For Sale By Owner: A look at selling your own home
bySep 18th 2008 11:00AM
There are definitely other sites out there which you can use to sell your home, and I'll cover a few of those after looking closer at these three. When evaluating these options for ambitious home owners I looked at the price, selling aids such as video tours and yard signs as well as the reputation and customer service of the companies. Be sure to check out WalletPop's look at what you need to know about selling your home from a Realtor's standpoint.
Let's take a look at three of the top sites for selling your own house.
FSBO won't be taking home the freebie award today but they do offer 6 different packages at several price levels. One of the really cool features you get with any package is that you can upload a video of your house to help potential buyers get a feel for the property without even leaving their chair. While you can start selling on FSBO for $69.95 the Silver package offers a yard sign for only $10 more making for a much better deal. All of the FSBO seller packages include 9 months of listings and numerous other options including brochures and virtual tours. FSBO.com lets the seller provide their name and phone number to interested buyers via the website for easy communication.
I spent a while trying to find dirt on FSBO.com to make sure I offered my friend the best information on the site. I couldn't find many reviews of the service other than the testimonials on the FSBO.com web page and the president's blog which disappointed me. At the same time I took it as a reaffirmation of the site's pledge to customer service. I wasn't able to find any results for FSBO.com tied to sucks, ripoff or scam other than users warning sellers to watch out for out of country scam artists, which plague any website dealing with consumer to consumer transactions. Normally a lack of complaints wouldn't get much credit from me but when you sell houses, you must be doing alright to avoid a slew of complaints.
Owners.com provides one thing that its competitors in the pay market do not which is a free listing option. This free option looks like a great deal compared to the flat fee MLS listings they price it next to on their website but it does have its limitations. Still it provides more access to buyers and a brochure which you can print on your own which should save you at least a half hour in Publisher. I was disappointed to find out that Owners.com hides the prices of its add-ons behind the first page of the selling process waiting until you already feel invested to let you know you can add a yard sign, virtual tours and more for prices ranging from $19.95 to $94.95. Even though the prices at Owners.com are in line with what the other services list the way they present them to sellers turned me off.
Just like FSBO.com I had trouble finding details about negative experiences that either buyers or sellers had with Owners.com which is a good sign. I took a chance to look for a home in my town and found the site to be very buyer friendly even providing me with the seller's name and phone number so I could make contact on my own terms. Like its competitors Owners.com appears to do a good job for both buyers and sellers, even if the pricing for extras is hidden.
Not to be confused with its abbreviated brethren, ForSaleByOwner.com packs a punch especially in the packaging area. No free listing is offered but you can pick up a monthly package starting at $71.95 which includes a voice mail box, flyers to print and a workbook for selling your house. They also offer several higher priced packages, the majority of which include a yard sign and a real estate consultant as well as being listed until your house sells.
When I searched for user experiences I did find two stories which made me shy away from the ForSaleByOwner.com site. These complaints should be noted but taken at face value since one user had been blackballed by her local agents, something any owner could face and the other is a second hand account on a Realtors site. Still the high prices and these complaints would lead me to choose one of the other services whose reputations appear to be less tarnished.
If you are going to sell your home without a real estate agent there are many other sites which will let you list your home but two standout as worthwhile to me as both a buy and a seller. The first site you can try out for listing your home is Craigslist which provides free online classifieds, just be sure to include all pertinent information and many pictures.
My favorite free site is Zillow.com which provides a great experience for the buyer including mapping and a Zestimate, or estimate of your home's value. Let's face it in this market you will likely want your buyer to see that you are already $20,000 below the appraised price. If like my friend, you have 2 properties you can list the property you'd most like to sell normally and then set up a "Make Me Move" price on your other house to let interested buyers know what your dream price is without actually listing your home.
There are numerous other methods of selling your own home from posting it at the supermarket to emailing your co-workers but these are some of the best options I could find and recommend to a good friend. If I were going to go the FSBO route on my own right now I would make use of Zillow.com as well as one of the FSBO.com packages because of the options they offer and the customer service vibe I get from their blogging president. I'd also be sure to get my home on the MLS. Even with the added cost the benefit of exposure is worth it. Before you hop into selling our own home you should check out what goes along with selling your own home by heading to your local library for a copy of House Selling for Dummies!