Selling or Purchasing a House on Your Own (FSBO)

Selling or Purchasing a House on Your Own (FSBO)

Selling your house on your own (For Sale By Owner/FSBO) requires work on the part of the seller, but the rewards can be substantial. In exchange for marketing the property and finding a potential purchaser, the seller may have potential savings of about 5% or 6% of the sale price by not having to pay a commission to Real Estate Broker.

Over the past few years, there has been a tremendous growth in FSBO transactions in Washtenaw County and the City of Ann Arbor. This is attributable to the growth of the internet and popular FSBO listing sites as well as a steady demand for houses in the Ann Arbor area. If you do decide to sell your house on your own, you should have an experienced attorney to advise you.

Purchasing a house on your own, whether a For Sale By Owner house or a house listed by a real estate agent, can also be a financially rewarding experience, because a seller will recognize that there will be no requirement to pay a buyer’s agent a commission, which is usually 2% or 3% of the sale price.

For a purchaser who has done their homework and researched the potential market value of a home, this can help with negotiating a favorable sale price. If you do decide to purchase a house on your own, you should have an experienced attorney to advise you.

Ager Law Office is committed to provided excellent services to both FSBO sellers and purchasers. For a reasonable flat fee you can have Bill Ager, with over 30 years of experience, at your side from start to finish. Consult with Bill if you are thinking of selling or purchasing, so that he can provide you with a detailed explanation of the entire process, the laws that apply and forms that are required.

Bill will also review all offers and documents relating to the sale or purchase, including the contract, amendments, contingency releases, title policy commitment and closing documents. Moreover, Bill will be available to answer any questions you have, all the way through closing, all for a reasonable flat fee.

Contact Bill Ager at (734) 649-0784 or bill@agerlawoffice.com for more details on reasonable flat fees for these services. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If I sell my house on my own, should I work with real estate agents who have buyers interested in my house?

Many FSBO sellers work with real estate agents with interested buyers but if you do, be careful. If you accept a purchase offer through a buyer’s agent, you will most likely have to pay the buyer’s agent a commission at closing. The commission is negotiable and usually between 2% and 3%.

A seller who decides to work with a real estate agent who has an interested buyer should factor the commission into the sale price and specifically reference it in the sales contract.

Be careful of agents who say they have a buyer who is interested in purchasing your house and ask you to list your house with them first. If they say they have an interested buyer, ask them to submit a written offer.

Also be careful of negotiating verbally. Your response to the question “Will you take less than the sale price?” should be “I will consider all offers in writing”. 

Can I confirm the sale of my house with a handshake or email?

All contracts for the sale of real estate must be in writing and signed by the seller and purchaser. A handshake or oral agreement will not allow a party to enforce a sales contract.

How do I know what is a good sale price for my house? 

Many sellers keep a close eye on sales of comparable properties in their neighborhood over the past year. In addition, an appraisal of your house by a licensed and experienced residential appraiser will help you determine your house’s value in today’s market.

A seller should also be prepared for a situation that commonly arises when a very favorable sale price is negotiated, but the purchaser is not able to obtain financing for the purchase because of the lender’s below sale price appraisal.

Should I have my house fully inspected by a licensed contractor before putting it up for sale?

A full inspection is not recommended, although it may be helpful to obtain a quote from a licensed contractor for specific repairs to the house, such as a known foundation or structural issue, that may help with negotiating a sale price. In this respect, a seller should make a full disclosure of any known structural or foundation issues in the house, as indicated in the Seller’s Disclosure Statement.  

What is a Seller’s Disclosure Statement?

Michigan’s Seller Disclosure Act, MCL 565.951 et seq., requires the seller of residential real estate to disclose the condition of the property to the buyer on an approved Sellers Disclosure Statement form. There are many items covered on the form and it represents a statement from the seller about the condition of the property and appliances.

Failure to completely and accurately disclose information on the Seller’s Disclosure form can have dire consequences for a seller, including the termination of an otherwise binding purchase agreement or litigation after a sale has closed.

What does it mean to obtain title to a property? 

Title describes the rightful ownership of the property. When you purchase a house or vacant land you are purchasing title to that real estate. However you must remember other individuals could have claims, such as unpaid mortgages or liens, on the property that you are buying.

This is an important reason for obtaining an owner’s title insurance policy in your name when you purchase property. You should always have an experienced attorney review the title policy not only to make sure that you have marketable title, but also to make sure you understand any restrictions on your ownership of the property, such as building and uses restrictions, easements and special assessments.   

About Bill

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Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Bill Ager graduated from the University of Michigan and then served in the U.S. Army. He graduated from the Defense Language Institute and worked at the Army’s Freedom of Information Center in Washington…

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