MLS, which other real estate agents – and, by extension, their clients – use to find a place. Without using an agent, you can still list your property on the MLS. However, you will need to pay a flat fee for this privilege.
Finally, a real estate contract is legally binding. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you hire a real estate lawyer to oversee your sale contract and guide you through the selling process. It may be an expense upfront, but it could also save you a lot of money and legal troubles in the long run.
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What paperwork do I need to sell by owner?
If you have ever bought or sold a house, you know that it involves a considerable amount of paperwork. In most real estate transactions, the Realtors and the title company handle most legal documents, so there is nothing for you to do but sign in the right place. However, if you plan to sell your house FSBO in FL, you will need to provide a long list of documents and disclaimers. Here are the documents you will need to put together before closing:
Purchase and Sale Agreement: The P&S agreement, including any addendum detailing any agreed-upon changes, includes all the terms and conditions of the sale. It should mention all the information regarding the property being conveyed, the payment details, any contingencies (financing, inspection, appraisal, etc.), and so on. To avoid any trouble and liability, it is best to use an “as-is” contract. You can find some standard forms online. However, each transaction is unique, and it is best to have a real estate lawyer take a look at the terms of the contract to avoid any oversight.
Closing statement: The closing statement is a document detailing all the costs and fees associated with the sale of the property and who is responsible for them. This is typically prepared by a title company or real estate attorney.
Signed Deed and Affidavit of Title: The deed indicates that you are the rightful owner of the property and, therefore, that you have the right to sell it. The affidavit of sale is a notarized document stating that you are entitled to transfer the property, that the house is not sold to a third party, that the seller is not in a bankruptcy proceeding and that there are no liens against it.
Bill of Sale: The bill of sale is a non-legal form that can be used as a sale receipt to record the transfer of ownership. It includes data such as the buyer and seller’s information, the sale price, and a description of the property being sold.
Florida is a “duty to disclose” state. If you have any knowledge of a defect on the property that could affect the house’s safety, its value, or the occupants’ health (water damage, environmental hazard, presence of asbestos, and so on), you have the legal obligation to inform the buyer. As the seller, you need to provide the following disclosures:
Seller Property Disclosure: It includes details of any issues you may be aware of regarding the property and the major appliances. You will need to disclose if you are aware of any defects or potential problems, from health hazards to systems not being up to code or any modifications made to the property not compliant with city code and zoning.
Property Tax Disclosure Summary: You must disclose the ad valorem taxes to the prospective purchaser since the transfer of title could trigger the property’s reassessment, or you may benefit from tax breaks for which the buyer may not qualify.
Flood Zone Statement: depending on the buyer’s financing requirements, you may need to disclose whether the property presents a floor risk or not.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure: required for properties built before 1978.
If applicable, you will also need to provide the following documents. This list is not exhaustive and depends on the property you are selling, the lending requirements, and how much preparation work you completed before selling the house.
Mortgage Information and Payoff Authorization if you still owe any money on the property
Home Owner Association Forms and Guidelines
Home Inspection (if the house was pre-inspected)
Proof of Repairs and Maintenance records
Manual and Warranties for the appliances
Home Warranty Information
Details of easements and restrictions on the property
Although the list of documents may seem daunting, you must do your due diligence if you plan to sell a home without an agent in FL. Real estate contracts are legally binding, and any mishaps could expose you to fines or being sued by the buyer, even if years have passed since you sold the property. Therefore, although it does represent an investment on your hand, all the closing paperwork should be overseen by a real estate lawyer. They can direct you on the language to use and which documents to include in the sale.
Not having the proper paperwork is also one of the common reasons why FSBO deals fall through at the last minute a lot more often than transactions overseen by real estate agents. If you want to avoid seeing your hard work in getting your house ready to sell and finding a buyer go to waste, make sure you have all the documents required to sell the property.
How much taxes will I owe on the sale?
Once you have signed the appropriate dotted lines and handed over the keys, you may feel like celebrating. After all, selling your house without a Realtor in Florida takes a lot of hard work. However, you will need to think twice before spending all that cash. Your house is often your most important asset, and, as can be expected, you will need to set aside a share of the proceeds of the sale to pay for taxes.
Since every tax situation is unique, we strongly advise that you meet with a tax accountant to understand the tax implications of your home sale. However, here are three types of taxes that may affect the sale of your Florida home.
Real estate in Florida is subject to property taxes set by the municipality in which the property is located. Each house is subject to an assessed value. The homeowner is responsible for paying taxes annually based on this value, which are paid to the town to fund the local public school, infrastructures, etc. When you sell your Florida house, you will pay property taxes prorated up to the closing date. Depending on your situation and whether or not the house is your primary residence, you may be eligible for some tax credit.
If you made a profit when selling your house FSBO in Florida, you might also be subject to capital gain taxes. The amount of capital gains tax you will have to pay on the sale of your house varies widely based on your situation, where you live, your income bracket, how long you have owned the property, if you used the house as your primary residence, and so on. For U.S. residents who have held the property for at least a year, the capital gain rates are typically equivalent to 15 to 20% of the profits.
If you have used the property as your primary residence for at least two years in the past five years, you may qualify for an exemption – up to $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a married couple. You may also be able to write off a portion of the profits from your income tax if you were forced into selling your house due to hardship, such as a change in your health, job loss, and so on.
Finally, if you have been using your Florida home as an income property – whether you rented it full-time or only sporadically as a short-term vacation rental – you may also be subject to federal taxes on the profit generated if you perceive rental income. The taxation rules vary based on whether the property you rented can be defined as a business or personal residence. This status depends on how often you occupy the property yourself in comparison to how frequently you rent it out. If you use the property as a vacation home for more than 14 days per year or occupy it for over 10% of the days it is rented, it is defined as a residence. Otherwise, it will qualify as a business.
Keep in mind that Florida also imposes a 6% sale tax on short-term rentals (under six months) in some counties. Ensure you are fully aware of your local rules if you plan on listing that second home on platforms such as VRBO or AirBnB.
Do you have any useful tips on selling without an agent?
Get the price right: Listing your property for the right price is the most critical thing you can do if you plan to sell your house without a Realtor in Florida. If you price it too low, you may be losing a lot of money. On the contrary, if you price it too high, your property could be sitting on the market for a very long time. Although you can proceed with price adjustments as time goes by, the listing will become stale, your house will lose its fresh market appeal, and you could find yourself in a situation when you have to accept a lower offer because you are running out of time as you must buy a new home.
Finding the right price for your house can be difficult. Homeowners tend to value their property higher than what an emotionally detached buyer may be willing to pay. Tax assessments do not constitute a good indicator of what your house may be worth. If you want to determine the right price for your home, you will need to carefully study the competition and take an honest look at your property. Find comparable homes for sale that recently sold in the same neighborhood and compare the improvements’ quality. Depending on the property’s condition, you may need to proceed to do the repairs yourself or, if it is too expensive, be willing to price the property lower. The best way to get the right price right away is to hire a real estate appraiser to get a professional third-party opinion.
Familiarize yourself with the real estate market: If you live in the property, you probably consider yourself an expert in your neighborhood. However, if you tell yourself, “I want to sell my Florida home myself,” then you will need to become an expert on the real estate market as well. Some data is easily accessible online: for example, you will need to know how much houses sell for average in your area or how long they typically stay on the market.
Other information is more difficult to find out. Do you know which neighborhood will be the next hot spot in your city, or what is the profile of the average home buyers in your area? House hunters’ expectations will be a lot different if the neighborhood typically attracts families or high-income professionals. What does the job market look like in your city? Is a new company coming in or closing its doors? You may want to look at other houses for sale in your neighborhood to see what features they have and what buyers may be expecting in terms of quality.
Make sure your house is show-ready: If you plan to sell your home in Florida alone, you will need to make sure your house is ready to show on short notice. You will need to have a plan for yourself, but also your children and pets if necessary. You may want to install a lockbox on your house and give the code to buyer’s agents so your home can be shown even if you are not available yourself. If you take too long to answer inquiries from potential buyers or are not accommodating enough to their schedule, they will likely move on to the next property. You will also need to take a step back while showing the house to potential buyers who may not be comfortable making comments in front of you.
Market the house properly: One of the most significant disadvantages of selling your FL house without an agent is that you will lack the professional network and marketing channels most Realtors have at their disposal. Therefore, you must put considerable effort into marketing your home. You can – and should – list your home on MLS for a flat fee since it is the tool the most widely used by buying agents and their clients. Most house hunters start their search on the Internet, and 52% found their home while looking online. Therefore, you should take full advantage of the multiple platforms available to list your house for sale. Some of them are free (for example, Craigslist and Trulia), while others charge a fee. You can also find websites specializing in FSBO listings.
When listing your house on the Internet, make sure that your listing is as attractive as possible, with excellent pictures. After all, it is often the best way to catch a potential buyer’s attention and get them to take a look at your property. Besides Internet, do not neglect the other channels that can help you get the right pair of eyes on your property: distribute flyers to your local businesses, set up a sign in your yard, set up an ad in your local newspaper and social media, and use your network as much as possible.
Be a skilled negotiator: Real estate agents are excellent negotiators. They know the market, their clients, and find ways to sweeten the deal to obtain the best outcome for their client. If you want to sell your FL house alone, you need to know precisely how much your home is worth to avoid any low-ball offer – another convincing argument to get your house appraised before putting it on the market. However, since FSBO houses typically take longer to sell, you will also need to consider your expenses – from carrying a second mortgage to paying property taxes, maintenance, or HOA dues – if your house ends up sitting on the market. Make sure you have all the documents you need to support your arguments and answer any questions from your potential buyer. Although some buyers may try to make a very low offer, try not to feel insulted and compose a counteroffer instead.
What can I do if my FSBO house in Florida is not selling? Sometimes, even good homes do not find the right buyer right away. If you are pressed by time, take a good look at what the issues may be with your property. It is always helpful to request feedback from potential buyers and their real estate agents to see if anything stands out as a recurring deterrent to why the property does not fit their needs. For example, your house may be difficult to finance if there is significant damage, or it may be priced too high compared to other homes for sale in the area. You can remediate to most of the issues by either fixing the problem or lowering the price to compensate.
If your house is not getting enough attention, you may want to expand your marketing channels or provide incentives for the buyer. For example, would you be in a position to propose a rent-to-buy scenario, to offer cash credit at closing to fix some of the issues, or pay for the buyer’s closing costs?
If there is no apparent reason why your house is not selling (your home is in good shape, in a desirable area, and priced right), it may be time to bite the bullet and hire a real estate agent. However, if your house does not appeal to the typical buyer in your area, you may need to think outside the box.
Some properties can be challenging to sell. If they are in extremely poor condition, most buyers will not consider them since most lenders will not approve a mortgage, and they would require significant repairs before being livable. Buyers may also shy away from properties that could lead to legal issues, such as a problematic tenant or if there are any liens or violations against it. If you face this type of scenario, your best bet to sell your house in Florida quickly may be to reach out to investors and cash home buyers like us, who can deal with this situation.
A step by step guide to selling your home without a realtor in Florida:
Decide on what needs to be done to get your house ready to sell.
Whether you will be working with a Realtor or not, getting your house ready to sell is an important step. You probably know that you will need to declutter your home, stage it for sale and keep it clean to attract a potential buyer. However, one area may be trickier to navigate: which house improvement projects should you undertake before listing your property? You want your home to look its best, but many house repairs can be expensive. If you are already planning to buy another property, you may want to save as much cash as possible.
Set a list of repairs that you can handle yourself without breaking the bank – for example, giving the house a fresh coat of paint inside and out, updating the hardware in the kitchen and bathroom, or adding some fresh flowers in the front yard to enhance the curb appeal.
Lending institutions may require other home repairs before they approve most loans, especially if they could put the safety of the house and its occupants in jeopardy. Some common repairs include missing or non-working carbon monoxide monitors and fire alarms, structural issues in the foundations or the roof, peeling paint, missing handrails, exposed wires, and so on.
Many of these repairs can be costly, and there is no guarantee that you would recoup your investment in the sale of the property.
You can still put your house on the market “as-is” without fixing them. However, you will reduce the pool of potential buyers. Homes in poor condition typically appeal to investors and cash buyers, but they need to be priced accordingly to catch their attention. If you are unsure of what needs to be done, you may want to get the house pre-inspected.
One of the advantages of selling your Florida home FSBO is that the listing agent will not pressure you into undertaking expensive repairs. Therefore, you can weigh the pros and cons of fixing the house vs. selling it as-is, focusing on your budget and your level of comfort.
Determine a listing price for the property.
Many websites offer an estimate of what your house may be worth. However, this number is not always accurate. After taking an honest look at your home, research other sold comparable properties in your area with similar features (bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc.) that sold recently or are currently on the market. You can find most of this information online on sites like Zillow.com, Redfin.com, etc.
Some real estate agents also offer a free estimate of what your home may be worth as part of their marketing strategy. They are marketed as Comparative Market Analysis (CMAs) or Broker Price Opinion (BPOs). Although they can constitute a good indicator of a listing price for your property, do not forget that real estate agents propose this service to attract new listings. Therefore, the agents may slightly inflate the price they give you to convince you to hire them to sell your house. If you try this route, it may be a good idea to ask several agents to give you their opinion to compare the results.
Finally, the most accurate way to price your house is to hire a real estate appraiser. Unlike real estate agents, appraisers are third parties with no vested interest in how much your house could sell for. Their services come at a cost (typically between $300 and $400 for an average single-family home), but it is the best estimate of what you can realistically expect to sell your house for in yo current market. Appraisals can be made for properties “as-is” or subject to repairs. If you are considering undertaking some major renovations before selling your house in Florida alone, it could be an excellent tool to measure whether the cost of the repairs is worth it or not.
Market the property as broadly as possible.
“I want to sell my house in Florida without a real estate agent, but I don’t know where to start,” is a common dilemma faced by FSBO sellers. Real estate agents have broad-reaching systems to market the properties they are listing. Selling your house is often a numbers game, especially if you are in a buyers’ market with plenty of inventory. Your listing needs to reach as many eyes as possible to get the best chance at finding the right buyer, and it also needs to stand out enough to catch the attention of would-be buyers who often scroll through dozens of listings.
They say that pictures are worth a thousand words, and it is particularly true when it comes to real estate listings. If you have looked at houses for sale lately, you will notice that most listings offer polished pictures with wide angles and carefully edited. 360° pictures, video tours, and drone pictures are also becoming more common. The goal is to help the would-be buyers picture themselves in your home. If you do not have the equipment and knowledge to produce excellent images, you may want to hire a professional to stage and take pictures of your property.
The description should provide details on the property: number of bedrooms, bathrooms, the square footage of the house and land, the condition, any recent repairs, etc. It should be attention-catching without being overly flourished. Real estate websites often have requirements regarding length. You may want to prepare a shorter snippet for the MLS listing and a longer, more detailed description for your property website or brochure.
As a FSBO seller, you want to find as many channels as possible to market your home. Use online and offline resources to advertise your Florida home for sale by owner. Some of them are free, but you may need to pay a fee for others. Some companies offer listing services specifically for houses for sale without an agent. You can also pay a real estate agent a flat fee to list your property on the local MLS and make it accessible to real estate agents and their clients.
You should also advertise your Florida home for sale independently. Besides putting a “For Sale” sign on your home, including your contact information, you can create a flyer including the description and some property pictures. You can ask your personal and professional network if they know someone looking for a home. In competitive markets, properties that are not as readily available as agent-assisted listings, such as off-the-market or FSBO houses, are sought after by buyers since they typically receive fewer competing offers. You may be able to find an interested buyer willing to buy your home using groups on social media in your local community and word-of-mouth. Some house hunters, especially older ones, also look for properties using printed media such as local newspapers and classified ads.
Arrange for showings and respond to all inquiries promptly.
It can get tricky to track requests for showing or information when they are coming in through different channels. However, you must respond fast. Your house should be show-ready even on short notice. If you are still occupying the property, it is a good idea to declutter ahead of time, so it is easier to tidy up for potential showing and stay on top of housekeeping.
If you do not live and work locally, you may want to install a lockbox with the keys to the property on your house and share the code with the buyer’s agents to arrange for showings. If you have many requests in a short time, organizing an open house may be your best bet.
Make sure all your valuables and sensitive documents are locked away ahead of time. Safety when showing a house is always a concern. Therefore, it is best to require identifying documents when setting up an appointment. You may be excited to show off the highlights of your home. However, most buyers may feel more comfortable while touring your house in private. After sharing relevant information, make yourself scarce but remain available to answer any questions.
Negotiate with potential buyers.
If everything goes as planned, you should receive an offer from a buyer sooner or later. Depending on how long your house has been on the market, you may be eager to sign the dotted line, especially if you are carrying two mortgages or are dealing with difficult circumstances, such as a death or a divorce.
Some buyers may make low-ball offers, especially if your house has been listed for sale for longer than is typical in your area. Instead of being offended, remain level-headed. You are not obligated to answer any offers, but it is more professional to either reject the bid politely or make a counteroffer in line with your price point.
As the seller, getting the highest price possible is always a priority, but you should stay realistic. There is no guarantee that a buyer will suddenly fall in love with your house and offer to pay top dollar. You may also need to weigh the pros and cons of selling your house now versus waiting for a higher offer. For example, you may want to consider the expenses associated with keeping the house longer, such as taxes and maintenance, or the cost of carrying two mortgages.
If you are not willing to budge on the price, you may also need to negotiate contingencies (fixing part of the house, paying for part of the buyers’ closing costs, and so on) to reach an agreement.
Draft a contract.
Once you have reached an agreement, write a contract including the agreed sale price, the conditions of the sale, the date and condition of the closing, etc. Templates are available online. However, it is preferable to have a real estate lawyer oversee the paperwork involved in the sale since it is a legally binding agreement. Any error or omission could lead to lawsuits and thousands of dollars in fines.
Prepare for closing.
Real estate deals involving FSBO houses tend to fall apart at the last minute more often than agent-assisted listings. Although accepting an offer on your house is an exciting step, the weeks leading to the closing can be a stressful and busy time if you are selling your Florida home without a real estate agent.
To avoid seeing your hard work go to waste, make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork and that you are in compliance with Florida real estate laws. You may need to source some documents ahead of time for the contract to close, especially if several parties are involved – for example, if your Florida house is part of a divorce or an estate settlement or if you are trying to avoid foreclosure.
If you agreed to some contingencies (for example, fixing part of the house), the requirements would have to be met before closing. You will also need to provide access to the property for the house inspector and the appraiser if your buyer is using them.
Having a real estate lawyer on your team will help you keep track of your obligations and respect deadlines. Although you are never safe from an issue on the buyer’s end – especially if it involves financing – it will put all the chances on your side for a smooth closing. Until you have handed over the keys to the new owner, keep the lines of communication open with all the parties involved and be reactive if anything is required from you.
Final Thoughts On Selling Your Florida Home By Yourself
We hope you found the information here useful. There are many pros and cons to selling your home with or without an agent. Before making any decision in life, especially an important one like selling your home, it’s always good to get yourself informed so you can make the best decision possible for your situation.
If you have any additional questions about selling your home, feel free to reach out to us. We’re always happy to offer our guidance, and if you’re interested in seeing what we would offer for your home, we’d be happy to give you a free, no-obligation estimate as well! We buy properties all throughout the state of Florida, from Miami up to Jacksonville and all other mid-large markets.
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