You have to have #1 to be successful selling your home for-sale-by-owner (with one exception) while #2 and #3 are very helpful when selling your home directly, for-sale-by-owner.
#1 – You Have The Time to Sell FSBO
Selling your home yourself without hiring a real estate agent takes a LOT more of your time than hiring a real estate agent to sell your home.
Be careful not to underestimate the amount of time it will take you. You’ll have to do all the marketing, negotiating and paperwork your real estate agent would do (or arrange for someone else to do them).
It’s a big enough task on its own but it’s made much worse because you’re already super busy getting the house ready to sell – repairs, staging, pre-packing, getting out of the house during showings, keeping the house immaculate. The added tasks of selling the house yourself can just be too much.
If you’re schedule is already super-charged with work and family, and you’re stressed to the max, trying to sell your house for-sale-by-owner is probably not a great idea. Selling your home using a real estate agent is already going to be stressful enough as it is.
[EXCEPTION: An especially good option for mega busy people is to try word-of-mouth marketing of their homes first before hiring a real estate agent. It takes the least amount of time and money of any method of selling a home but, honestly, it’s a bit of a long shot, it takes some luck. I discuss the details of word-of-mouth marketing of homes in the free video you get when you sign up for my email newsletter.]
Also take into account the extra time you’ll need to research and study the whole FSBO process, for example, reading articles like this one. It will take some time for you to get up to speed.
Realize, however, that people who successfully sell one home for-sale-by-owner have a very strong tendency to sell all of their future homes as FSBOs as well. So you’ll have to invest a ton of time the first time you sell a home for-sale-by-owner but it’s much easier the second time on so on.
#2 – You’ve Sold a Few Homes in the Past
True, you hired a real estate agent in the past when you sold your homes but, nevertheless, you learned a lot about the home selling process at the same time. You know the basics. It’s not totally new to you.
If this is the first home you’ve ever tried to sell a home, selling it for-sale-by-owner can certainly work, but it’s definitely an advantage to have some experience selling homes in the past even if you hired a real estate agent to help you do it.
So who has time and has also sold a few homes?
Yep, retired people. Retired folks and semi-retired folks tend to do well selling FSBO. That is, as long as they’re motivated to sell. If they’re of the “It’s fine if sells and it’s fine if it doesn’t sell” variety, that’s not a good sign they’ll be successful in selling FSBO.
#3 – You’re a DIY Person
These do-it-yourself people are amazing. If you aren’t one, you know one. They’re the people who are always planning or doing projects on the house. They’ll build a deck in the backyard even though they’ve never built one before. They’ll make matching curtains and comforter by hand for the baby’s room.
DIY people are unusually successful at selling their homes for-sale-by-owner because they’re used to taking on big projects they’ve never done before. They have a track record of completing projects. They actually enjoy the adventure along the way and, of course, they’re motivated by that feeling of accomplishment they get after they successfully complete a new project.
In addition, since they already have in their schedule enough time to do their big DIY projects – referring back to 1) above – they probably can find the time needed to successfully sell their homes for-sale-by-owner.
What traits have I left out? What other traits or family situations suggest someone would be a good candidate for, or shouldn’t even try, selling their home for-sale-by-owner?