How To Sell A House By Owner In Florida: Full Guide
When you bought your first home, you may have been surprised to learn that a chunk of the sale price would go towards commission for the buyer’s and seller’s agents. Generally, the seller pays the full commission, which can result in less money in their pockets at the end of the day. For this reason, some sellers choose to market and sell their homes on their own - without the help of a Realtor.
In 2021, for sale by owner (FSBO) homes accounted for about 10% of all home sales in the United States. Going this route can save you some money, but it will typically require significant work. More importantly, if you make a mistake along the way, it could cost you far more money than if you had worked with a Realtor. For this reason, you should only proceed with the FSBO route if you are certain that you can handle all of the work and details involved in a real estate transaction.
Based in Lithia, Eaton Realty works with buyers, sellers, renters, and landlords throughout Hillsborough County. We take our job seriously and work collaboratively with sellers to help them get top dollar for their homes. Our experienced real estate team can save you time and help you maximize the value of your home. If you’re considering putting your home on the market in West-Central Florida, give us a call today. There’s absolutely no obligation when you speak with our team.
What Are the Benefits of Selling Your House On Your Own?
The primary reason that people choose to sell their house without a realtor is usually to save money. Paying both the buyer’s and seller’s commissions can eat into your total profits. For example, ifeach agent gets 2.7% of the sale of a house that sells for $350,000, you’ll pay $18,900 in commission.
These numbers are often reason enough for a homeowner to want to sell their house on their own. You won’t be on the hook for the seller’s commission if you sell your house without a realtor. However, if the buyer has an agent, you will still be on the hook for their commission. In the example above, you would still pay $9,450 to the buyer’s agent.
Beyond saving money, there are other reasons that you might want to sell your home without a realtor. If you already have lined up a deal with a friend or relative, then it makes sense not to use a realtor. After all, you won’t need to list your house on the multiple listing service (MLS), stage open houses, or negotiate an agreement.
Finally, if you have a lot of time and expertise, you could handle the sale on your own. Selling a house requires a lot of leg work, from staging to taking photos to marketing to handling showings. If you have the time and knowledge, selling FSBO might be a good idea instead of using an agent.
How to Sell Your House Without a Realtor
If you decide to sell your house FSBO, then there are certain steps that you must take. Before you get started, you should first understand Florida law related to disclosure, paperwork, and mineral rights. Specifically, in Florida, you must disclose:
- Any facts that materially affect the value of the property which are not readily observable and are not known to the buyer, which may include the presence of sinkholes, whether there are any boundary disputes, if there are any actual or potential legal claims against the property, if the property contains any environmental hazards such as asbestos, lead, mold, or defective drywall, if there are any infestations or damage from fungi or termites, and/or whether there are any problems with structural and/or essential components of the house
- The presence of radon gas
- Whether the home has a pending code enforcement action
- The type, thickness, and R value of insulation for new homes
- For coastal properties, the potential for erosion, and that the property might be subject to regulations regarding construction, rigid coastal protection structures, beach nourishment, and the protection of marine turtles
- Information about homeowner’s association (HOA) membership, fees, and rules
- A summary of property taxes
You should also let prospective buyers know whether another party owns the mineral or water rights of the property.
Once you have your disclosures ready, you can begin selling your home. The first step involves getting your house ready to go on the market. Preparation should include making basic repairs, staging the rooms, and photographing your home.
Next, you will need to get an appraisal of your home so that you have an idea of the listing price. Once you set a price, you can start advertising your home. This may be as simple as putting a sign in your yard or advertising online. You can also purchase a flat fee MLS package, which is the only way to get your house listed on the MLS without a Realtor representing you.
At this point, you will hopefully receive some interest in your house and can start scheduling showings. Coordinating showings requires a fair amount of organization and will involve answering many calls, texts, and emails. You may also request a pre-approval letter from a potential buyer’s lender to ensure they are qualified to buy your house and aren’t just wasting your time.
At showings, be available for questions from the realtor and prospective buyers, but don’t hover. Your buyers will want some privacy to talk about the house. Being too close or following them around can be off-putting.
If you get an offer, you will need to review it closely and either accept it or negotiate a better deal. If you aren’t working with a realtor, it is probably a good idea to hire an attorney to ensure that you understand the terms of any agreement you sign. You will also need a title or escrow company to collect signatures and fees before and during closing.
There are a fair number of documents required to sell a house in Florida, including:
- A copy of the purchase agreement
- The closing statement
- A signed deed
- The affidavit of title
- The bill of sale
- A property tax agreement
Again, if you don’t have a realtor, you should probably work with a real estate lawyer to make sure that the documents are properly drafted and comply with Florida law. A mistake at this stage could cost you thousands of dollars, so getting your ducks in a row is important before you close on your house.
Selling your house yourself can save you money on a seller’s commission. However, you will still have to pay for several items to get your house on the market, including home repairs, an appraisal, professional photography, staging (if necessary), a MLS listing, online advertisements, and an attorney’s fee. If the buyer has an agent, you will be responsible for paying their commission. You should factor these costs in when deciding whether going FSBO is the right choice for you.
Is It a Good Idea to Sell Your House without a Realtor?
For most people, selling a home without a real estate agent isn’t a great plan. People who go the FSBO route tend to think they’ll have more money in their pocket in exchange for doing a little work. In reality, it’s a lot of work - and the house will likely sell for much less without the help of a realtor.
In 2021, FSBOs accounted for 10% of all home sales in the United States. On average, a FSBO home sold for $225,000 in 2021, compared to an average of $330,000 for agent-assisted home sales. While you may save some money in commissions, it might be a case of being penny-wise and pound-foolish if you sell your house for a lot less than you could have with a realtor.
Real estate agents do a lot of work to get a house on the market. Things like:
- Pricing a home competitively based on the appraisal, a comparative market analysis, and the features of your home.
- Connecting sellers with local professionals, such as home stagers, photographers, and contractors who can make home repairs.
- Listing your home on the MLS (without paying a flat fee for the listing).
- Finding potential buyers, which includes marketing your home, scheduling open houses, reaching out to clients, and following up with people who toured your home.
- Negotiating an agreement with the prospective buyers.
- Ensuring that the disclosures are properly made in accordance with Florida law.
- Taking care of the paperwork and other details necessary to complete the sale.
Selling a home takes a fair amount of time. Unless you aren’t working, selling a house on your own will drain your free time. Instead of your realtor scheduling showings when you’re at work, you’ll be trying to fit it all in on evenings and weekends (which also may not be ideal for all buyers).
Handling a home sale on your own also requires some level of knowledge and expertise. A home sale is a legal transaction subject to many laws and regulations. Making just one mistake on a disclosure could cost you tens of thousands of dollars - far more than what you may have saved by not using a seller’s agent.
Ultimately, if you want to sell your house for the most possible money and to get it done correctly, then your best option is to work with a realtor. They will use their experience to price your home appropriately, market it, and negotiate a fair sales contract. Any commission you pay will typically be worth the time, energy, and money you save by not handling the transaction yourself.
How Eaton Realty Can Help
The real estate market is complicated and can change rapidly. While it may be possible to save some money by listing your home yourself, it may cost you more in the long run. This is especially true when you sell your house for far less than you would have if you had used a real estate agent.
Eaton Realty has substantial experience in the greater Tampa Bay real estate market. We put our knowledge to work for our clients, helping them sell their houses for top dollar. To learn more about our real estate services, fill out our online contact form or call our office at 813-672-8022.