How to Sell a House By Owner


  1. Introduction
  2. Preparing Your Home for Sale
  3. Setting the Right Price
  4. Marketing Your Home
  5. Handling Inquiries and Showings
  6. Negotiating Offers
  7. Closing the Sale
  8. FAQs


Selling a house by owner (FSBO – For Sale By Owner) can save you money on real estate agent commissions but requires more effort and knowledge. This guide provides a step-by-step approach to help you successfully sell your home on your own.

Preparing Your Home for Sale

Declutter and Depersonalize

  • Remove Personal Items: Take down family photos, personal collections, and any memorabilia. This helps potential buyers envision themselves in the space.
  • Organize and Declutter: Clear out excess items from all rooms. Consider renting a storage unit to store non-essential items and make your home look more spacious.

Make Necessary Repairs

  • Fix Issues: Address minor repairs such as leaky faucets, broken tiles, and cracked windows. Ensuring everything is in working order makes your home more attractive to buyers.
  • Update Fixtures: Replace outdated light fixtures, cabinet handles, and faucets to give your home a modern touch.

Enhance Curb Appeal

  • Landscaping: Mow the lawn, trim bushes, and plant flowers. A well-maintained exterior creates a positive first impression.
  • Exterior Cleaning: Power wash the siding, clean windows, and ensure the driveway and walkways are clear of debris.

Stage Your Home

  • Neutral Decor: Use neutral colors and decor to appeal to a broad range of buyers.
  • Furniture Placement: Arrange furniture to highlight your home’s best features and create a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Add Finishing Touches: Fresh flowers, new towels, and strategically placed decor can make your home feel inviting.

Setting the Right Price

Research the Market

  • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): Look at recent sales of similar homes in your area to determine a competitive price range.
  • Market Trends: Consider current market conditions, such as the number of homes for sale and the average time properties spend on the market.

Get a Professional Appraisal

  • Appraisal: Hiring a professional appraiser can provide an unbiased estimate of your home’s value, giving you confidence in your pricing strategy.

Set Your Price

  • Competitive Pricing: Set a price that is competitive yet realistic. Overpricing can lead to your home sitting on the market, while underpricing can result in lost value.

Marketing Your Home

Professional Photography

  • High-Quality Photos: Invest in professional photography to showcase your home’s best features. High-quality images can attract more potential buyers online.

Create an Engaging Listing

  • Compelling Description: Write a detailed and engaging description of your home, highlighting unique features and recent upgrades.
  • Essential Details: Include important information such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any special amenities.

Utilize Online Platforms

  • Real Estate Websites: List your home on popular real estate websites like Zillow,, and
  • Virtual Tours: Offer virtual tours to give potential buyers an immersive experience of your home.

Leverage Social Media

  • Social Media Marketing: Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach a broader audience. Share your listing and updates regularly to keep interest high.
  • Engage with Followers: Respond to comments and messages promptly to engage with potential buyers.

Handling Inquiries and Showings

Respond Promptly

  • Timely Responses: Respond to inquiries from potential buyers as quickly as possible. Prompt communication can make a positive impression and keep buyers interested.

Prepare for Showings

  • Clean and Tidy: Ensure your home is spotless before each showing. Remove personal items and clutter to make the space look larger.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Be flexible with showing times to accommodate potential buyers’ schedules.

Conduct Open Houses

  • Advertise Open Houses: Promote your open house through online listings, social media, and local advertisements.
  • Create a Welcoming Atmosphere: Light scented candles or bake cookies to create a pleasant environment for visitors.

Negotiating Offers

Evaluate Offers

  • Compare Offers: Consider all aspects of each offer, including the price, contingencies, and the buyer’s financing.
  • Pros and Cons: Weigh the pros and cons of each offer to determine which is the best fit for your needs.


  • Negotiate Terms: Don’t be afraid to make counteroffers if the initial offers don’t meet your expectations. Work with the buyer to find a mutually agreeable solution.

Accept an Offer

  • Formal Acceptance: Once you agree on the terms, formally accept the offer and notify the buyer.

Closing the Sale

Hire a Real Estate Attorney

  • Legal Assistance: Consider hiring a real estate attorney to help with the legal aspects of the sale, including reviewing contracts and ensuring all paperwork is in order.

Prepare for Closing

  • Final Repairs: Complete any agreed-upon repairs before the closing date.
  • Gather Documents: Collect all necessary documents, including the deed, title, and any warranties for appliances or systems.

Complete the Paperwork

  • Sign Documents: Sign the final sale documents at the closing meeting.
  • Transfer Ownership: Hand over the keys and any relevant documents to the new owner.


How much does it cost to sell a house by owner?

Costs can vary but typically include repairs, staging, photography, marketing, and legal fees. You can save on real estate agent commissions, which are usually 5-6% of the sale price.

Do I need a real estate attorney to sell my house by owner?

While not required in all states, hiring a real estate attorney can help ensure all legal aspects are handled correctly and can provide peace of mind.

How can I make my FSBO listing stand out?

Invest in professional photography, write a compelling description, and leverage online platforms and social media for maximum exposure.

What are the risks of selling a house by owner?

The risks include mispricing the home, legal issues, limited marketing reach, and handling negotiations without professional assistance.

How long does it take to sell a house by owner?

The timeline can vary based on market conditions, pricing, and marketing efforts. On average, it can take a few weeks to several months.

By following these steps and staying organized, you can successfully sell your house by owner. While the process requires effort and attention to detail, it can save you money and give you more control over the sale. If you need additional guidance, consider consulting with real estate professionals like those at Dale McCarthy Real Estate for expert advice and support.

Scroll to Top