What Does “For Sale by Owner” Really Mean?

The process of selling a home can be exhilarating but also exhausting, here is a quick look into both sides of the selling coin

For Sale by Owner – it can be one of the most intriguing concepts in real estate. It seems simple enough, right? A potential buyer searches for a new home, schedules a showing, makes an offer, negotiations take place, a deal is struck and no one is paid a six percent commission on the sale.

For Sale by Owner, or FSBO as it is referred to in the business, can also be an incredibly daunting and emotional task for some sellers. Putting your family home on the market, the endless battle of scheduling showings, staging, and going through the mountains of paperwork is enough to scare away sellers from ever uttering the four little words that could bring countless hours of strain.

As real estate values continue to shift, some sellers look at closing costs and commissions and think, “Why can’t I sell it myself?” With all that in mind, ESTATENVY decided to gain some perspective from both sides of the fence about FSBO homes.

FSBO Seller Insight

Why did you decide not to use a realtor to sell your home?

Seller: My wife and I did not want to pay the commission fees associated with hiring a realtor.

What methods did you use to advertise the sale of your home?

Seller: My wife and I have sold three homes in the past and we’ve used multiple methods for advertising, including online services, signage, newspaper, and word of mouth.

Did you seek counsel from a realtor on any selling processes or procedures?

Seller: Yes, we conducted in person and phone interviews with realtors that were willing to discuss the process with us.

Was the approval/lending process difficult to navigate once you found a home buyer?

Seller: No, we worked with an attorney that handled all of the legal processes surrounding the purchase of the home.

What were some of the benefits of choosing to sell your home without a realtor?

Seller: We were able to keep more of the money from the sale for our family.

Would you recommend others to choose the “For Sale by Owner” route if they are selling their home?

Seller: Yes, we would recommend looking into the For Sale by Owner process.

Relator Insight

What are some of the top benefits of using a realtor for selling their residence?

Relator: We have micro market knowledge that is not publicly available, as well as market sales history. We are also a neutral party negotiator; most people underestimate how emotionally taxing it can be to sell their family home, not to mention the time it takes to schedule to show and stage the home properly.

What are sellers losing out on by choosing to sell themselves?

Relator: Market exposure for the sellers and a keen understanding of how and where to properly market the home that is for sale. Realtor expertise with buyers and ensuring interested buyers are able to financially qualify and close within the agreed upon time frame. Most of all, being a neutral party to negotiate on the seller’s behalf.

Why would someone choose not to use a realtor to sell their home?

Relator: This could happen if someone is selling their home to a family friend or a relative. If this is the case we would recommend using an appraiser to determine the price for the home.

Are you ever solicited by potential sellers that are seeking home seller advice?

Relator: All the time. Homeowners are always curious about the market, how they should stage the home, what kind of landscaping could bring a better profit when selling, how to price the home appropriately.

Are their legal obligations traditionally missed by sellers?

Relator: Title updates, contractual dates, contingencies and disclosures are some of the main obligations that can be missed.

Top things sellers would need to know before deciding to sell the residence themselves?


  • Clean, declutter and stage the home
  • Hire a professional photographer
  • Have the home inspected prior to listing
  • Make sure there are no standing issues with the title or pending assessments

What are some common misconceptions about the realtor/seller relationship?

Relator: Sellers/buyers are not aware of all the behind the scenes work we do. Rapid market changes, legal obligations to disclose property information, buyer qualification process, the list is extensive.

Are there any situations you would recommend someone to choose the “for sale by owner” route if they are selling their home?

Relator: If the transaction is between family members and/or friends, but make sure you have a way to protect all parties involved.