For Sale By Owner: 7 Tips to Help You Sell

Many homeowners decide to sell their homes on their own. There’s nothing wrong with that – in fact, it can be a viable solution for many, but it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We’ve seen people try and succeed, and we have also seen people fail and learn expensive lessons in the process. If you’re the do-it-yourself type, there are some things you should definitely do no matter what. Here are a few tips from us here at to make your for sale by owner real estate experience a pleasant one.

We hope that these tips will let you learn from our experience and get your home sold and save you some money in the process. If you run out of time and need experienced agents in your corner – give us a call. You’ll be glad you did.

Before you begin, here are seven things you can do to make sure you have the best chance at getting the top dollar for your home.

Get a Valuation

The first thing you should do when you decide to sell your home on your own is to get a home appraisal. It might cost you a few hundred dollars up front, but it will help you get the most accurate picture of the market value of your home today. If you’ve got an appraisal in hand, you can make an informed decision when pricing your home and ensure that you’ll have the best experience

An alternative is to get a Comparative Market Analysis. We here at will do this for you free of charge, even if we know you intend to try to sell your home on your own. Call us today to learn more, or click HERE to get a free Instant Home Valuation.

Get Rid of Clutter

Not only is de-cluttering a great way to get rid of all that useless junk you’ve picked up over the years, but it’s also a great way to save money, too! The less that you have to pack, the less that you have to move. The less that you have to move, the less time you have to spend loading and unloading the truck to move to your new home. Whether you choose to hire a moving service or go the U-Haul route, time is money. You’re saving no matter what you do!

Consider having a yard sale to make some extra cash (to pay for that home appraisal, for example) or donate your clean and unused goods to a local charity in the Vero Beach area to help those less fortunate. You’ll feel good, save time, and can get some tax benefits at the end of the year too – it’s a win-win situation.

Unloading your junk drawer and emptying garage clutter will also help your home when it comes time to show. If a potential buyer can’t walk into your walk-in closets because you have clothes that went out of style around the time the Berlin Wall fell, it won’t feel like a walk-in closet. If they can’t visualize putting their two cars in your two-car garage, it’s going to discourage them. Clear countertops of unused kitchen appliances (we’re looking at you, fancy blender), and your new buyers will be able to appreciate all the space your kitchen counters have to offer.

Make Necessary Repairs

This one should be obvious, but many people skip this critical step in the interest of time and saving money. It’s better to make necessary repairs upfront than to be penny wise and pound foolish. This will ensure that you have a smoother closing process and prevent buyers from trying to renegotiate the price after learning about unforeseen repairs that may be due. Here are a few things we recommend that won’t cost you an arm and a leg:

  • Clean your carpets or tile grout
  • Replace cabinet hardware
  • Pressure wash the driveway, sidewalk, and exterior siding
  • Re-paint in neutral colors that won't be off-putting
  • Replace old light fixtures and broken switch panels
  • Replace soiled or broken curtains and blinds

Prepare Your Documents

When you sell your home, it isn’t as simple as selling some old stuff on Craigslist or LetGo. There are some documents that are must-haves. Here are a few you’ll need if you get your home under contract:

Seller’s Disclosure Statement – This is a form that informs your potential buyer of all the material facts about your home that could potentially affect its values. This form should be signed by both the buyer and seller when a successful purchase agreement has been made. You should assume the sale and have one prepared and signed. 

HOA/Condo Documents (when applicable) – In Florida, a buyer has a three-day right of rescission if the home or condo they are buying is subject to a condominium association or homeowner’s association. These three days allow the buyer to review the rules, regulations, and costs of joining the association. During this period, they can be released from the contract for any period, and you need to provide a copy of these documents upon signing a purchase agreement. 

Title Insurance Policy – You can save yourself some money in closing costs by providing your current title insurance policy to the closing agent

Get an Inspection

This one ties in to our third tip, but if you are unsure of any repairs that should be made, you should consider getting a home inspection. Having an inspection report in hand to show to a potential buyer will promote transparency and make the process easier for everyone involved. You’re showing that your home is an open book, and this can give a potential buyer peace of mind and confidence. A home inspection can also highlight repairs and upgrades you’ve done to the home that might not be obvious to the average buyer. Sometimes the inspector can act as a neutral third party and help your home stand above the rest.

Hire an Attorney (optional, but recommended)

When you hire a realtor to sell and list your home, you aren’t just paying for them to find a buyer. When you’re represented by an agent, you are backed by their team of experts. In Florida, the buyer usually chooses the title agent and pays for the title insurance policy. Having an agent in your corner will help to protect your interests as the seller and assist in a smooth and fast closing process. If you elect to go through the selling process yourself, you should hire an attorney to review and approve any contracts and take you through the closing process to prevent any long term ramifications and costly mistakes.

Price it Right

Now that you’ve done everything you should do to make your for sale by owner home listing a success, here comes the most critical part: pricing your home. When pricing your home, consider putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes. When, if ever, have you made a purchase without considering its price? A home is the most expensive purchase that most  people will ever make, and with that much pressure comes a great sense of caution and worry. Thanks to the Internet, buyers are more well-informed than ever. They have near limitless resources to compare and contrast your home with others on the market, and because of this, they are becoming less and less likely to have long negotiations.

Transparency and ease are key to a sale, but one thing still rings true: no matter how good your photos, listing, or inspection report are, none of that can overcome a home that is priced too high. Many by owner sellers make a mistake in pricing their home against other homes listed on the market without considering that these homes remain unsold. Chances are, the price is a factor. Use your appraisal or call us for your Comparative Market Analysis to get a better guide.

Last, but not least, don’t be shy in asking a bit more for your home in order to allow room for negotiation – but be reasonable. A few percentage points is acceptable, but go too high and you may go months or even years without a single showing. There is a direct correlation between your listing price and the length of time it takes to sell a home. It should come as no surprise that homes that are priced below market compared to those in similar condition sell the fastest, so it stands to reason that those homes that are on the opposite end of the spectrum may take longer to sell or never sell at all. A good rule of thumb is that a fair market price is the price it takes a home to sell in 45 days or less.

If your listing is getting stale and lingering, call us at and let us show you how we can save you time and put more money in your pockets where it belongs!

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