A For Sale By Owner (FSBO) real estate exchange hypothetically stands to benefit both parties. Without the cost of a real estate agent serving as a middleman, there’s no need to budget for a commission. That leaves the potential for an amicable exchange where both parties get what they’re looking for without having to make any notable sacrifices. 

The problem—at least up until recently—came down to connecting with someone trying to sell their home. Without access to the tools, network, and resources that agents have, it can be hard to even find where FSBO homes might be listed. Fortunately, that’s starting to change. Here are the steps you can follow to make the process easier.

Understand the FSBO Market

For many well-off people, the commission paid to a realtor really is well worth the hassle of having to sell a home. As such, houses listed FSBO have a tendency to have lower valuations since a percentage-based commission will more dramatically cut into the profits.

FSBO scenarios can be a great way to get a deal on a condo, townhouse, or apartment. That’s not to say that you won’t find nice single-family homes FSBO, merely that it can especially benefit those looking for a deal.

Decide on a Neighborhood

Finding a good deal on a house For Sale By Owner is going to require a little bit of extra recon on your part. 

You won’t have a realtor to provide you with guidance, so you’ll want to narrow down the area you’re shopping within quickly. Get an understanding of housing prices and valuations in the neighborhood so that you can come to the negotiation table prepared with the facts. Just because you’re not dealing with a professional doesn’t mean that you can’t get hustled—and if you don’t have your own representative for assistance, you’ll need to come doubly prepared.

And Be Serious With Your Scouting

Nearly nine out of ten sellers enlist the services of an agent, but those that don’t often have trouble finding visibility. You might be surprised at how many homes for sale you can find by just cruising through a neighborhood, but at the very least it can be a worthwhile fact-finding mission. 

Word of mouth is the most effective way to close a deal quickly on an FSBO exchange, but you don’t have to just hope for good luck. Sites like Nextdoor and even Facebook neighborhood groups can help you connect with people in your area.

But Also Rely on Online Resources

Scouting out a neighborhood and checking out the area is necessary for getting a good deal, but chances are that you’ll find the most homes sold by an owner online. Multiple listing services were once the near-exclusive purview of real estate agents and realtors, but that’s beginning to change with the rise of more online platforms. 

Sites like HomeLister charge a single flat commission and don’t charge you anything unless you sell a home, so they serve as the most direct pathway to connecting buyers with sellers. While Trulia, Zillow, and other home-buying sites will often list homes as FSBO, you always need to be careful. Just because a home is listed as an FSBO doesn’t preclude the possibility that it’s actually being listed by an agent.

Buying from a private seller is a fantastic way to get a deal on a home, but you’ll need to come prepared. The most effective way to find houses For Sale By Owner is to make use of online listings, but you’ll get the best results if you’re as thorough and broad with your search as possible.