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For Sale by Owner Checklist: Guide to FSBO Paperwork

For Sale By Owner Sign

Selling your home as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) can be a challenging but rewarding experience. You can save you thousands on real estate agent commissions and stay in control of the process. You save about 3% by foregoing a seller’s agent, and the full 6% commission if you negotiate to not pay the commission for the buyer’s agent. Still, it’s not for the faint of heart.


One of the key aspects of a successful FSBO transaction is being prepared with all the necessary documents and information before listing your home for sale. Here is a comprehensive checklist of essential items to have on hand when selling your own home.


1. Property Disclosure Form

In Pennsylvania, sellers are required to provide buyers with a property disclosure form that discloses known defects and issues with the property. Having a completed property disclosure form available can protect you from future legal disputes with the buyer.


2. CLUE Report

“CLUE” is short for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) Report. A CLUE report is a comprehensive insurance claims history report that provides information on any insurance claims that have been filed on a particular property. A clean report can make home buyers feel much more comfortable about the condition of your home. 


3. Property Survey

A property survey shows the boundaries of the property and any structures located on it. Having a recent property survey available can help avoid any disputes over property lines with potential buyers.


4. Home Inspection Report

Getting a pre-listing home inspection can help you identify any issues with your property that may need to be addressed before listing it for sale. Having a copy of the inspection report available for interested buyers can build trust and transparency in the transaction.


5. Sales Contract Forms

If you’re working with a buyer who is not using a realtor, not having a sales agreement form handy can be a practical impediment to the buyer giving you an offer.  Have standard sales contract forms available to use when negotiating with potential buyers. You can also make sure that the contract terms are more favorable to you.


6. Title Report

A title report provides information about the property's ownership history and any existing liens or encumbrances on the property. It is crucial to obtain a title report before listing your home for sale to ensure that the title is clear and marketable.


7. Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

A CMA is a report that provides information on recent sales of comparable properties in your area. Having a CMA available can help you determine the right listing price for your home and attract potential buyers.  You can ask a realtor to prepare a CMA for you.  Some agents charge $100 - $200 for a CMA, but others provide them free to clients who will be using their services to sell their homes. Many agents advertise free CMAs as part of their marketing and will even include CMAs when they mail out fliers to certain subdivisions to drum up business, especially in a hot market. You could also opt to obtain a professional appraisal from a local appraiser. That will be a bit more expensive and might take a longer.


8. Other Documents You May Need

Depending on the circumstances, you may need to gather additional documents before listing your home. These may be required in your state or county.

  • Water quality test (if you have a well)

  • Septic system inspection

  • Major repair documentation

  • Notices from agencies such as new tax assessments or re-zoning

  • Trust documents for homes held in a trust

  • Estate settlement documentation if you inherited the home

  • Divorce decree if the home was or is held jointly with an ex-spouse


Be Prepared and Ready to Sell Your Home

Knowing how to sell a house by owner for top dollar involves more than following regulations and completing paperwork. It’s wise to invest some of the money you save on real estate commissions into getting your home ready and as appealing as possible. First impressions are everything, and many buyers already have hesitations about buying a FSBO. You don’t want to appear to be unprepared or hiding information.  Having all of the necessary documents makes it easy to strike when the buyer is ready to make an offer. Our experienced real estate attorneys are ready to help you with every step. We assist FSBO sellers on a flat fee basis at a rate far less than the commission that you would pay a realtor. Give us a call and take control of selling your own home!


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