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7 Common Reasons Why FSBO Properties Fail And How To Avoid Them

Hanna Kielar February 23, 2024

Homeowners choose to sell their home for sale by owner (FSBO) for many different reasons. Some people feel they don’t need a real estate agent to sell their home, which is often true (especially during a hot seller’s market). But for others, it comes down to money. Agent commissions can significantly cut into profits when selling your home.

Cute front porch of a home with lots of planters.

Selling your home FSBO can be a great way to save money if done properly. Unfortunately, a lot of people make a few missteps and their home ends up sitting on the market for an extended period of time, causing their profits to drop.

Here are seven reasons why people fail when listing their home FSBO and how to avoid making these mistakes yourself.

1. Homeowners Don’t Know How To Prepare Their Home To Sell

Before selling a home there are quite a few things that need to be done to make sure you’ll receive top dollar. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Painting the interior of the home to make it neutral and inviting to potential buyers
  • Freshening up the curb appeal
  • Decluttering and removing personal items like family photos
  • Having your carpets professionally cleaned
  • Replacing outdated and worn fixtures

Unfortunately, some of these tasks can be overlooked when you don’t have experience selling a home. Not making these simple fixes can lead to potential buyers being uninterested. Make sure your home is inviting to others. It’s amazing what a new coat of paint and eye-catching landscape can do to a home.

2. Many Homeowners Don’t Know How To Qualify A Buyer

Unless you’ve bought and sold several homes, many FSBOs don’t understand the difference between being preapproved or prequalified for a home loan. Plus, many don’t require prospective buyers to be either preapproved or prequalified before starting the selling process. So why is this a bad move when selling your home? It can lead to a lot of wasted time and your house back on the market if your buyer isn’t able to qualify for a home loan.

Once you have an offer on your home, require the buyer to present you with either a prequalification or preapproval letter from their lender. This can give you reassurance that the closing process will go smoothly.

3. Listing Photos That Aren’t Appealing To Buyers

Good quality photos get potential buyers excited about a home. Unfortunately, a lot of FSBOs attempt to save money by taking the photos themselves. However, unless you’re a professional photographer or have significant experience with a camera, bringing someone in to capture the true beauty of your home is a must.

Hire someone who frequently shoots homes for listing agents. Many of them have a good eye for what buyers want to see and the best way to capture it.

4. Homeowners Aren’t Responsive To Buyers’ Questions

Real estate agents get paid to bring in potential buyers and answer any questions they may have. When selling on your own, you’re responsible for setting up showings and answering questions yourself. To be effective, responsiveness is a must.

If someone calls to set up a showing, make sure you’re responding the same day. This is also true for questions someone might have about your home. Even though life can get a little hectic sometimes, this can be the difference between someone purchasing your home or someone else’s.

5. Homeowners Don’t Know How To Handle Inspection Issues

Before a lender will move forward with closing on a home, they require a home inspection to be completed. They want to make sure the home doesn’t have any major issues. Unfortunately, home inspections almost always find something wrong. When that happens, typically either buyers want the problem fixed or they want to receive a credit at closing. Because many FSBOs believe their home is in great shape, they aren’t always willing to address the issues and the sale falls through.

6. Homeowners Don’t Understand Legal Issues And Contingencies

Maybe you’ve finished your basement or placed a gas line to your backyard firepit without pulling a permit. Maybe the buyer wants the purchase to be contingent on them selling their own home. There are a lot of rules and regulations around real estate and they’re usually different from one state to the next. It can be hard to know all the contingencies or legal issues that can pop up when selling a home. Because different issues can pop up during the closing process, it’s almost always worthwhile to hire a real estate lawyer to help with the process.

7. The Price Is Wrong

With online services like ones that offer home value estimates, it might seem fairly easy to price your home. However, these pricing estimates are based on algorithms that factor in things like size and neighborhood comparables. That said, they have no way to know what’s inside your home like a brand new kitchen or floors that need to be replaced. While these estimates can give you a good ballpark number, they aren’t accurate.

Instead, spend a few hundred dollars to have an appraiser give you a more accurate number. That little amount of money spent on an appraiser could end up adding thousands to your listing price.

Set Yourself Up For Success

While it’s easy to make some of these common FSBO missteps, it’s just as easy to avoid them. If you’re considering selling your own home, the Partner Package can help you by providing a personal Home Listing Coordinator, a listing on, professional photos and tools to help you price your house and more.

Get started today and sell your home with confidence!