For Sale by Owner: What to Expect

For Sale by Owner What to Expect

When driving through a potential neighborhood or perusing online listings looking for homes, you might have seen a property that meets your criteria only to be put off by the words “For Sale by Owner.” In the past, you may have skipped over the listing in favor of another listing that is listed by a realtor.  However, if you are trying to buy in a place like Phoenix, you may not want to be so quick to pass up an appealing home just because the seller does not have an agent.  Here is some idea of what to expect during your “For Sale by Owner” transaction.

The Sale Price May be Wrong and It Will Probably be Too High

Someone who has opted to sell their home “For Sale by Owner,” or FSBO, without using an agent is probably doing so to avoid paying the standard commission for real estate services.  On the surface, choosing to do the work to sell your house yourself and potentially save thousands of dollars may seem like a prudent choice.  However, unless this individual is a realtor or real estate attorney, it is unlikely that he or she will have a complete grasp of everything that goes into marketing and completing the sale of a home.

One of the most pivotal decisions in selling the home is the listing price. If a property is priced too high, it will scare off buyers. An experienced Arizona, real estate agent, will set the price based off of several factors including comparable properties in the area, the condition of the home, any improvements and necessary repairs, and the market conditions. You may view a property, immediately note that it needs expensive updating or a major repair, and recognize that the selling price is off by several thousands of dollars. Depending on how informed and reasonable the seller is, your agent may or may not be able to negotiate with them.  Additionally, you could come to an agreement on price, only to reach an impasse on another issue such as closing costs.

You Will Probably Need to be More Diligent in Checking the Property

In a perfect situation, the FSBO seller will have had their home inspected by a reputable company and provide you with a comprehensive report to prove the home’s overall condition. However, not every seller will provide this much information, nor are they required to under the law.  Sellers do have to complete a disclosure form and identify any known defects in the home or past major problems.  However, without the advice of a real estate agent, an FBSO seller may believe they have listed every important issue with the property when they have not.  If you are a buyer in this situation, it is likely advisable to pay for additional inspections to be sure of the property’s condition.

The Process May Take Longer and Have More Delays

Entering into a real estate transaction with an FSBO seller means entering into a complex process and reviewing and signing binding legal documents. For instance, the purchase contract will set out both party’s obligations and responsibilities and will have numerous provisions.  While you and your agent may have the benefit of a real estate attorney to prepare and review the legally-binding documents involved in the transaction, an  FSBO seller is probably not going to understand some of the language in these documents and may be reluctant to sign them.  The seller may also try to use materials that he or she prepared themselves that could be missing critical information or have significant errors. In either situation, it may take a long time to work out these issues and get all the necessary documents signed.

Purchasing a home from an FSBO seller is not impossible, but it can be complicated.  One of the best ways to help streamline the process and avoid issues is by working with the right attorney. Attorney Laura B. Bramnick is an experienced Arizona real estate attorney who has the expertise to protect your interests during your FSBO transaction. If you are seeking an exceptional, client-driven real estate lawyer in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sedona and throughout the State of Arizona, contact Laura B. Bramnick to schedule your consultation.



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