The Pros and Cons of Selling a House as For Sale by Owner (FSBO)


Selling a house can be a daunting task, especially if you're doing it for the first time. While hiring a real estate agent is a popular option, many homeowners opt to sell their property as For Sale by Owner (FSBO). In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of FSBO, helping you determine if it's the right choice for you.

Pros of FSBO:

  1. Save on Commission Fees: One of the biggest advantages of FSBO is that you can save money on commission fees, which can be as much as 6% of the sale price. When you sell your house as FSBO, you keep the entire sale price, instead of splitting it with a real estate agent.
  2. Control Over the Sale Process: Another advantage of FSBO is that you have complete control over the sale process. You can set your own asking price, determine which offers to accept, and schedule showings at your convenience.
  3. Increased Flexibility: When you sell your house as FSBO, you have the freedom to negotiate with potential buyers directly. This can be helpful in finding a buyer who is willing to meet your needs and preferences.

Cons of FSBO:

  1. Lack of Expertise: Selling a house as FSBO can be challenging, especially if you lack knowledge of the real estate market and the selling process. A real estate agent has the expertise and experience to help guide you through the process, negotiate with buyers, and handle the paperwork.
  2. More Work: When you sell your house as FSBO, you'll have to do all the work yourself, including advertising the property, conducting showings, and negotiating with buyers. This can be time-consuming and stressful, especially if you're not familiar with the process.
  3. Limited Exposure: If you're selling your house as FSBO, you may not have access to the same marketing resources and exposure that a real estate agent can provide. This can make it harder for you to reach potential buyers, especially in a competitive real estate market.

What are the best strategies to take with an FSBO?

Here are some strategies to consider when selling a house as For Sale by Owner (FSBO):

  1. Research the Market: It's important to have a good understanding of the current real estate market, including comparable home prices and trends. This will help you determine an appropriate asking price for your property.
  2. Price it Right: Setting the right price is key to attracting potential buyers and getting the best return on your investment. Consider using online resources, such as Zillow's Zestimate, or hiring a professional appraiser to help you determine a fair market value.
  3. Prepare Your Home: Before putting your house on the market, make any necessary repairs and improvements, and give it a thorough cleaning. This will make it more appealing to potential buyers and help you fetch a higher price.
  4. Advertise Effectively: There are many ways to advertise your FSBO property, including online listings, local newspapers, and flyers. Be sure to take high-quality photos of your home and provide detailed information about its features and amenities.
  5. Be Available for Showings: Make your property available for showings during a convenient time that works for both you and potential buyers. This will help you generate more interest in your property and increase the chances of finding a buyer.
  6. Negotiate Fairly: When negotiating with potential buyers, be willing to listen to their concerns and consider their offers. Try to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that satisfies both parties.
  7. Hire a Lawyer: Consider hiring a real estate attorney to handle the legal aspects of the sale, such as preparing and reviewing the contract and transferring ownership.

By following these strategies, you can increase your chances of successfully selling your house as FSBO and achieving your desired outcome.

How do I do an FSBO in California?

Selling a property as For Sale by Owner (FSBO) in California requires several steps, including preparing the property for sale, advertising it effectively, and handling the legal and financial aspects of the transaction. Here is a general outline of the steps involved in an FSBO in California:

  1. Determine the Market Value: Get an idea of the current market value of your property by researching comparable home prices in your area or hiring a professional appraiser.
  2. Prepare the Home: Make any necessary repairs and improvements, and give it a thorough cleaning to make it more appealing to potential buyers.
  3. Advertise the Property: Advertise your property using online listings, local newspapers, flyers, and open houses. High-quality photos and detailed information about your home's features and amenities will help attract potential buyers.
  4. Handle Showings: Be available for showings and give potential buyers a chance to view the property.
  5. Negotiate with Buyers: Be open to negotiations with potential buyers and try to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
  6. Prepare the Contract: In California, it's recommended to have a real estate attorney prepare the purchase contract, which should include all the terms and conditions of the sale.
  7. Disclose Required Information: California law requires homeowners to disclose specific information about the property, such as any known defects or hazards. This information should be provided to potential buyers in writing.
  8. Complete the Sale: After both parties sign the contract, the buyer will provide a down payment, and the closing process will begin. A title company or escrow agent will handle the transfer of ownership, and the sale will be complete once all the necessary paperwork has been signed and the funds have been transferred.

It's important to note that FSBO is not without its challenges, and it's recommended to seek the advice of a real estate attorney for guidance and assistance throughout the process. By following these steps, you can successfully sell your property as FSBO in California.


What is For Sale by Owner (FSBO)?

  1. FSBO refers to the process of selling a property directly by the homeowner, without the involvement of a real estate agent.

What are the benefits of selling a house as FSBO?

  1. Some of the benefits of FSBO include saving on commission fees, having complete control over the sale process, and increased flexibility in negotiations with potential buyers.

Are there any drawbacks to selling a house as FSBO?

  1. Some of the drawbacks of FSBO include the lack of expertise, more work, and limited exposure to potential buyers.

Is FSBO a good option for everyone?

  1. FSBO may not be the best option for everyone. It depends on factors such as the homeowner's knowledge of the real estate market, their willingness to handle the sale process themselves, and their comfort level with negotiations and paperwork.

Can I still use a real estate agent when selling a house as FSBO?

  1. While FSBO means selling a property without a real estate agent, homeowners can still seek the services of an agent for specific tasks such as preparing legal documents, conducting market analysis, or providing advice on pricing and negotiations.

How much money can I save by selling a house as FSBO?

  1. The amount of money that a homeowner can save by selling their property as FSBO depends on several factors, including the sale price, the number of commission fees that would have been charged by an agent, and any expenses incurred during the sale process.


Selling a house as FSBO has its pros and cons, and it's important to weigh them carefully before making a decision. If you're comfortable handling the sale process on your own and are willing to invest time and effort, FSBO may be a good option for you. On the other hand, if you're unsure about the process or need help navigating the real estate market, it may be better to hire a real estate agent.

The Pros and Cons of Selling a House as For Sale by Owner (FSBO)
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