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5 Tips for Selling Your House By Owner

As a military homeowner about to make a PCS move, you’re likely deciding whether you will sell or rent your home. And if you’re selling, you may be thinking about the choice between selling with a real estate agent or taking the DIY approach with a “For Sale By Owner,” or FSBO. 

A FSBO sounds like an easy way to save money rather than paying a commission to a real estate agent, but there’s much more to it than that. 


Start with the basics: When should I put my home on the market? 


The simple answer to this question is: as soon as you’re ready. While time is of the essence for military relocation, it’s important to consider whether your home is ready to show and if you’ve done your due diligence to ensure your success. 

If you have the time, start preparing to sell your home well ahead of your desired listing date, keeping in mind that the PCS and home buying seasons typically occur between March and August. The following tips will help you prepare before you place that “For Sale” sign in your yard.


1) Nitpick Your House


The very nature of owning a home comes with the standard “honey-do” list of nagging house projects. You can finally cross those items off your list! Grab your notepad and walk through each room of your home and note the items that need attention. 

Organizing the list by room allows you to focus your attention on one room at a time, rather than being completely overwhelmed by the entire house. If you find yourself with limited time, this will aid in prioritizing tasks. Be critical and list the things you may have been willing to overlook, because potential buyers surely will not.


2) Spend to Save


The most common reason that homeowners choose to sell a home themselves is to save the money paid to an agent in commission. But it’s unrealistic to think you can sell your home without spending money. 

“You have to spend money to make money” is never truer than when it comes to selling your home. An agent earns a commission for the work they put into marketing your home, including running comparable sales, setting the right price, taking photos, creating virtual tours, staging, listing your home on the MLS system, organizing showings, creating marketing materials, presenting offers, negotiating counter offers, and more. 

Set a budget for your home sale by calculating how much you’d pay an agent using the standard 5-6% commission and evaluate how much of that savings you’re willing to invest in the improvement, staging, pricing, and marketing of your home.


3) Hire an Appraiser


Agents have access to a plethora of comparable sales information for your neighborhood and can read the market and advise you on the ideal asking price for your home. 

To determine the true value of your home when selling it yourself, consult a professional real estate appraiser. According to the NAR (National Association of REALTORS®), the average cost of an appraisal varies by location but can be upwards of $500. By using an appraisal, you can be certain that you’re asking for the current market value. It also signals to potential buyers that you’re a serious seller who has research behind your asking price. 

Lending institutions require a property appraisal prior to underwriting a loan, and while they will probably order an appraisal of their own, showing a buyer your appraisal will give them solid numbers on which to base their offer.


4) Secure a Closing Agent


Setting your price, marketing and showing your home, and procuring state-specific legal forms are elements of the selling process that homeowners can handle, but for closing the transaction, you need the help of a professional. 

The laws for closing real estate deals differ by state, so make sure you know the laws in the state where you’re selling and who can legally close the transaction. From “Do You Need a Closing Agent for Your FSBO?”


Take a look at the requirements of a few states with significant military populations.   


  • California, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Virginia: Real estate attorneys are not required, but a real estate professional may advise you to use one. 
  • Georgia: Georgia requires a licensed attorney to conduct real estate closings and “be in control of the closing process from beginning to end.”

Once you’ve determined who can close your transaction, contact them ahead of time to clarify what they need from you and the buyer to open the escrow process. Being prepared for the next step will set you up for success once you accept an offer.


5) Ask for Feedback


Homeowners feel a strong emotional connection to their homes, but when it’s time to sell, it’s essential to consider the process as a business transaction. 

Yes, this is easier said than done, but emotions can wreak havoc when it comes to negotiating the sale of your home. Seeking feedback on your home can help you attract a larger pool of buyers.

Leave a notebook on the kitchen counter and offer potential buyers the opportunity to share what they liked or didn’t like about your home. This takes the place of the feedback you’d receive from agents who show your home to buyers. Certain critiques may be subjective, but other comments can provide valuable insights for making slight modifications that will broaden your appeal to potential buyers.

Once you’ve completed all of these steps, you are well on your way to a successful FSBO! For more home selling help, connect with MilitaryByOwner for more resources and information. 


*Written by @militarybyowner advertising. For more posts like this, visit their M:M Expert Author Page.



  • MilitaryByOwner Advertising Inc

    In 1999, the owners of MilitaryByOwner Advertising, Inc, David, (USMC,Ret.) and Sharon Gran, were stationed in Germany faced with a move back to the states. This move triggered the idea of linking relocating military families. In 2000, MilitaryByOwner was launched. Our website offers advertisements of homes for sale or rent near US military bases. Our home advertisers connect with other families in need of living near a military base. Our business advertisers provide valuable resources to help make a PCS move a smooth one. For more information, please email We strive to provide superior customer service by being available for questions through our live chat online, email and office hours. The majority of our staff is either military spouses or dependents who can relate to the joy and stress of a military move. Don’t hesitate to contact us by phone, email or live chat!


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Supporting Our Military Children

Supporting Our Military Children

One thing that has been most important to me, as a military spouse, is figuring out how to best do this life while supporting our children with the changes and difficulties. When my children were very small, there were many times that my husband was away, and I had to parent my children alone.

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