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For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Real Estate Transactions in New Jersey

When thinking about selling your home, you will first need to decide whether or not to sell it on your own, or work with a realtor. Avoiding the payment of a real estate commission, typically six percent, is the primary reason potential sellers consider selling on their own. That can add up to a significant amount of money! But on the other hand, a diligent real estate agent may be able to get more money for your house than you could on your own. By listing with an agent, your home will be listed with the realtor’s multiple listing service and website listings. Plus, the realtor will take care of scheduling showings, handling negotiations, and inspections. These are all things to consider. But, is it worth paying a $30,000 commission on a $500,000 home? Maybe. It depends. We can represent you from beginning to end for a fraction of that amount. Our typical fee for a private sale, or For Sale By Owner (aka FSBO) is only $2,500. We don’t do the same things that a Realtor will do, but then again, a real estate agent cannot give you legal advice, cannot review a contract, cannot review a title report for you, cannot prepare a deed nor prepare nor review other legal documents. Bottom line, a real estate agent cannot protect your legal interests like an attorney can. If you retain us, you will get the best legal representation money can buy. BUT, we don’t schedule showings, have copies of keys made, let contractors in to do work, call the homeowner’s association to get a copy of the by-laws, arrange for inspections, meter readings, and many other things a real estate agent will often do for you. (See, Choosing a Realtor.)

Each situation is unique and you should weigh the options carefully. In either case, we can help you through the process.

If you decide to proceed without a realtor, I recommend taking the following steps to market your property (after hiring us to represent you, of course):

Formulate a Comprehensive Plan

You will want a presence in as many places as possible, from the Internet to advertisements in local publications. Look for web sites that specialize in handling FSBO listings. Take your time to put together the best signage, both for your front yard and for critical intersections nearby. Go professional. Handmade signs do not make a favorable impression. There are many on-line sign manufacturing companies that make it easy to get a first rate, custom sign made to order. Find ways to network with others, so that you get maximum visibility.

Take an Honest Approach to Pricing Your Home

Everyone wants to maximize the sale price on their home, there’s nothing wrong with that. But expect that prospective buyers will look at the list or sale price of similar properties in the neighborhood. If yours is out of line, you will need to explain why (if you even get the chance to do so). If you know someone in the real estate business, consider asking for a free fair market analysis of the value of your property. Make a list of the unique features your house offers, but also be realistic about any potential challenges.

Hire an Experienced Real Estate Attorney

Real estate transactions are document-intensive, and many of those documents are beyond the expertise of even the most experience real estate investor and the sale of your home is likely to be one of the largest transactions of your life not the time you want to fill in the blanks of forms you pulled off the Internet. An experienced real estate lawyer will help you ensure that you’ve crossed all your T’s and dotted all your I’s crosses, so that all buy-sell agreements, mortgages, deeds, notes and financing instruments, easements and restrictive covenants are enforceable.

Brokers Welcome

You no doubt will be contacted by realtors stating they have someone looking for a home just like yours. Usually, they are telling the truth. If you put Broker’s Welcome on your sign and in your advertising, you will get more calls you will get. They will want one-half of the regular commission for their efforts (3.0%), and I would encourage you to accept that deal. It is well worth it.

Contact Our Office

At the law offices of Gary F. Woodend, MBA, JD, we have protected the rights of hundreds of New Jersey residents in probate and estate matters. We have the knowledge, skill and experience to handle complex, multimillion dollar estates. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us at 609-654-5489 (toll-free at 888-336-8417) or contact our office online.