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Across the country, according to news reports, more and more home owners are opting to try and sell their homes themselves instead of working with a realtor or real estate agent to help them get their home sold.

Why?  One of the biggest reasons is cost: with real estate prices being what they are, many home owners are thinking that they cannot afford to have an agent or broker take a percentage of the sale.  The margin alone is a big incentive for many to try and sell their homes themselves, and like other parts of the country, South Florida may well start seeing more and more “For Sale by Owner” signs.

Tips for Florida Home Owners Wanting to Sell Florida Home by Owner 


1.  These Owners Must Know Their Home’s Market – Study the Neighborhood, Avoid Getting Emotional

Real estate agents and real estate brokers know their neighborhoods and communities, and many of them have worked in these locations for years.  By undertaking the sale of the home yourself, you must undertake the work that these professionals would have done for you.  This means that you will need to study the market in your area, learn the pros and cons of your property, and then establish a sales price that is reasonable for the area.  This can be hard to do if you don’t get your emotions out of the way, like being sad that you’re selling the family home and being angry that you’re not going to be able to set a sales price at the same amount that you would have been able to sell it for in years past.

2.  These Owners Must Get Their Home Physically Ready to Sell

Having a formal inspection will be part of any sale (or should be); however, just getting the home ready to sell means more than meeting problems with the property that the inspector points out.  Landscaping the lot for a good first impression is important.  Paint should be touched up, carpets should be cleaned, you get the idea.    The property that you are selling needs to look good to sell to a prospective buyer, and it needs to be in good condition to avoid claims coming back against you for defects in the future.

3.  These Owners Must Do Their Own Marketing

Real estate agents offer lots of established sales techniques on marketing properties to potential buyers; by opting to sell a home without a real estate agent helping here, the owner is going to have to advertise and market the property themselves.   There are some web sites that can help; signs on the street (like the image above) as well as local ads in the community papers, etc. can help.  However, “for sale by owner” may miss out on multi-listing service (MLS) references used by real estate agents representing buyers as well as sellers in the local market.

4.  These Owners Must Meet Legal Requirements of Proper Title, Proper Inspection, and Proper Appraisal

In the sale of real estate, professionals are involved in various industries that dovetail in the sales and closing process:  title companies and title insurance comes into play; licensed inspectors must do their work as required by law and lenders; and appraisers will study comparable properties and work out their opinions on the sale.  Omitting the real estate agent does not omit the need for other professionals to be involved in a Florida home sale.  Cutting out the real estate agent means the owner has to do the work here regarding these dovetailing industries that the agent would have undertaken.

5.  Lawyers and Legal Documents Especially Important in For Sale By Owner

Selling a home means transferring real estate and this requires legal documentation in the real estate records.  Certain laws must be met and they will include specific legal documentation and certain language within that documentation.  When an agent isn’t in the loop, the real estate attorney’s job becomes that much more important in a For Sale by Owner situation.  This means reviewing the contract for sale, as well as closing documents, to make sure that the seller is protected under Florida law.   Sure, there are those document packages sold online and at office supply stores….

Larry Tolchinsky’s Tip:  For Sale by Owner is an enticing alternative to selling a home here in South Florida, particularly by home owners wanting to salvage as much of their bottom line as they can.  Yes, property is sold by owners without the assistance of real estate brokers or real estate attorneys all the time.

However, in today’s real estate market this can be a very, very risky move.  Florida contract law and Florida real estate law has been ignored by many over the past few years, and now we’ve got to fight against all the mud that has been thrown into the legal gearshifts.  Sellers can think they have sold a home and learn months or years later that the buyer has claims against them.  Maybe the home is damaged; maybe the title is flawed. Maybe there are other claims being asserted against the land.

Having professionals involved in the sale of a Florida home may cost more in the short run but it may well turn out to be the cheaper alternative in the long term.  Be careful out there.


Do you have questions or comments?  Then please feel free to Chat with Larry in the comments below, at, or (954) 458-8655. If you have a specific or personal situation, please call or email Larry because he can’t answer specific fact questions in general comments. 

“I’m happy to take your call.”

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