How to Sell a House By Owner in Rhode Island

By 

Clever Real Estate

Updated 

September 21st, 2020

SHARE

Selling a house For Sale by Owner (FSBO) in Rhode Island can save you 2.59% to 5.66% in realtor commissions. But prepare for a lot of work, including filing the required paperwork and learning about your local market to make the most from your sale.

In Rhode Island, the average commission rate is 4.86% to 5.66%. If you sell a house worth $315,100 — the median home value in Rhode Island — that’s up to $17,835, which is a huge chunk of your potential profits.

Selling without a real estate agent, known as listing For Sale By Owner (FSBO), is a viable option for experienced home sellers who are willing to put in the time and effort.

However, selling FSBO has risks. Research shows that FSBO homes typically sell for about 6% less than those listed with agents. In addition, FSBO homes often take longer to sell, and are more likely to fall out of contract after accepting an offer — unless the homeowner is experienced and knowledgeable about the process.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know to successfully sell your house without a realtor: the ins and outs of Missouri realtor fees, paperwork, and tips to walk away with more from your sale.

What FSBO Sellers in Rhode Island Need to Know

Real estate laws, processes, and trends vary greatly across the country. Understanding the details of your market and getting accurate information can make a FSBO sale complicated.

We'll go into more details about what you need to do in Rhode Island, but here's an overview of the state's laws and regulations.

Rhode Island FSBO Overview

Real estate attorney required?Yes
Required state disclosures? (learn more)
  • Real Estate Sales Disclosure Form
  • Flood Zone Statement
  • Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
FSBO yard sign allowed?Yes
Competitive Buyer's Agent Commission (learn more)
2.25% to 2.65%

Additionally, you'll need to know and understand all of your responsibilities as a FSBO seller, which include:

  • Preparing your home by making necessary repairs, cleaning, and staging your home.
  • Accurately and competitively pricing your home.
  • Marketing your home by writing a listing description, taking high-quality photos, posting the listing on different sites (free and/or paid), and promoting your home on social media, in print ads, and via word of mouth.
  • Vetting buyers to ensure they're qualified, from a financial perspective. Accepting an offer from an unqualified buyer will cause your sale to fall through and in Rhode Island, 10% of mortgage applications are rejected.
  • Negotiating the final price, contingencies, repair concessions, and other aspects of the purchase agreement.
  • Properly filling out all necessary paperwork for a real estate transaction in Rhode Island.

Note: Rhode Island is one of several states that require sellers to hire a real estate attorney. While they will assist you with the paperwork and legal aspects of the transaction, they will not help you find a buyer or negotiate a great deal.

>> LEARN the steps of a FSBO sale

Clever gives you the savings of FSBO without the added stress!

If you're thinking about listing your home for sale by owner, you probably don't want to pay high real estate fees. We get it. That's why we started Clever.

Clever connects you with a top agent that will provide a full-service listing for a flat fee of $3,000, or 1% if your home is more than $350,000.

Listing with Clever gets you the benefits of a top agent and maximizes your sales price while saving you thousands in commission.

It's free to meet with an agent, and if you decide FSBO's a better fit, you can still use the professional price analysis the agent provides.

How to Price Your Home

Pricing strategy is often make-or-break for FSBO sellers. List your home for too little and you leave money on the table. Price it too high and the listing goes stale, forcing a price drop that could make buyers wary of the home.

To get an accurate idea of what your house is worth, look at comparable listings in your area.

For example, if you live in Providence and think your house is worth about $325,000, search Zillow for active listings that are about $50,000 more and less than that. Analyze details about the houses and how they compare to yours. Ask yourself:

  • Is the school district better or worse?
  • Does it have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • Has the house been renovated more recently than yours?
  • How do the neighborhoods and nearby amenities compare?

Answering these questions honestly will help you see if your price is in the right ballpark.

From there, be realistic about what pricing strategy will lead to higher offers. Here are some key pricing metrics that will help you decide the best listing price for your home and market:

State of the Rhode Island Real Estate Market

Median Home Value*$315,100
Median Listing Price$395,000
Listing Price per sqft$233
% of Homes with Price Reduction11.57%
Median Sale Price^$302,000
Pricing Advice for FSBO SellersProperty values are going down in your area. Be reasonable and list for less than other comps.

*Based on data from Zillow (May 2020)
Based on data from Realtor.com (May 2020)
^Based on data from Redfin (May 2020)

How to List Your Rhode Island Home for Sale by Owner

Once you've decided on a price, it's time to write a listing description that speaks to local buyers. Understanding their priorities will help you identify what features of your property to highlight in your listing and attract more interest.

Top Buyer Priorities in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Buyer PrioritiesAdvice for FSBO Sellers
1. Recent RenovationsBe specific about large updates you’ve made in the last 5 years, such as rewiring electric, putting in a new roof, or installing a new furnace. List exactly when the renovation was done, roughly how much it cost, and what its current condition is today. This will give buyers peace of mind that they won't have to worry about big issues any time soon
2. Listing PriceBe honest about your list price. Look at recent sales data in your area on Zillow or other real estate sites to find an accurate price point for homes of comparable size and condition to yours. Many real estate companies will also conduct an analysis for little to no charge.
3. Architectural Style of HomeIn your listing description, talk about any unique architectural features that could set your home apart. If your home was built by a known architect, has original flooring or doors, or has any historical value, be sure to mention it. Also, point out what takes your house to the next level. For example, older homes can be beautiful, but energy inefficient. Highlight upgrades you made like new windows that will save buyers hundreds in heating costs.

Based on a 2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents

When it comes to advertising and posting your listing, you have several options as a FSBO seller. Each choice has its own pros and cons as well as costs:

  • For Sale By Owner yard sign: You can buy a sign from most hardware stores or online for $20-$50. Be sure to choose one that allows you to add your phone numbers so interested buyers can contact you for property information and showings.
  • Craigslist: Posting your home on Craigslist is free and simple. Just go to the Rhode Island page, find your city, and create a "real estate — by owner" listing.
  • FSBO websites: There are multiple FSBO listing websites that allow you to post your home for free or a few hundred dollars. But each differs in how many photos you can include, how long the listing is live, and the changes you can make — do your research before choosing a for sale by owner site.
  • Flat-Fee MLS companies: Flat-fee MLS services will list your house on your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for significantly less than a realtor. However, they provide few additional services unless you opt for their most expensive packages, which often cost more than using a discount brokerage.

If you choose to use a flat-fee MLS company, you'll have to offer a buyer's agent commission. The MLS is how real estate agents find homes for their clients, and typically a buyer's agent commission is included to incentivize these realtors to show the house to their clients.

List with a top agent for just $3,000 or 1%.

Sell your home for top dollar and save on commission.

How Realtor Commissions Work In Rhode Island

Traditionally, both the buyer's agent and the listing agent are paid a commission by the homeowner. When sellers work with a realtor, they negotiate a commission as part of the listing agreement.

Based on the average commission rates in Rhode Island, this typically ranges from 2.59% to 2.99% of the sale price.

In a typical sale, the seller also agrees to a commission rate for the realtor who brings the buyer to the table, which runs between 2.25% to 2.65%.


Average Range in Rhode Island*Average Amount⁺
Listing Commission2.59% to 2.99%$6,479 to $7,479
Buyer Agent's Commission2.25% to 2.65%$5,671 to $6,671

*Based on the average commission rates from a 2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents
⁺Based on the median sale price in Rhode Island (Redfin Data Center, May 2020)

As a FSBO seller, you automatically avoid paying a listing commission. However, there is a solid argument for offering a buyer's agent commission.

A buyer’s agent's commission is an incentive for realtors to show your house to their clients. If you don't offer a commission that is competitive compared to similar homes in your area, then your home could be shown less. Agents may prioritize taking buyers to homes with a commission.

The best way to avoid paying any commission fees is to sell to an unrepresented buyer. However, know that nearly 87% of buyers work with a realtor. If you decide not to offer a buyer's agent commission, you may severely restrict your pool of buyers.

>> LEARN how real estate commissions work

How Commission Costs Break Down in Rhode Island


Selling FSBO to a Represented BuyerSelling FSBO to an Unrepresented BuyerListing with an AgentListing with a Discount Agent (learn more)
Sale Price*$283,880$283,880$302,000$302,000
Listing Commission⁺$0$0$8,516$3,000
Buyer Commission⁺ $6,955$0$7,399$7,399
Total Profit$276,925$283,880$286,085$291,601

*Based on the median sale price in Rhode Island (Redfin Data Center, May 2020) and that FSBO homes sell for 6% less (Collateral Analytics, 2017)
Based on the average commission rates in Rhode Island from a 2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents

Paperwork to Sell a House by Owner In Rhode Island

Once you find a buyer for your house, it's time to start the closing process. In a typical real estate transaction, your agent will make sure you fill out all the necessary documents and forms. As a FSBO seller, you'll have to navigate the paperwork by yourself.

This process varies by state — here’s a quick breakdown of Rhode Island’s requirements.

Required for All Rhode Island Real Estate Sales

2 Forms of IDIn most cases, a valid passport, driver's license, or other form of Rhode Island-issued ID.
Copy of Purchase Agreement and Any AddendumsCopy of the original, signed sales agreement as well as any agreed upon changes.
Closing StatementA detailed list of all the costs associated with the sale and who pays them. This is often prepared by your escrow agent or title company.
Signed DeedTo legally transfer your property, you'll need the deed that proves you're the rightful owner. At closing, you'll sign the deed over to the buyer.
Bill of SaleThis is basically a receipt that includes both your information and the buyer's. It will also list the final price of the home and what was included in the sale.
Affidavit of TitleA notarized document that states you own the home, that there are no liens on the property, that you are not simultaneously selling the home to someone else, etc.

Possible Additional Documents

Loan Payoff InformationIf you have a mortgage on your home, you'll need documentation of exactly how much you still owe and any payoff fees. If you've already paid your mortgage in full, you'll need documentation proving that.
HOA Forms and GuidelinesIf your home is part of an HOA, you'll need to give the buyer documentation on the HOA's Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions, financial history, required fees, approval process, etc.
Survey Results or Survey AffidavitsA survey (or an affidavit verifying a previous survey) proves exactly where the property lines are.
Home Inspection ResultsIf you had a pre-sale inspection, you'll want the results to compare to the buyer's inspection. If having a buyer inspection was part of the sales agreement, you should receive a copy of the results before closing.
Proof of Repairs or RenovationsDocumentation proving any major repairs or changes to the house help verify its value. These receipts also provide the buyer with information about who to contact if they discover issues with the repairs in the future.
Home Warranty InformationThe home warranty service agreement will explain what is covered, for how long, and any costs associated with the policy.
Copies of Relevant Wills, Trusts, or Power of Attorney LettersIf you are selling an inherited property, you'll need copies of all legal documents that passed ownership to you.
Relevant Affidavits (Name Affidavits, Non-Foreign Affidavit Under IRC 1445, etc.)You may need additional affidavits like a name affidavit (which lists all of your or the buyer's previous names) or an affidavit proving you are not a foreign citizen and therefore exempt from certain property sales taxes.
Closing Disclosure If your buyer is taking out a mortgage and you agreed to certain seller's concessions, you may need a copy of their closing disclosure to verify the lender approved your concessions.
Correction Statement and AgreementIn the event forms are lost or errors are discovered in the future, a correction statement and agreement requires you, the buyer, or their lender, to replace or fix those documents if need be.

Rhode Island Disclosure Forms

Real Estate Sales Disclosure FormThe seller disclosure statement details any known issues with your home and its major appliances and systems.
Flood Zone StatementWith some mortgages (like federally backed ones), your buyer's lender might require information of the property's flood risk.
Lead-Based Paint DisclosureFederal law requires that if your home was built before 1978, you disclose information about the dangers of lead-based paint to your buyer.

Many closing documents are legally binding agreements. Any errors can derail your sale and cost you thousands in fees or in costs to re-list your house.

To avoid an expensive mistake, consider hiring a real estate attorney. While this can cost $500-$5,000, an experienced lawyer can answer any questions you have along the way.

FSBO Pros and Cons

Before deciding to sell your home by owner, weigh all the pros and cons to make the right choice for your situation.

Pros

  • More control: As a FSBO seller, you can decide the price, listing timeframe, showing schedule, marketing strategy, negotiation tactics, and more.
  • No competition with other clients: Some agents take on more clients than they can handle, which could mean not getting the attention you need to meet your home-selling goals.
  • Lower commission: As a FSBO seller, you could sell your home without paying any commissions. Based on Rhode Island's average commission rates, that could leave 2.59% to 5.66% of your sale price in your pocket. Even if your buyer has an agent, you'll still avoid paying 2.59% to 2.99% in listing commissions.

Cons

  • No MLS access: Unless you pay for a flat-fee MLS service, your home won't be on the local MLS. Most agents use MLSes (not Zillow and Trulia) to find properties for their clients and most buyers work with a realtor. So if you're not on the MLS, fewer buyers will see your listing.
  • Risks of inaccurate pricing: Many FSBO sellers find it difficult to be objective when pricing their house and list for too much. If you make this mistake, you won't attract buyers and the listing will become stale. Eventually, you could be forced to accept a low offer or take your home off the market and relist with an agent.
  • Safety issues: As a FSBO seller, it will be your responsibility to show your home to prospective buyers. Not everyone is comfortable being alone with strangers in their homes since incidents such as theft or harassment can occur. Make sure to gauge your own comfort levels before deciding to sell FSBO.
  • More work and stress: Selling a home is a full-time job. Trying to cram all the steps and responsibilities into your schedule is a hassle many FSBO sellers aren't prepared for.

FSBO Alternatives to Consider

If saving money is your main reason for selling your home by owner, there are alternatives. Consider the following lower-cost options (listed from least expensive to most):

Flat-Fee MLS Services in Rhode Island

As mentioned before, a flat-fee MLS service will post your listing on the local MLS, usually for a low, upfront fee. In Rhode Island, this will typically cost you a couple hundred dollars.

Here are some Rhode Island flat-fee MLS companies to compare:

MLS Island Rhode Island

MLS Island

Price Range

$299

Number of Photos

Max allowed on MLS

Listing Term

6 months

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • MLS Island Rhode Island is part of the MLS Island network, a nationwide flat-fee MLS service
  • Phone support and advice 7 days a week
  • Pay no commission if you find a buyer
  • All state-required documents and forms included
  • Lists to the Rhode Island statewide MLS

$299

  • 6-month listing on MLS
  • Syndicated to Realtor.com, RILiving.com, Homes.com, and more
  • Unlimited photos
  • Downloadable contracts and forms
  • Professional advice and phone support
  • Free open house management

Pros

  • Covers all of Rhode Island
  • Buyers and agents contact you directly (who find your listing on statewidemls.com, Realtor.com, RILiving.com, Homes.com, etc.)

Cons

  • Limited options — only one listing package available
  • No built-in support or review with contracts, disclosures, counteroffers, etc.
  • Limited information available on the website (policy on listing changes and cancellations, how much — contact service directly for more details

As of August 17, 2020, no third-party review information was available for MLS Island. We will update when this information becomes available.

SHOW MORE

beycome

beycome

Price Range

$99-299

Number of Photos

36

Listing Term

Until sold

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Beycome is a real estate brokerage that offers flat-fee MLS listing services to for sale by owner (FSBO) sellers in Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Georgia, and Rhode Island.
  • Beycome’s lower-tier programs are also offered in California and South Carolina.
  • Listing will be syndicated on other sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Redfin, IDX, and more
  • Listing typically goes live within 36 hours
  • Unlimited changes, photos, and no expiration on listing term
  • Built-in comparative market analysis (CMA) tools
  • Offers a 90-day money-back guarantee
$99 - Flat Fee MLS 
  • Listing on your local MLS and other sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Redfin, IDX, Homes.com, and more
  • Unlimited photos
  • Receive legal offers online
  • Downloadable legal forms & documents
  • Real estate support from beycome team
  • Virtual tour & YouTube video
  • Printable promotional items
  • Home visit manager
  • Open house scheduler
  • Messaging center
  • Dual comparative marketing analysis (CMA) tools
  • Craigslist easy click & share Ad
  • Social media sharing

$199 - Flat Fee MLS Premium
  • Same as Flat Fee MLS package, plus:
  • Full listing featured on beycome.com
  • Customizable flyers and brochure
  • Maximum pictures allowed
  • 1 key lock box
  • 1 sign in yard
  • 1 open house signage package
$299 - Flat Fee MLS Max 
  • Same as Flat fee MLS Premium package, plus:
  • 24 professional HDR pictures
  • 1 photography session
  • Full ownership of the photos
  • Additional, a-la-carte services available with Max package:
  • Video walkthrough - $49
  • Drone pictures - $69


Pros

  • All inquiries and leads directly forwarded to you
  • Built-in home valuation tools
  • Unlimited listing term
  • 90-day money-back guarantee (unless you close, are under contract, or you receive at least 2 legitimate offers)
  • Live customer support

Cons

  • While beycome offers more built-in services than most flat-fee MLS companies, you’ll still get limited service and support with your listing
  • Free downloads for forms and documents, but no support or legal oversight
  • Flat Fee MLS Max package not offered in California or South Carolina

As of July 31, 2020, Beycome has an average rating of 4.4/5 based on 228 reviews across Zillow, Facebook, and Google.

SHOW MORE

Entry Only

Entry Only

Price Range

$399-999

Number of Photos

20

Listing Term

6 months

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Entry Only is a real estate brokerage licensed in CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, and VT that specializes in flat-fee MLS services
  • You set the buyers commission (1% minimum) and pay no commission if you find the buyer
  • Buyer and agent inquiries forwarded to you
  • Free cancelation anytime
  • Free, unlimited photo edits
  • A variety of a-la-carte services like additional photos, longer listing contracts, listing on a second MLS, custom yard sign, lockbox, custom domain name, and more 
$399 - Basic
  • 6-month listing on MLS
  • Syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and more
  • 20 Photos
  • 1,000 character description
  • Purchase forms and disclosures (downloadable)
  • Listing shared on social media
  • Property flyer
  • 24/7 receptionist to forward buyer and agent inquiries
  • Yard sign
  • Open house ads
$699 - Enhanced
  • Same as Basic package, plus:
  • Contract review

$999 - Premium
  • Same as Enhanced package, plus:
  • Negotiation assistance
  • Closing services







Available a-la-carte services include: more photos, longer listing contract, listing on a second MLS, custom yard sign, lockbox, custom domain name, and more

Pros

  • Work directly with a local broker, not a referral service
  • Free cancelation anytime
  • 24/7 receptionist
  • Double money back guarantee if you decide to sell with a realtor Entry Only refers you to (up to $999)

Cons

  • No built-in home valuation or CMA

As of August 5, 2020, Entry Only has an average rating of 4.9/5 based on 529 reviews across Trustpilot, Google, and Facebook.

SHOW MORE

>> LEARN about flat-fee MLS services in Rhode Island

Clever Real Estate

Clever is a nationwide real estate service that connects sellers with top, local agents. You pay Clever nothing and only pay your full-service agent $3,000 (or 1% on homes over $350,000) if and when your home sells.

Listing Fee

1% (minimum $3,000)

Buyer Rebate

Up to 1%

Avg. Customer Rating

4.8/5 (386 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Clever Real Estate is a nationwide, online concierge and agent matching service for sellers and buyers — learn more
  • Buyers and sellers are matched with multiple highly rated agents from major brands, such as Keller Williams, Century 21, Compass, RE/MAX, and more
  • Sellers choose a full-service agent and pay a flat, $3,000 fee — or just 1% for homes more than $350,000
  • Buyers may be eligible for up to 1% back at closing (in qualifying locations)

Clever has pre-negotiated lower commission rates with top agents in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico

Pros
  • Listing fee of $3,000 (or 1% on homes >$350K) for a full-service agent
  • Sellers only pay once their home is sold
  • Partner Agents are top, local realtors with at least 5 years experience
  • Agent matches are customized and based on your specific situation
  • Eligible buyers receive a home buyer rebate of up to 1%
Cons
  • Sellers may not be matched with an agent from their preferred brokerage
  • While homes are listed on the MLS, there's no independent Clever listing site.







As of May 20, 2020, Clever's average customer rating is 4.8/5 based on 386 reviews on Trustpilot.

SHOW MORE

>> LEARN more about Clever Real Estate

Discount Real Estate Services in Rhode Island

While pricing and services vary, discount real estate companies will help you sell your house for less than a traditional realtor. In most cases, you'll still need to offer a competitive buyer's agent commission, but you'll save on listing fees.

Redfin

Redfin

Listing Fee

1-1.5% (min. fees apply)

Buyer Rebate

Avg. $1,500 (where availabe)

Avg. Customer Rating

3.2/5 (243 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Redfin is an online listing portal and multi-state real estate brokerage operating in 80+ markets across the United States
  • Sellers get full service and support from a Redfin agent for a reduced listing fee (rates and minimums vary by location)
  • Redfin agents are salaried. Since they do not work on commission, there is no incentive to get sellers the highest sale price — learn more
  • RedfinNow — Redfin's iBuyer program — makes all-cash offers on qualifying homes in 10 markets for a 7% service fee (but no additional commission)
  • Buyers in select markets might be eligible for a home buyer rebate — learn more
AshevilleHouston*
Orlando
AlbanyIndianapolis
Palm Beach
AtlantaInland Empire*
Palm Springs
Austin*Jacksonville
Philadelphia
Birmingham^Kansas City^
Phoenix
BoiseKnoxville^
Pittsburgh
Boston
Lake Tahoe
Portland, OR^
BuffaloLas Vegas*Raleigh
CharlotteLittle Rock^Rhode Island
ChicagoLos Angeles*Richmond
CincinnatiLouisiana^Sacramento
Cleveland^Louisville^Salt Lake City
ColumbusMarylandSan Antonio*^
ConnecticutMemphis^San Diego*
Dallas*MiamiSan Francisco
DelawareMinneapolisSavannah
Denver*Nashville^Seattle
Des Moines^Nebraska^South Carolina
DetroitNew JerseySouth Texas^
El Paso^New MexicoSpokane
FlagstaffNew York CitySt. Louis^
Fort MyersNortheast VirginiaTampa
Grand RapidsNorthern New EnglandTucson^
Hampton RoadsOklahoma^Washington, D.C.
HawaiiOrange County, CA*Wisconsin^

*Also a RedfinNow location

^No home buyer rebate available

Pros
  • Sellers get full service and support for a discounted rate of 1.5%
  • Rate drops to 1% when you sell and buy with Redfin
  • Access to a variety of online tools and services, including virtual showings, paperwork, closing, and more
  • Commission rebate offered to eligible buyers in select markets
Cons
  • Only available in ~80 U.S. markets
  • Minimum listing fees can result in paying more than advertised 1-1.5% rate
  • Choice of agents is limited to Redfin's in-house team or local partners
  • Local partners don't necessarily adhere to Redfin's discount pricing model

As of May 20, 2020, Redfin's average customer rating is 3.2/5 based on 235 reviews across Yelp, Google, and Consumer Affairs.

*These reviews are for Redfin's Seattle, WA office. Reviews may vary by location.

SHOW MORE

>> LEARN about discount real estate services

iBuyers

iBuyers will buy qualifying homes for cash, meaning you avoid realtor fees — and the stress of listing on the open market entirely. While these companies make fair-market offers, they will deduct any required repairs after an on-site visit. They also charge a service fee typically ranging between 6-14%.

>> LEARN about iBuyers

5 Tips for Selling Your Home Without a Realtor in Rhode Island

Pulling off a FSBO sale successfully is a difficult feat to accomplish. Here are some helpful tips from Clever CEO and real estate investor Ben Mizes, who has experience listing homes without an agent.

1. Make Minor Repairs

Small upgrades and repairs can do a lot to sway potential buyers. The key is knowing how and where to spend your money to get higher offers. Simple DIY projects like a fresh coat of paint or new cabinet pulls have a high return on investment, whereas pricier improvements like adding a new bedroom may not.

Overall, the most important factor is knowing where the line is between necessary and over-the-top. You want your house to meet buyers' expectations.

"If your kitchen is a disaster, spending more money on a remodel to get it in solid condition will pay off in the end," said Mizes. "But spending money on high-end features to take it from good to extravagant will be a waste."

Also consider how valuable specific repairs are to buyers in your area. Focus on upgrades that have a higher cost recuperation in your region.

Home Repairs with Highest Resale Value in Rhode Island

Top UpgradesAvg. Repair CostAvg. Resale ValueCost Recouped
Garage Door Replacement$3,732$3,71599%
Manufactured Stone Veneer$9,629$8,45377%
Siding Replacement (Vinyl)$15,115$11,57577%

Based on regional data from Remodeling (May 2020)

2. Price Your Rhode Island Home Competitively

How you price your home can help you attract the right buyers, but it's tricky. Not only will you want to get a certain amount for your home, but the price must also reflect local market conditions. In many cases, what you want for your home vs what you can actually get for it are two different prices.

Don’t forget that the real estate market is dependent on many external factors beyond properties themselves. Things like economic outlook, job growth, unemployment rates, current events, and other factors contribute to the value of the local market, and home sellers should have a grasp on these things in order to price your home attractively and competitively.

Sellers should also keep in mind that trends may vary from town to town - while one area may face declining home prices, another may be in an economic boom. Be sure to do research on your local area trends before setting your final price.

3. Stage and Market Your Home

Before you officially list your home on the market, you should take some time to stage your home for buyers. Clearing out rooms and closets can make them feel bigger. Removing personalization helps the buyer envision themselves in the home. Adding pleasant touches like a bowl of lemons or fancy table decor can make your home feel grander.

Once you've created the right image, invest in professional home photography to highlight your home in the best possible light. Professional photographers can use lighting and angles to show off your home's best features and make the viewer want to see more.

Once you have the photos, you're ready to write a standout listing description that will help to sell the vision of your home. This description should do more than talk about the home's number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Rather, you'll want to paint a picture of what it's like to live there: do you have gorgeous waterfront views? Are your energy-efficient windows able to keep out the bitter Rhode Island winter? Does your new roof provide security and peace of mind?

Also, take advantage of online tools to market your home and increase interest. Sites like Zillow and Trulia can help you advertise, along with social media and local advertising options.

4. Prepare for Showings

Organization is key when showing your home to potential buyers. You'll need a good system for scheduling showings and saving buyers' and agents’ contact information. You'll want to be flexible and try to show your house at buyers’ convenience.

Keep the home clean and decluttered at all times. The last thing you want is to scramble around with a vacuum after a buyer calls for a last-minute showing.

Also, focus on creating a homey atmosphere for buyers. You want to make a great first impression on as many buyers as possible, so add little touches that speak to most people.

"Bake cookies or light scented candles before a showing," advises Mizes. "Smell plays a huge part in how buyers will perceive and remember your house. Use comforting scents to your advantage so they feel at home the moment they walk through the door."

5. Negotiate for the Best Possible Price

Negotiations are about deciding more than the final sale price. You and the buyer (or their agent) will also have to agree upon contract contingencies, how closing costs are divided, the timeline, and more.

To gain the upper hand, get creative with the seller concessions you offer a buyer. While they might cost you a little more at closing, concessions sweeten the deal for buyers and could lead to a higher final sale price.

The most popular concessions vary from market to market. Knowing what works with buyers in your area will help you strengthen your offer.

For example, a 2020 Clever survey of over 500 real estate professionals found that in Rhode Island, sellers often cover 1.55% to 2.50% of buyers' closing costs. On a home of median value, that equates to $4,825 to $7,782, but can help you close the deal sooner and for more money.

You should also consider offering these popular seller concessions:

Most Common Seller Concessions in Rhode Island

ConcessionBenefits of Offering Concession
Home WarrantyIf your home has major appliances or systems that are on their last leg, a home warranty can give buyers peace of mind. A warranty will cover possible issues and is typically less expensive than paying for the repairs (or accepting a lower offer from a wary buyer).
Repair CreditsIf your home needs repairs, a buyer may request that you fix the issues, or you can offer repair credits. Repair credits allow you to close the deal and avoid the hassle of handling renovations. Once they own the house, the buyer oversees the project and, since the concession is a set amount, you pay nothing else if the repairs go over budget.
Mortgage Discount PointsMortgage discount points are particularly enticing to buyers who plan to stay in the home for the long haul. While the cost varies from lender to lender, mortgage points lower a buyer's interest rate and can save them thousands over the years. If you offer to buy mortgage discount points, it can seal the deal for some buyers — or lead to higher final sale prices.

Conclusion: Is FSBO Right for You?

FSBO isn't a perfect fit for everyone. But now that you know what awaits, if you're feeling confident about all the steps and possible challenges, you might be ready to sell without a realtor.

Remember, to succeed at selling a house by owner you'll need to:

  • Make a plan: From getting photos of your property to lining up the correct paperwork, there’ll be a lot on your FSBO to-do list. Work out a schedule for when you need to accomplish everything so you can find a buyer and close in a timeframe that works for you.
  • Get ready to hustle: Attracting qualified buyers is hard work. You'll need a great listing description and a killer marketing strategy to generate interest. Also, prepare to spend a considerable amount of your time fielding calls from prospective buyers, handling showings, hosting open houses, and more.
  • Make smart investments: Even though your main goal as a FSBO seller is saving money, spending some money on small upgrades or repairs can lead to higher offers and a faster sale. Also, consider paying for a flat-fee MLS service to list your home on the local MLS to reach more buyers.
  • Seek some professional advice: You don't have to sign a listing contract to talk to a realtor. Professional agents understand that smart sellers weigh their options; they'll be willing to meet for a free consultation. After seeing your home and looking at comps, they might notice issues or advantages you overlooked. Once you've heard their advice, if you still want to sell by owner, you can do so confidently because you thoroughly explored all your choices.

If you'd like some professional guidance with no strings attached, Clever can help. Fill out your basic info below to connect with a top, local realtor for a no-obligation consultation.

Get a free professional pricing consultation!

Interview top local agents, get free advice, no obligation to sign.

Additional Resources for Rhode Island Home Sellers