FSBO 101: Browsing For Sale by Owner Homes
A great part about life is that there is usually more than one way to get something done. And this is certainly true of finding real estate. Not all homeowners go through a REALTOR® when trying to sell their home. There is such a thing as For Sale by Owner properties (FSBO for short) and they can actually be a great way to find your next home. Many have found that the experience can be positive. The only challenging part can be trying to find these sorts of listing. Here’s how to utilize FSBOs to your advantage.
Narrow Down the Neighborhood
The first step in finding FSBOs is narrowing down the neighborhood you’d like to find property in. Look for and list desirable “maybes” in different areas and check to see if the home values are in your budget. Also include school ratings if you have children.
Ideally, talk to a friend who either lives in one of your target areas or knows someone who does. Do your research. See what you can dig up about the area, especially in regard to day-to-day life (i.e. if it is a noisy neighborhood, etc.).
Choosing a neighborhood is very important because you want to be happy and feel good about living there for what is likely to be a long period of time.
Finding a Property
Once you’ve got the location narrowed down, it’s time to start locating properties you’d like to buy. You can use online real estate sites to help you find a few that you like. Once you’ve found that one property you like, then you can either use a REALTOR® or go talk to the homeowner yourself. One of the best ways to finding FSBO properties is to go online. There are more than a few sites out there that specialize in such real estate listings. Many of these sites only list FSBO properties, making your search much easier.
Even though you can purchase directly from the seller using these sorts of internet sites, it is still wise to have a REALTOR® represent you so that you are guided through the entire transaction process, which is usually confusing. Having a REALTOR® on your side when purchasing FSBO properties also helps you with determining if the sale price is competitive or not while helping you navigate the whole inspection and appraisal process.
A Word of Caution
There are some drawbacks to FSBO properties. Sometimes there is no sense of urgency with the homeowners to move or their finances might hinder and make the entire transaction process longer than it should be. And one of the biggest drawbacks is you don’t know if you can trust the owner or not since they aren’t bound by any code of ethics as REALTOR® are.
The bottom line is there are some bargains and/or great niche properties that you might not find through traditional channels, but having a REALTOR® assist you will simply add an invaluable peace of mind.