Selling your house for sale by owner (FSBO) is a financially appealing idea, especially if you want to avoid paying listing agent commissions. Unfortunately, the process isn’t as simple as selling a pound of apples you grew in your back garden at the local farmer’s market.
FSBO sales are not as straightforward as one might think, and they can be quite stressful and turbulent. However, you can minimize the stress and turbulence by learning how to perform an FSBO sale more effectively, and this guide will show you how.
FSBO Laws in Texas
Texas doesn’t have any specific FSBO laws, but there are several disclosure forms home sellers are required to fill out — most importantly, the flood zone statement and a lead-based paint statement.
Despite not needing a real estate agent for an FSBO home sale, both you (as the seller) and a potential buyer would need assistance in preparing the legal documents necessary to form a binding contract and transfer the property.
You can find most of these form sets online, but they might be risky or outright dangerous to use because each real estate transaction is unique. By contacting and employing a real estate attorney, you’re ensuring that everything is done correctly.
Most of the documents needed for the transaction and transfer of property will be drafted by the real estate attorney. It’s important to note that the commercial and residential property sales closings use different documents. Depending on several factors involved in the transactions, your attorney might also have to draft additional documents. Here’s what you’ll need:
Real Estate Contract
In real estate transactions, the real estate contract is the purchase agreement between the homeowner and the home buyer. Real estate contracts include the sale price, down payments, due diligence period, closing costs and date, title company, and other details.
Real estate contracts may also include real estate agent commission fees, but considering that you’re performing FSBO, those won’t be included in the contract. Additional terms and conditions, which are equally significant as those previously listed, may be included; however, they differ depending on the type, region, and terms of the purchase.
Assuming that the acquisition of real estate isn’t for investment purposes, Texas sellers are often required to submit seller’s disclosures regarding the home’s condition to buyers of residential real estate. The terms and conditions for providing the seller’s disclosure to the buyer or the buyer’s agent are usually specified in the real estate contract.
Buyers frequently want to make a real estate transaction conditional on whether they receive approval from a lender, so the financing approval contingency should be appended as an addendum or integrated into the real estate contract’s body.
Addendum for Homeowners Association
If your home is situated in a neighborhood or community governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA) or a Property Owners Association (POA), you’re obliged to disclose such information in the real estate contract. Buyers are also strongly encouraged to inquire about more subdivision information.
The Deed is a physical document that transfers the title to the real estate from the seller to the buyer of said real estate. They’re categorized as general warranty deeds, quitclaim deeds, and special warranty deeds, all of which grant the buyer different levels of security in the title to the real estate. A vendor’s lien may also be included in the Deed if third-party financing is involved.
Deed of Trust
The Deed of trust is a legal instrument used to create a security interest in real property, wherein the legal title in real property is transferred to a trustee, which holds it as security for a loan between a borrower and a lender. If the borrower defaults on the Deed of trust, the lender may foreclose on the property, adhering to the trust’s conditions and state law.
The For Sale By Owner Process
Considering that real estate brokers usually take 5% to 5% of the sale price as real estate commission, posting the “for sale by owner” yard sign is an appealing option for homeowners hoping to maximize their profits on a home sale.
However, the FSBO sale process may be a bit more difficult than you’d expect, since you have to pay close attention to several legal processes involved with real estate sales. These transactions are often complex and time-consuming, and it comes down to you to prepare, market, and show your home.
Other than fulfilling legal requirements and dealing with paperwork, both of which are usually addressed by realtors and listing agents, FSBO sales involve all the typical steps associated with selling real estate. However, they offer additional benefits such as maximized profits and flexibility to sell your own home on your own terms and timeline.
These sales also allow FSBO sellers to sell the home as-is, or make repairs and changes before the sale in an attempt to further maximize their profits. Industry research has suggested that sellers who employ local agents end up netting higher sales prices.
Can You Sell Your Home By Yourself in Texas?
The state of Texas doesn’t require you to hire a realtor or a real estate attorney when selling your home, and it’s entirely in your rights to sell your home by yourself.
There are several viable options to sell your home by yourself in Texas, and FSBO sales are a good approach to home selling. However, if you’re looking to sell your house for cash, you can contact some of the companies that buy houses in San Antonio and Texas residents are looking to sell fast and as-is.
However, while trying to sell a home without an agent can save you between $5,500 and $8,500, doing so can be tough, as it’s a time-consuming process, and you’ll be fully responsible for completing all the necessary paperwork.
Steps for Selling a House By Yourself
Despite all their benefits, by opting for FSBO sales, you’ll be competing with homes that have access to real estate agents’ considerable marketing resources. However, there are steps you can take to make your home look more like a professional listing and attract prospective buyers.
Price Your Property
Pricing your property correctly is one of the most challenging aspects of the FSBO process, since your property is only worth what people are willing to pay for it.
Normally, a realtor would provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) to establish your home’s value in the current real estate market. But considering that you’ve opted for an FSBO process, it’s down to you to establish a competitive asking price by running your own comps.
You can enlist the help of a realtor, but they’ll likely provide you with a biased response, as they’ll want you to enlist their services for a higher price and commissions. The other option is using free online tools like Trulia or Zillow. But the best possible approach for estimating a listing price is getting a pre-sale home appraisal.
A formal appraisal will provide the most unbiased and accurate estimate of your home. Appraisals are usually priced as flat fees, ranging up to $500.
Prepare for the Market
Once you have had your home appraised and have set a value as a starting point, you can start the preparations of listing your home for sale. This includes addressing needed repairs and maintenance prior to listing. This is where home inspections come in handy, as they can help you identify areas that would benefit from minor or major repairs or complete renovations.
Getting a pre-sale inspection isn’t a rule or a stipulation; however, home inspectors are trained professionals that can identify any existing and potential issues or point out any problems that could disrupt your FSBO sale and devalue your home. Home inspectors can also act as appraisers and help you establish your home’s fair market value.
It’s worth noting that the buyer’s agent may request the addendum of the home inspection clause in your real estate contract, in which case you’re either obliged to address the issues identified during the inspection or disclose them to potential buyers. Further preparation for the market includes making the necessary repairs, decluttering, and deep cleaning your home. The most critical areas you want to pay attention to are as follows:
- Foundations — Texas ranks high on the list when it comes to home foundation issues due to shifting soil.
- HVAC — Texas has sweltering summers, with temperatures rising above 100°F, which means that HVAC systems have to work longer and harder.
- Roof — Besides high temperatures, Texas is also known for hurricanes, harsh winters, hailstorms, and tornadoes, all of which can damage the home’s roof, so make sure to address any potential issues before the pre-inspection.
- Plumbing and wiring — Make sure that the plumbing and wiring in your home are updated to meet all the safety codes and regulations. Potential hazards can impact your home’s fair market value.
- Curb appeal — Make sure to clean and declutter your front and back yard, mow the lawns, and trim any hedges.
It should be pointed out that, while minor repairs do pay off, major repairs often don’t due to exorbitant price tags and lengthy timeframes associated with such repairs. If you’re looking to sell your home as-is, without any repairs, you can opt for one of those “selling a house fast” options, such as contacting Sell My House Fast SA TX — we buy houses Texas taxpayers are looking to sell as-is, and fast.
Stage the Home
Home staging helps the buyer get that “love at first sight” feel when during a private tour or a scheduled open house visit. Hiring a professional stager to make your home picture-perfect is highly recommended, as it can significantly speed up the sale. However, it’s a costly process, and you may end up paying up to $2,000 a month if you’re renting the furniture for staging or a flat fee of approx. $800 using your own furniture.
Photograph the Home
Hiring a professional photographer to make high-quality, professional photos of your home can make a world of difference when attracting potential customers. Prices may vary based on your location, but you can expect to pay anywhere between $200 and $400 for a professional photographer. Most home buyers say that viewing professional photos of a home is important, so it’s not negligible.
Once your home is ready for sale and you’ve staged the rooms and taken photos, the most important step is to list your home on Multiple Listing Service. However, you don’t want to limit yourself to MLS listings alone, so leverage social media posts and ads, as well as ads on Craigslist. Printing out brochures is another great option, as well as hosting an open house event and putting up an “FSBO” sign in front of your home.
Unfortunately, FSBO sellers are at the mercy of the real estate market, and if your home spent a considerable amount of time on the market, consider adjusting your asking price. Some would suggest making home improvements, but those can be a terrible return on investment, so we’d advise against any major investments unless they’re much-needed repairs.
Negotiate an Offer
\A buyer may propose an offer that’s significantly lower than your asking price, so you might need to negotiate the offer. A potential buyer may also request that you cover closing costs or complete specific repairs. If you’re negotiating with buyers on your own, be careful not to be too rigid, as this may turn off potential purchasers.
Close the FSBO Sale
Once the sale price is negotiated and agreed upon, a written sales contract will be drawn up and signed by both parties. The contact must specify all the terms and requirements as listed above, as well as the location and time of closing. The legal procedure is led by a closing agent, and you must follow the process and provide the necessary paperwork.
This process can be considerably more stressful if the buyer is financing the purchase via a mortgage. If by any chance, the buyer’s financing doesn’t come through, the purchase will be canceled, and you’d be back to square one.
Selling a home by the owner is a good way to maximize your earnings and have complete control over the sales process. However, it’s a time-consuming process that can become financially draining over time. An alternative would be searching for “buy my house in San Antonio,” or any other locations for that matter, or selling your home to real estate investment companies, such as Sell My House Fast San Antonio, TX.