How to Sell a House by Owner in Florida

The property market in Florida continues to flourish for sellers. Houses in the state are selling quickly and for a handsome amount. 

With strong sales numbers, some homeowners in the state may be contemplating how to sell a house by owner in Florida, a route that can further elevate their profits by saving on agent commissions. 

If there is no listing agent in the picture, you can slash your commission expense by half. Plus, you will have more control over the sale process. However, this is usually a feasible process for experienced home sellers only as the method comes with its own sets of responsibilities such as setting the price, negotiating, and so on. 

For sale by owner (FSBO) method also has some risks involved. Industry reports say that FSBO properties usually sell for about 6% less than the ones listed with realtors. The entire sale process would be DIY for you, so if you have a demanding job or other obligations, you would be better off working with a broker. 

But if you have the time and energy to do all this, you have come to the right place. We outline the ins and outs of how to sell a house by owner in Florida. Let’s get started.

 Step 1: Make the necessary repairs

FSBO sellers in the Sunshine State may want to consider getting a home inspection before listing their house for sale. Here is a list of common issues identified from a survey of top inspectors which you can get ahead of:

  • Grading: Stormy afternoons are quite common in Florida during the summer months. Heavy downpours can result in foundation issues if your lot is not correctly graded away from the home.
  • Plumbing and electrical systems: Older properties might not be in compliance with the code for plumbing and electrical systems.
  • Stucco: Most Florida homes have finished stucco. While this is known for being highly durable if installed properly, inspectors frequently find buried weep screed which may result in water intrusion.

Address all these issues upfront. Add a fresh coat of paint if needed and declutter your home. This will give your buyers peace of mind when making an offer. Also, in the inspection, you have to mandatorily disclose all the defects and if you have addressed them or not.

Step 2: Price the home

In FSBO sales, pricing the home right is of utmost importance on the For sale by owner websites. Price it too low and you can undersell significantly or the listing may even turn stale. Price it too high and your house may sit on the market for longer than usual. 

To get a good estimate of what your house is worth, you may consider looking at comparable listings on the internet from other sellers in your area. 

You may also look at different online estimators to determine your house’s value. 

A pre-sale appraisal is also a good option for a more accurate starting point for your home’s pricing. An appraiser may charge around $250-500 in the state. 

Step 3: Hire a Professional Photographer

For $100-$300 per shoot, FSBO sellers must take into account the deep benefits of including professional photos in their listings. 

Homes that are professionally photographed can sell quicker and for more than houses listed without professional photos. 

There are a few other things that can enhance the appeal of your FSBO listing:

Video walk-through: A professionally created and edited video walk-through will help draw buyers who may not be available for an in-person showing.

Drone photography: Around 80% of agents leverage drone photography in their listings. Getting an aerial view of the property can help customers view the layout and location. 

Floor plan imaging: A 2D or 3D floor plan image enables buyers to view spatial relationships about how the house is connected. 

Studies show that nearly 50% of buyers find their dream houses through the internet. So, a strong visual presence is crucial. 

Step 4: Market your house to buyers

When it comes to marketing your property, the best way to go forward is to spread the word as much as possible. Leverage multiple channels to get the word out about your house. 

Listing on the multiple listing service (MLS) will give the maximum exposure to your property. Being an FSBO seller, you can either list your property on the Flat fee MLS or you may hire a listing service that will charge a portion of the home sale price for services that include MLS access. 

But be mindful that when listing on the MLS, you will have to outline the commission rate for the buyer’s agent upfront. All of this will inflate your seller closing costs

Step 5: Negotiate

We hope that your marketing efforts have been fruitful and you get more than one offer. However, not all offers are good offers. 

As an FSBO seller, you will have to negotiate the contract on your own. While price is a major factor, so are other elements such as who will cover the buyer’s closing costs, when will you move out, contingencies to be included, etc. 

Here are a few topics you may encounter while negotiating while selling a house:

Closing costs: There are seller closing costs and buyer closing costs at the time of settlement. But some of these expenses like transfer taxes, title fees, etc. can be negotiated in most cases. A buyer might request that you pay part of their closing costs. However, in a hot seller’s market, it is more likely the sellers pay either nothing or even ask the buyer to cover part of the seller closing costs. 

Contingencies: Buyers might ask that the offer be contingent on other factors like their ability to obtain a mortgage or sale of their existing home. They may even ask to include a home inspection contingency. 

Step 6: Close

This is the final step in the transaction. The property title is officially transferred to the buyer and both parties pay their closing costs. You can definitely check out your exact closing costs by using the closing costs calculator. Consider using a title company for a smooth closing.