Is FSBO safe?

Security is often raised as an issue in FSBO (For Sale By Owner) real estate sales. Some real estate agents try to scare landlords into advertising with them by claiming it’s not safe. Some owners are unsure how to safely display their property.

By taking a few sensible precautions, there is no reason why selling your home FSBO should be any less secure than selling through a real estate agent. In fact, selling FSBOs should be safer. There is nothing a real estate agent can do to screen buyers that FSBO homeowners can’t do for themselves.

What does a real estate agent do?

Estate agents claim that they screen prospective buyers before they view your property, but what does this mean? Does the real estate agent check if the buyer has a criminal record for violent crimes or theft? Of course not. Ideally, the agent can obtain the buyer’s name, address, and contact number prior to your visit.

Getting a contact number for buyers is easy, just ask when the buyer calls to inquire about viewing your property. Before the buyer visits you, call them to confirm that they are still arriving. This allows you to confirm that the contact number is genuine and also reduces the chance of a no-show.

FSBO Ad Contact Details

It’s wise to limit the amount of information you make available through online FSBO advertising. Some owners include their full name, phone numbers, email address, street address of the property for sale, and the hours they are home. While including this information is not enough to falsify documents like a passport, it is enough to attract unwanted attention from scammers.

A potential buyer only needs to know your name to make a courteous initial contact. It is not necessary to include your last name and titles in your FSBO ad.

Choose an online ad that protects your email address. There are programs that crawl the web for published email addresses. If you post your email address in your FSBO ad, you are requesting to receive spam.

The best FSBO sites like have online messaging systems that allow buyers and sellers to communicate online while keeping email addresses private.

When selling your own home, a mobile (cell) phone is invaluable. Not only are homeowners less likely to miss a call from a potential buyer, but a potential thief can’t cold call the property to check if anyone is home.

open door inspections

We do not recommend holding an open house when selling your property. Open house inspections are difficult to oversee and many buyers find viewing a property with many other buyers unproductive and frustrating.

Real estate agents use open houses as a way to get information about other properties that are for sale. Often the real estate agent will stand in front of a home to ensure that buyers receive details from their agency. But once inside the property, buyers can wander around unsupervised.

Potential burglars can use open door inspections to check security systems and search properties if they are left to wander unattended. Don’t provide too many details related to your home security system to a buyer on their initial visit.

common sense rules

When visiting your property, follow these common sense rules:

Remove all valuables from the property. Take them off site preferably in a safe deposit box. Don’t keep them in a drawer.

Make sure there are two people on the property at all times. Ask a friend or family member to come with you. Only one of you needs to visualize.

Keep the shutters and curtains open during viewings, this allows people outside to see the property and will potentially deter someone thinking of up to no good.

Showing your property after dark

Allowing buyers to walk in for walk-ins is not recommended and especially if the buyer requests an impromptu viewing after dark. Politely explain that you are happy to show your home during the day, when the buyer can fully appreciate the wonderful features of your home. Offer a brochure or information sheet to take away.

FSBO may not be for you

FSBO is not for everyone. To sell your own home, you must be prepared to show the property to potential buyers. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this or feel that your circumstances would make you especially vulnerable, you might be wise to consider using a traditional real estate agent.

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