For Sale By Owner



For Sale By Owner

FSBO, or if you are unfamiliar For Sale By Owner, is one option some home owners use in order to save money when selling their home. This can be a good option to save money, but it is important to not take short cuts throughout the process. I want to discuss a few strategies that have not worked for some of my clients in the past and why.

What to do and not do

1. Using the assessment value to price your home: The value the county assessor uses, and the value the appraiser uses can be very different. So do not use the assessor value as a basis for what value to list your property at.

Appraisers use three approaches to value a home: sales, cost and income. The county assessors’ approach is to look at a large number of sales and apply what they found similar to your property. Selecting a large number of properties does not guarantee similarities and often times the assessor’s records of your property are incorrect.

There is a reason that appraisers are required during most home loan transactions, and that is because their process is accurate. They come out to measure and inspect the property to be sure the correct size is listed, upgrades are included, damages are considered, and everyone knows the information about the property is correct and therefore it is compared to similar properties to determine the value.

2.Valuing a property the same as your neighbor: It is common for homeowners to think their property is worth what their neighbor said their property sold for. The problem with this is the neighbor’s property could be either inferior or superior to your property, items to consider are upgrades, maintenance, pool, views, etc. It is likely there will be a value difference between the two properties.

Overall, make sure that you have accurate information about your property and properties you compare yours to before making any decisions.

3. Using an old refinance appraisal: This is a bad idea. The market changes so frequently that using an old appraisal will most likely be the incorrect value of your home.

Clients often will ask how long an appraisal is good for, and the true answer is only the day of the inspection. There are so many variables that could change the value of a home such as the real estate market and damage to the home. If you are sure that there has not been a drastic market change and there is no additional damage or upgrades to the property it is fair to think that within a short period of time your refinance appraisal would be accurate. However, if new listings have gone on the market since then, they will not be considered. A pre-listing appraisal could give you an accurate value so that you only list the property once and can sell quickly.

4. Selling your property based on how much you put into it: Bad idea! I do not mean to be so blunt, but I see this so often and it always ends badly.

In the home buying and selling market, cost does not equal value. How much an item costs is much different from what the market values that item at. Just because you spend $30,000 upgrading your backyard with a pool does not mean you can add $30,000 to the value of your home. In almost all cases it will be valued at much less.

I own a home and understand wanting to get what you put into a home back when you sell it, but unfortunately that is not always the case.  An appraisal will breakdown each of these items for you and give you an up to date market value for items such as view, pool, spa, upgrades, etc. so you can list your property accordingly.

5. Using Zillow: It is a bad idea to use Zillow to price your property. Zillow is a good tool to use for checking recent sale prices and pricing trends, but it is not good for estimating the value of a home.

There are a number of reasons why Zillow is not good at this task, but the biggest one is that they often have inaccurate information about properties. Square footage, bedroom and bathroom count, amenities, upgrades, these are all things that can greatly impact the property value along with understanding the value of the neighborhood. An appraiser takes all of these items into account and you can count on an current and accurate value of your property.


FSBO is a great way to sell a home, you just need to be cautious and make sure you are given and use correct information because there is a lot of information out there to use and more times than not it is wrong. A pre-listing appraisal is a great tool to use to make your selling process as quick and easy as possible.




San Diego Real Estate Appraisal Services For:
Divorce Appraisals / Marriage Dissolution
Bankruptcy Appraisals
Bail Bonds Appraisals
Estate / Date of Death / Retrospective Appraisals
Financial Planning & Trusts
PMI Removal Appraisals
Pre-Foreclosure & Short Sales
Tax Assessment Appeals
Pre-Listing, Pre-Purchase, FSBO’s
Probate Appraisals


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