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6 Things You Need to Know About FSBO in Florida

6 Things You Need to Know About FSBO in Florida

Real-Ativity February 11, 2021 9 hours ago
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FSBO Florida

You have made the big decision to sell your home in Florida.  Even with a licensed, trusted realtor, selling your home is an undertaking.  Deciding to sell your Florida home without a realtor is even more challenging.  For sale by owner, often referred to as the acronym FSBO, place sole responsibility on the owner.  It is best practice to use a licensed realtor.  This takes a large portion of paperwork and liability off of the seller.  Often, owners have the misconception that they will save money by not paying a commission.  However, homes listed FSBO in Florida tend to close below market value on the sale price and take longer to sell.  If you are up for the hard work, savvy with documents, and are not concerned with how long it might take to sell your house, FSBO may be an option for you.  To set yourself up for success, before you stick the "For Sale By Owner" sign in your yard, know what you are getting into.  This article will lay out 6 points that are crucial to address before you list your home for sale by an owner in Florida.

1. Staging Your Home

The interior and exterior design process enacted to entice potential buyers is referred to as staging a home.  Owners must address the aesthetics, flow, and energy the home gives off.  The aim is to create an attractive, pleasing appeal for listing photographs and home tours.  You want the house to have a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Exterior, Landscaping, Curb Appeal

Staging your Florida home begins with the desirability of the outside, also known as curb appeal.  The potential buyer must have an exceptional first impression.  Have a walk around the house and examine the exterior looking for any eyesores.  Take notes on any areas that may need to be addressed, including the front entryway, sidewalks, landscaping, backyard, and any fencing.  Be sure also to check the roof, decks, and house numbers. They should be clean and clear.  Fix any shedding paint on the exterior.  Identify all repairs, cleaning, and replacements necessary, get them all taken care of before listing your home for sale.  To be as thorough as possible, do several walkabouts on the property, drive the block a few times, and enlist a second set of eyes to catch anything you might have missed.

Once all the cleaning, repairs, and replacements are done, look at outdoor furniture and decorations.  Create symmetry with placement and warmth with lighting.  Situate comfortable furniture in such a way that encourages visitors to take a seat and stay awhile.  Accentuate furniture pieces with containers filled with flowers and plants.  Install landscape lighting. This is not only terrific for ambiance but ensures security as well.  Quality solar lights are an alternative to complicated lighting that needs wiring.  Depending on your budget, for extra curb appeal, add iron gates, arbors, fence panels, art pieces, or bird baths for additional charm.  Ensure any shed or outdoor storage spaces are organized and decluttered inside, plus well cared for on the exterior.  Because of the year-round warm weather, for sale by owner Florida homes must accentuate outdoor living spaces.

Interior, De-Clutter, Clean, Re-arrange

Staging the interior of a home starts with cleaning and decluttering.  Walk around the house, take notes on any areas that need extra attention and any needed repairs. Deep clean the entire house, including light fixtures, appliances, baseboards, and the ceiling, make sure every inch of the house is spotless and shining.  Depending on your budget, you could consult a cleaning company.  Be sure to communicate precisely the kind of deep clean you need and what areas need extra attention.  Get rid of clutter.  Sort through all your belongings, throw out, donate, or give away anything you do not need.  Before starting the deep clean, make sure you have all the cleaning tools needed, work with what you already have.  Start from the top, looking for any cobwebs in corners, and then work your way down.  If you have pets, make sure to eliminate any evidence of them living there.

Interior Design

Once the house is spotless, have a look at the interior design flow.  Less is more.  Remove any surplus of furniture.  Rooms should feel spacious, open, and free-flowing.  Get rid of all clutter from shelves, countertops, and tables.  Depersonalize the space, take away photographs, certificates, and diplomas.  Opt for universal artwork, books, and pieces.  Pull furniture away from the walls in groupings of 3 that feel natural and inviting.  Ensure specialty features such as built-in shelves, wine storage, or breakfast nooks are unobstructed, conveniently open, and easy to access.  Put yourself in the shoes of the potential buyer.  Walkthrough the home, the flow needs to feel effortless, with no roadblocks.  Pop accent color or shine with pillows, plants, bowls of fruit, curtains, or art displays.  Many people are now working from home, so make sure there is an operational home office.  If an entire room isn't available, use a portion of a room, nook, or outdoor space.  Light the house up with additional lamps if needed.

2. Get Professional Photography

With more buyers turning to the internet to search for new homes, professional photography is required to grab potential buyers' attention.  Get clear on what you want and what your budget is.  Once the house is meticulously prepared, it is time to find a top-notch photographer.  Get a recommendation from a trusted family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker.  Ask around your network.  If you are using a realtor to buy a home, ask if their office has a list of preferred photography vendors.

Search For A Phenomenal Photographer

If you cannot get a recommendation, search online for real estate photographers near you, sort them by highest ratings and reviews.  If they have a website, confirm their ability to capture the architectural essence of the interior and exterior by their portfolio.  Look at pricing to make sure they offer what you'd like within your budgeted range.  Once you've done the research, contact the top 2 or 3 to set up interviews.  Request resumes and portfolios ahead of time.  Please make sure they are reputable, professional, skilled, and offer what you are looking for.  Ask them how long it will take to receive the photographs.  Get it all in writing.  In 2020 and into 2021, people are beginning their home buying searches online.  Consider using a photographer who includes things like digital flyers and virtual tours.

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Tell The Story of Your Home

Generally, it's best to have at least 20 to 30 photographs.  Ask what time of the day will be best for lighting.  Be sure to catch any detail you may have missed in the cleaning, decluttering, and staging.  Be sure the photographs have a watermark or signature from the photographer to help deter scam artists from stealing them online.  Have the photographer tell the story of your home visually.  List the photos in order of how you'd experience the home for the first time from stepping up to the front door.

3. Marketing, Advertise on Websites

The home is staged to perfection, and you have breathtaking photos.  So what's next?  Use the Home Valuation tool to determine a listing price.  After that, it is time to create a marketing strategy.  If the photographer could not provide you with a flyer, you will need to create one for digital and for print., you will need to create a digital and print flyer.  Include photographs, listing price, square feet, number of beds and baths, a detailed description, and your contact information.  If you have Microsoft suites, flyers can be made through Publisher.  Canva and similar websites feature many templates ready to use, just plug in your pictures and information.  Send it out to all of your email contacts, and post it on your social media accounts.  Make sure you let everyone know your house is for sale.  It is common for FSBO homes in Florida to be sold to a family member or friend.  Schedule an open house.  Find an esteemed well regarded local mortgage brokerage to help advertise.  Additionally, post your home on all the real estate websites such as For Sale By OwnerZillow, and Trulia.

Think about getting your home on your county's MLS, multiple listing service.  Only licensed realtors are allowed to enter a listing on the MLS.  Oftentimes realtors will do this for a flat fee amount of money.  It will then be listed but specified as a "for sale by owner".  The MLS is a sure-fire way to get your home listed in front of as many potential buyers as possible.

4. Brush Up on Negotiation Skills

Be prepared to negotiate before you start to receive offers.  You are solely responsible for the discourse once a buyer places a bid.  Negotiations will include the sale prices, terms, and any contingencies.  Both the seller and the buyer can request specific contingencies or things that need to happen for the sale to go through.  For instance, the buyer could ask that the home passes an inspection before the deal closes.  Get a clear, concise, realistic idea of what you want in the deal.  Know exactly what you are willing to be flexible on and what you are not.


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Read, Research, Review

Read Never Split The Difference, a book by former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss.  It is a great resource to assist in your negotiation skills.  He zones in on psychology and emotional intelligence to guide the conversation.  Successful negotiators leave their own emotions out of it.  They use techniques such as mirroring the opponent's nonverbal cues, labeling their emotions, and vigilantly listen, repeating back what they have said to be precise.  Another tactic is using subtle breaks in the conversation.  A successful negotiator manipulates their opponent's emotions using several of these methods, and sometimes by simply allowing their counterpart to dig their own hole.  Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation is a great resource as well.  Remember to be empathetic, cordial, and ideally come to a win-win conclusion where all parties are satisfied.

5. Get an Offer

If your home receives a lot of attention, set a deadline for all offers to be placed, encouraging a bidding war.  By said date, all buyers must have their final and best offer in.  Only set a date if you are confident there is plenty of interest in your home.  If you receive an offer for a finance deal, check the lender out.  Verify it's an actual pre-approval with desktop underwriting, not a pre-qualification, and that the loan officer has a good reputation.  Cash is king.  Cash offers are ideal as they have fewer contingencies, thus tend to close much quicker.  Any offer on your house must be in writing, generally, on page one of the contract, filled out, signed, and accompanied by an earnest money deposit, also known as an escrow deposit.  Get clear on any special clauses the buyer may have written above the signature line.  Do not sign anything until you are entirely sure you would like to accept the offer.  You can turn down offers as well.  You can counteroffer with the proper paperwork, requesting changes to the sales price, closing date, or any other negotiated alternations that need to be made on the contract.  This is added to the contract as an addendum.  It is best to have a real estate lawyer look over the paperwork.

 6. Understanding Contracts, Addendums, and Disclosures

Contract, Necessary Documents

Get familiar with the paperwork necessary to complete a home sale.  For FSBO sellers in Florida, the FAR/BAR "As-Is" contract is the ideal option.  You can make certain of this by checking that the bottom of each page says Florida Realtors (FAR) / Florida Bar (BAR) -AS-IS with the current year next to it.  Practice due diligence by combing through the contract, reading the entire thing.  Confirm the names are correct for both you and the buyer and verify that the price and closing date are accurate.  Make sure the dates and stipulations are clear on the financing contingency, inspection, and title and survey.  Everything should be overly communicated, down to any personal property included or excluded in the sale.  In addition to the signed and dated final page of the contract, each page should be initialed at the bottom by both you and the buyer.  In Florida, the seller is required to reveal any known defects on the property.  There is a Sellers Property Disclosure addendum that only the seller can fill out.  Another important addendum would be the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure, necessary if the house was built before 1978.  Have a look at all of the Florida Real Estate Forms to see if there are any other necessary pieces of paperwork.  Remember, it is always best to have an attorney look it all over.

Additional For Sale By Owner Florida Expenses

It is necessary to note a few lesser-known expenses when selling a home FSBO in Florida.  The seller is responsible for paying prorated property taxes for the amount of time the seller lived in the home this year.  In Florida, there is also a Documentary Stamp Tax that differs from county to county.

Capital Gain Taxes

There may be capital gains taxes, depending on how much the home has appreciated since ownership.  There are a few exceptions, like if you have resided in the property for at least 2 years.  There are opportunities for exceptions on a rental property through section 1031.  Also, a property depreciation tax break permits investors to deduct depreciation from an investment property from their taxable income.

FSBO Conclusion

Selling your home FSBO in Florida is a possible but intensive feat.  FSBO homes generally take longer to sell and sell significantly below market value.  After understanding the repercussions of not using a realtor to help sell your home, you decide to sell your home FSBO, be sure to check out these 6 tips and tricks.  The home must be immaculately staged.  Hire an experienced, accomplished photographer, then advertise on the internet.  Study up on negotiation techniques.  Receive an offer, then perform all due diligence on paperwork.  This article provides the road map to guide you through selling a home for sale by an owner in Florida.

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