Options to consider when selling your home through an online FSBO service

If you are using an online FSBO service to sell your home there are many options to considerMy last post emphasized the importance of not forgetting to get an appraisal when selling your home through an online service. You may be in a money saving mode since your are choosing to go this route but you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot and sabotage your efforts by not pricing your home correctly. There are many online For Sale By Owner (FSBO) services available, on both the nationwide and local level. I thought I would review here what I found to be the most common features that these companies offer, so lets dive right on in.

Price- I found that most services have a tiered pricing scheme that ranged in price from free to over six hundred dollars. The free option is a do-it-yourself no frills online listing. The most expensive package offers numerous extras that I will cover below combined with an MLS listing, which has become a popular options these days. You can pick your price based on how many extras as well as how much exposure you want. Obviously the more exposure the better.

Listing Options- As I noted above there are various pricing options available depending on how much you want to spend and what level of service you want. Each subsequent level of service builds on the options offered from the previous level. The lowest level of service involves a basic listing with photos or video that you upload yourself. Listing duration varies but usually goes from 6-12 months and there is no exposure of your listing to the larger real estate websites or the Multiple Listing Service. Your listing is only shown on the online site that you have signed up with.

The next listing option gives you what the basic package offers as well as a certain number of signs and flyers. In addition to that, your listing duration is usually extended. Moving to the next level will expose your listing to larger online real estate sites like Zillow, Yahoo! Real Estate, Trulia, and Realtor.com. The Realtor.com option will not include your local MLS but instead will be on their national website where local agents and homebuyers can view it. The most expensive listing option will typically offer a listing at the local MLS level where the majority of local homes are listed for sale. Some FSBO companies offer more choices at different price points compared to others that may only have 3 options, but include more benefits with each level. It is up to you to decide who you feel comfortable with and what level of service you want and can afford.

Photographs- As I noted previously there are many FSBO services available with some providing service on a nationwide basis and others being more locally situated. One thing that some local companies offer more than the national ones is professional photography. They will come to your home and take the pictures so you will not have to. This can help provide a more polished look to your listing because they are more experienced in staging and photographing your home. As the saying goes “you only have one chance to make a good first impression”, and showing your home in the best light will go a long way in attracting more buyers. The other alternative, one which I see the most, is taking your own pictures and uploading them to the listing site yourself. You can save money by doing this but you have to weigh the difference in cost savings with how well you want your listing to come across online. If you have a digital camera or phone with a camera, which most people do, you can spend a little extra time and make your pictures look very nice. There are numerous online free photo editing websites that can help you with this.

Length of Listing- As I noted previously the length of the listing depends on the level of service your choose as well as the cost. Typical terms are 6 and 12 months.

FSBO Extras- A variety of tools to help you sell your home are available and include the following: yard signs, directional signs, flyer boxes, sales contracts, “how to sell your home” books, and a list of recent sales (comps). Again, it will depend on what company you choose and what level of service you go with, as to which extras you have the choice of including. Most of these features can be added on to a less expensive basic listing so that you get more exposure to sell your home. Some services include these items but are priced higher.

In addition to the “extras” listed above some services offer statistics about visitors that will allow you to monitor the activity and performance of your website listing. If you want to protect your privacy a secure voicemail message center and an email forwarding service is one option. Your personal contact information is kept hidden from interested parties, allowing you to decide when to reveal your information to potential buyers.

Professional Consultation- Advice from home selling experts as well as legal professionals were part of several, but not all of the services offered. The home selling pros can help you by discussing strategies to a more effective listing while an attorney can talk to you about the contract and the closing process, including title insurance, termite bond and inspection, home inspection, homeowner’s insurance, loan payoff(s), loan package and loan approval, survey, earnest money and any other questions relating to the sales contract and what to expect between contract and closing. Just because it is a “for sale by owner” does not mean that everything has to be done by the owner. If you would like help from professionals you can get it with some services.

Pricing- So as you can see there are a lot of options to consider with an FSBO service, but the option you don’t want to forget is that of pricing. You don’t want to make the critical mistake of doing everything else right, but then price it incorrectly. A mere list of recent sales will not help you with an accurate asking price, it will only get you in the ball park. An appraisal will make sure that everything you have done is not in vain and it will help you land a contract on your home that reflects what the market is truly willing to pay for it. Leave me a comment below if you have any questions or we can connect via social media or phone.

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