A home that’s listed for sale by owner (or FSBO) is a way for sellers to circumvent the costs of hiring an agent. This can save them tens of thousands of dollars if they have the time to sell on their own. For buyers looking for a home, FSBO homes sell for 33% less than average, creating a pretty enticing opportunity.
Here’s everything you need to know about finding FSBO listings on Zillow
What Does FSBO Mean for Buyers?
For sellers, listing a home as for sale by owner offers the chance to go around paying for an agent to sell a home, saving thousands of dollars. For buyers, it could mean a lot of different things, from buying a home that needs a fair amount of repairs before it’s habitable to getting a property that’s saddled with tax liens.
Buyers need to do their due diligence before settling on a home that’s listed FSBO. Compare the asking price should to other similar properties to see how fair it is. Have it inspected by a professional to look for any major structural or repair issues.
Buyers have to arrange to make an offer and negotiate a contract after they’ve determined the state of the property. If it was listed by an agent who was then fired by the seller who decided to sell on their own, it’s important to find out the details. If it’s been on the market for a while, buyers should carefully scrutinize the property because it’s common for sellers to ask for an unrealistic price on a property, leaving agents unable to move it.
Consider an Agent
Just because the seller has decided to forego an agent to represent them in this transaction doesn’t mean that you have to as a buyer. In fact, savvy agents comb through FSBO listings when searching for a home to match what a buyer is looking for.
In most cases, the selling agent is responsible for covering the costs of both the buyer’s and seller’s agent. They’ve cut their costs by going FSBO but can’t control what their buyers choose to do. Before an agent will work with you, they’ll talk to the seller and ask for commission to be paid.
If sellers don’t want to cooperate with an agent, they might save money but the number of people willing to buy from them might shrink.
What About Finding a FSBO Without an Agent?
If you find a FSBO on your own, your agent might not get a commission. It all depends on what your contract says. An agent helps to arrange, negotiate, and close deals for buyers.
An experienced local agent knows more than just the laws and regulations around buying a home. They know which neighborhoods are growing, which aren’t, where the best schools are, and which types of properties are going to offer the highest return.
While you can work on your own without an agent, you won’t get the kind of service that an agent can offer. They know all of the moving parts and will ensure the purchase goes off without a hitch.
What About Financing?
So you’ve found your dream home and it’s listed as a FSBO. It’s an exciting moment but do you qualify to pay for it? You should get a pre-approval to show that you’re ready to make this purchase. If the home has other people bidding on it, this shows the seller you’re prepared and qualified as a buyer, assuring them that your money is good.
You can get a pre-qualifying letter from your financial institution, but that might not be as powerful as a pre-approval. Pre-qualifying requires most of the same information as a pre-approval except that to pre-qualify, you’re allowed to self-report that information. Overeager buyers who don’t have a solid handle on their finances might be apt to report that their earnings are higher than they really are.
Going through the pre-approval process takes more time but once your lender has processed all of your financial information and seen that it’s legit, they’ll give you a more solid approval.
What Other Professional Services Are Required?
There are no professional services that are required to purchase a FSBO listing but there are some that are highly advised. With the help of a lawyer, you can prepare for any issues or deal with contingencies in advance. If you hire a home inspector, you’ll be able to ensure that you don’t overpay for a home that’s riddled with issues that aren’t visible to the untrained eye.
It’s important to have a contract before buying a FSBO listing on Zillow. Having all of the major contingencies like foundation, structural, or tax-related issues planned for is important. Even if you hire an inspector, issues with the home might not be found until after the closing.
Hiring an inspector is often required by lenders, as they don’t want to offer $300,000 on a home that’s worth far less than that. If the buyer is saddled with debt from repairs, they might default on the home, leaving lenders with an asset that’s worth a fraction of what they paid. Hiring an inspector helps you to avoid surprises and ensures that there’s transparency in the transaction.
You Don’t Have to Comb Through FSBO Listings On Zillow Alone
If you’re interested in buying a FSBO listing, your best bet is to hire an experienced local agent who can ensure that you get a good deal. With a Clever Partner Agent in your corner, you get access to someone who knows the local market and might even know things about a property not in the listing.
On top of that, working with one of our Partner Agents qualifies you for a $1,000 rebate on a home over $150,000 or 1% on a home more than $500,000, in qualifying states..
Contact Clever to be paired with an experienced agent who knows how to find all of the red flags in FSBO listings and get you into the home of your dreams for less.