Buying a for sale by owner (FSBO) in real estate is not impossible, but certainly can be more complex than a traditional real estate transaction where brokers are involved.

Home buyers who are considering the purchase of a FSBO need to be fully aware they potentially may not have any representation. This means they don’t have anyone available to give them advice, explain the steps of buying a home, or anyone to simply talk with if there is some confusion…

Buying real property is a complex process.  There are more than a dozen steps to buying a house, when done properly.

Many property buyers take part in a “traditional” real estate transaction which includes themselves, the seller, the seller’s real estate agent, and their own real estate agent.  It is possible however that a buyer may find a property that on the surface appears to be the perfect property.  The only difference being it’s not listed by a real estate agent, instead, it’s being sold by the owner.


If you do any research about for sale by owners in real estate, which are often referred to as FSBOs, you’ll find lots of different opinions.

If you talk about a for sale by owner with a real estate broker, you’ll likely hear why FSBOs fail in real estate.  On the other hand, if you talk with someone who has sold their own home, you’ll likely hear why real estate brokers are unnecessary to sell a home.

This article isn’t being written to discuss why buying a FSBO can be risky, but instead, to help buyers learn how to buy a for sale by owner.

Read on to find out 6 important tips for buying a for sale by owner in real estate.  Following these tips can make buying a for sale by owner a success.


The number one reason why homeowners attempt to sell their own property is because they don’t feel there is a need for real estate agents.  By eliminating real estate agents from a transaction, a homeowner can save thousands of dollars in real estate commissions.

While there are certainly some for sale by owners who absolutely will not cooperate with real estate agents, there are many that will.  There are many reasons why having a buyer’s agent is important when buying real estate.  Finding out if the owner is willing to at least cooperate with a buyer’s agent is the first step to buying a FSBO.

In many traditional real estate transactions, the seller is responsible for paying real estate commissions.  If the owner isn’t willing to cooperate with real estate agents, it’s important to realize that there is still the possibility of having your own representation in the form of a buyer’s agent.

How is it possible for a buyer to have their own representation if the seller isn’t willing to pay commissions?

The buyer would be responsible for compensating the buyer’s agent to represent their best interests, which is typically not a cost of buying a home in a traditional transaction in many states, but is often well worth the added expense.


Secure A Mortgage Pre-Approval When Buying A FSBO!

The next step in the process of buying a for sale by owner is to secure your pre-approval.  Whether a buyer is pursuing a for sale by owner or not, securing a mortgage pre-approval is vital.

A mortgage pre-approval is important for several reasons, one of the most important being it’s a method of showing a homeowner that the likelihood of being approved for a loan is strong.  Without a mortgage pre-approval, a seller cannot make an educated decision as to whether the potential buyer has the ability to purchase their home.

As you’re deciding where to secure a mortgage pre-approval, being aware of the most common tips for choosing a mortgage company can be very helpful.  Each mortgage broker or lender will offer different mortgage products, rates, and charge different fees, so be sure to explore a few different options.


If a for sale by owner has decided to not cooperate with a buyer’s agent and you’ve decided that you don’t want to or can’t afford to compensate a buyer’s agent, this step to buying a FSBO can seem quite foreign.  Most people don’t understand how to determine the market value of a home, but it’s an extremely important step simply because nobody wants to pay more for a home than it’s worth.

There are several methods to determining a home’s market value, some methods are good and some are bad.  The most common method to accurately determining the market value of a home is called the comparative market analysis approach.

A comparative market analysis, commonly referred to as a CMA, is the comparison of subject property to other similar homes sold in the recent past.  This method to determining a property’s value is frequently used by real estate professionals when they’re coming up with a property’s list price.

A CMA compares the subject property to at least 3 comparable sales within the past 6 months.  If the subject property has additional features that the comparable sales didn’t have, an adjustment should be made in the value.  An adjustment should be made if a comparable sale has an additional feature the subject property doesn’t have.

In traditional real estate transactions, one of the things to expect from a real estate agent when buying real estate is their advice on how much to offer for a property.  Again, if you do not have representation when buying a for sale by owner, you need to have an idea on how to determine the value of a home.


When buying a for sale by owner without representation, it’s highly suggested you enlist the services of a real estate attorney.  If there isn’t a buyer’s agent watching out for your best interests, a real estate attorney is often the only ally you have in the transaction.

When buying a for sale by owner without representation, a real estate attorney will often help with writing an offer on the property.  The real estate purchase offer can be quite confusing, even for people who’ve purchase real estate in the past.  An attorney can help you navigate through the contract to ensure the proper real estate contingencies are in place and that the timing is accurate.

In addition to helping write a purchase contract, an attorney can help safeguard against taking ownership of a home with poor title or a piece of real estate that has encroachments from the surrounding properties.  Even though these things are a common reason for a delayed real estate closing, it’s extremely important they’re corrected before taking ownership of the property.


Do NOT Skip the Inspection Phase when buying a FSBO or any other property for that matter!

There are more reasons why having inspections when buying real estate is recommended.  One huge mistake made by buyers, whether buying a for sale by owner or not, is skipping the inspection phase.

If you’re thinking about buying a for sale by owner without representation, completing various inspections is even more critical because you don’t have the extra set of eyes that a top buyer’s agent can provide.  The inspection phase is not exclusive to a home inspection, but depending on the type of property, many different inspections may apply.

For example, one of the most important tips for buying a rural home is to evaluate the type of sewer system the property is hooked up to.  If the property has a septic system, the purchase contract should be subject to an inspection and cleaning of the septic system.

Other important inspections to consider making the purchase of a for sale by owner contingent upon include;

  • Air Conditioning System
  • Pest inspection
  • Chimney inspection
  • Mold test

The bottom line is that skipping inspections is rarely a good idea and when buying a for sale by owner, it becomes an even worse idea.  There are few circumstances that result in a buyer skipping inspections.

One of the common reasons why a buyer may skip their inspections is because they’re buying a property in a seller’s market and are competing against other buyers, but it certainly still doesn’t mean it’s recommended.


One of the top home buying misconceptions is that after the inspections are completed that the transaction and the “hard work” is almost completed.  Once the inspections are completed, there are some important things to stay focused on until closing.

After inspections, one of the next steps is to obtain the formal written mortgage commitment.  This means that you have formally applied for the mortgage, paid for a bank appraisal, and submitted important documents to the mortgage broker or lender as requested.  It’s vital that as the broker or lender is requesting documents, you’re submitting them in a timely fashion.

In addition to the formal written mortgage commitment, there are other tasks that you need to remain focused on until closing, such as shopping for homeowner’s insurance.  Buyers who lose focus after completing inspections often will create a delay in their closing or even worse, can make mistakes that result in a real estate deal falling through.


Buying real property is complex and tricky at times.  If you’re considering the purchase of a for sale by owner, it’s important that you realize there may be added responsibilities you wouldn’t have in a traditional real estate transaction.

Again, buying a for sale by owner can be done, however, there are many reasons why most FSBOs fail.  Following the above tips for buying a for sale by owner will improve the chances of a successful purchase and help you set realistic expectations.

If you thinking about buying a FSBO along the Destin/30A gulf coast the above tips for buying a FSBO could be the reason why the purchase is successful or not.  If you don’t have a Destin/30A real estate agent and are thinking about buying a FSBO, contact me and we can discuss the specific property in detail.  Over the years, I’ve helped several Destin/30A real estate buyers purchase for sale by owner properties and know how to delicately approach the owners.

About the authors: The above article “How To Buy A For Sale By Owner (FSBO) In Real Estate” was written by Richard Eimers of the Eimers Group Powered by EXP Realty.  With over 40 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise with you.

We service the following Destin 30A areas: Destin, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Gulf Place, Dune Allen, Grayton Beach, Watercolor, Seaside, Seagrove Beach, Alys Beach, Seacrest Beach, Rosemary Beach and Inlet Beach FL.

Investment Home Sales Dominate Second Home Market in 2016


Investment home sales dominated the second home market in 2016, off the charts by 4.5 percent to total 1.14 million, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently released 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey—but vacation home purchases plunged, down 21.6 percent to a total 721,000.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun attributes the vacating of vacation home sales to low supply and unaffordability—the same issues plaguing the housing market overall.

“In several markets in the South and West—the two most popular destinations for vacation buyers—home prices have soared in recent years because substantial buyer demand from strong job growth continues to outstrip the supply of homes for sale,” says Yun. “With fewer bargain-priced properties to choose from and a growing number of traditional buyers, finding a home for vacation purposes became more difficult and less affordable last year.”

Vacation home sales, according to Yun, are now 36 percent below their 2014 peak. The median vacation home price was $200,000, a 4.2 percent increase from 2015, with the share of all-cash purchases down to 28 percent from 38 percent in 2015. Vacation home sales totaled 12 percent of all transactions in 2016—the lowest share since 2012.

The median investment home price, to compare, was $155,000, an 8 percent increase from 2015, with the share of all-cash purchases down to 35 percent from 39 percent in 2015. Investment home sales totaled 19 percent of all transactions in 2016, unchanged.

“Sales to individual investors reached their highest level since 2012 (1.20 million) as investors took advantage of record low mortgage rates and recognized the sizeable demand for renting in their market as renters struggle to become homeowners,” Yun says. “The ability to generate rental income or remodel a home to put back on a market with tight inventory is giving investors increased confidence in their ability to see strong returns in their home purchase.”

That Old Home Decor Isn’t Always a Bad Thing


A “time capsule” home can be a selling point to some home shoppers. These are older homes that may display decades-old decor and have not been refurbished or updated. Instead, they’ve been meticulously maintained in their original style.

Some home shoppers say they’re drawn to these homes for the quality construction, distinctive design, and nostalgia, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“The number of people looking for time-capsules houses [has], I’ll go out on a limb and say, exploded,” says Pam Kueber, who maintains a list of time-capsule homes on her remodeling blog,

Some real estate professionals are even specializing in midcentury or unremodeled homes.

Ed Murchison with Virginia Cook, REALTORS®, in Dallas says that over the past five years he’s noticed more young home shoppers seeking Midcentury Modern homes, and they’re willing to pay a premium to get them, too. AMC’s “Mad Men” TV show may have been inspired buyers to appreciate 1960s design.

So that means popcorn ceilings, shag carpeting, peach bathroom tiles, and baby-blue cabinets are hardly a turnoff to some select home shoppers. Indeed, Robin Miller was drawn to a home with such features that was built in the early 1960s in Weaverville, Calif. She purchased the home and plans to leave the retro design intact.

“It’s almost like the less you do, the better because it almost distracts from the architecture that’s already there,” Miller told The Wall Street Journal.

Many time-capsule homes are from the post–World War II housing boom. However, they are in short supply: Many of these homes have since been remodeled.

“We may be seeing the last era of true time-capsule houses in America,” Kueber says.

Real estate professionals say it’s not always smart to renovate a time-capsule home if you have one as your listing. There could be a niche audience out there looking for it.

“Once you remodel a house out of its time period, you have to perpetually remodel every 10 years to keep up with what’s fashionable,” says Alyssa Starelli with Living Room Realty in Portland, Ore. “But if you maintain it in the period it was, it always suits the house.”

For buyers who do find a time capsule home, they should also be vigilant about the condition of the home since it is older. For example, they should assess the home for building code violations and safety hazards, such as lead paint, asbestos, and untempered glass in windows or showers, Kueber says.

Source: “Life Inside a Time Capsule,” The Wall Street Journal (April 27, 2017) [Log-in required.]

Industry Groups, Lawmakers Slam Dodd-Frank, CFPB

by Ryan Smith | April 10, 2017


Republican lawmakers and industry groups slammed the Dodd-Frank Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at a hearing Thursday, claiming that ambiguous regulation has confused financial services companies and that the CFPB has effectively cut off access to credit for millions of consumers.
“Financial companies are standing on regulatory quicksand, having to constantly shift in an effort to stay afloat. There are unending attempts to decipher a regulator’s wants and needs, allowing little to no foundation on which to run a business,” said Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee’s Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee. “Ultimately, this world of ambiguous guidance, contradictory rules, and aggressive enforcement has led to confusion for financial companies seeking to comply with Dodd-Frank and other Obama-era rules. But the greatest impact is on the customers of those financial companies, who in many cases have been left clamoring for access to financial services, and paying more for the ones they’ve been able to retain.”
According to GOP subcommittee members, “ambiguous guidance” from agencies like the CFPB has caused confusion for financial companies and made compliance with regulations unnecessarily difficult. The subcommittee also slammed regulatory agencies for “evidence of limited due process” when enforcing regulations.
“If we want a healthier economy and more freedom, we must increase access to competitive, transparent, and innovative markets and provide a ladder of opportunity on which all Americans can rise,” the subcommittee said in a release.
Witnesses at the hearing also slammed the current regulatory regime.
“There is no doubt that, for decades, the U.S. regulatory framework has increasingly made it more difficult to create and maintain jobs and businesses that benefit Americans,” said Norbert Michel, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. “One of the main reasons the regulatory regime has been counterproductive for so long is because it allows regulators to micromanage firms’ financial risk, a process that substitutes regulators’ judgments for those of private investors.”
Bill Himpler, executive vice president of the American Financial Services Association, said that access to credit should be much more widely available than it currently is – and that the CFPB’s regulatory regime cuts ordinary Americans out of gaining that access.
“The CFPB seems to believe that credit should only be extended to those borrowers who do not present any risk, such as holders of the Amex Black Card who make more than enough money to pay back a loan,” Himpler said.


Morning Briefing: Foreclosure Activity Below Pre-Recession Level Nationwide

by Steve Randall |13 Apr 2017

Close-up Foreclosure Real Estate Sign in Front of House.

The level of foreclosure activity nationwide in the first quarter of 2017 was at pre-recession levels, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

The analysis of 216 metros found that 102 (47 per cent) have below-recession levels of foreclosure activity, up from 78 a year ago.

There were foreclosure filings on 234,508 homes in the first three months of this year, down 11 per cent from the previous quarter and 19 per cent below the level of the first quarter of 2016.

“US foreclosure activity on a quarterly basis first dipped below pre-recession averages in the fourth quarter of last year, and this report shows that trend continuing for the second consecutive quarter,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions.

The markets which are below pre-recession levels include Houston, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and Atlanta. New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington DC are among those still above pre-recession levels.

There was an increase in foreclosure starts in March (up 1 per cent from February) but the level was still 24 per cent below that of a year earlier.

Vacation sales dropped in 2016 says NAR

There were fewer purchases of vacation homes in 2016 according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors.

The estimated 721,000 vacation home sales was 21.6 per cent below 2015’s total and was the lowest since 2013. Investment sales increased 4.5 per cent to 1.14 million while owner-occupied purchases were up 12.5 per cent to 4.21 million, the highest level since 2006.

“In several markets in the South and West – the two most popular destinations for vacation buyers – home prices have soared in recent years because substantial buyer demand from strong job growth continues to outstrip the supply of homes for sale,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

More second-home buyers financed their home purchase in 2016, the report shows, as higher prices meant the share of cash buyers of vacation homes slipped to 28 per cent from 38 per cent in 2015.

Investors were also financing more purchases with cash buyers in this sector down to 35 per cent from 39 per cent in 2015.

“Sales to individual investors reached their highest level since 2012 (1.20 million) as investors took advantage of record low mortgage rates and recognized the sizeable demand for renting in their market as renters struggle to become homeowners,” said Yun.

No problem for Houston housing market

There was a strong start to the spring buying season in the Houston market with a fifth consecutive monthly gain in sales.

Houston Association of Realtors reports that 7,013 single-family homes were sold in March, up 11.7 per cent year-over-year; condo and townhome sales were up 7.4 per cent.

“Houston home sales blossomed in March, but we also saw tremendous activity in the rental market,” said HAR Chair Cindy Hamann with Heritage Texas Properties. “A healthy pace of new listings helped inventory levels grow, which is critical if we are to maintain the positive momentum.”

The median price of a single-family home was up 5.8 per cent to $227,530, the highest median ever for March.