Two street signs with one reading "HOUSING Ave." and the other below it reading "MARKET St" with a blue sky background and a few small puffy white clouds.

How to Sell Your Own House (In Any Market)

How to Sell Your Own House (In Any Market) 

Selling your own house—also known as "for sale by owner" (FSBO)—means that you, as the homeowner, take on the responsibility of handling the entire sale process without the assistance of a real estate agent. Instead of hiring a professional real estate agent to list, market, and negotiate the sale of your property, you handle these tasks yourself.

Selling your own house requires skill and knowhow. If you’re considering going this route, you must approach the task armed with all the knowledge you’ll need to succeed. Luckily for you, dear reader, we have compiled a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you prepare to sell your own home.


Selling a home in Milwaukee or surrounding areas can be a time-consuming and discouraging process. However, at Fair Deal Home Buyers, we help make the process easy and hassle-free without worrying about making any repairs. We buy houses in Wisconsin in "as-is" condition and pay all cash - no hidden fees or strings attached.

Learn how you can sell your Milwaukee house fast to us exactly as it is, in as little as 7 days.

Understanding the Current Real Estate Market in Your Area

First you must understand the general factors that influence the real estate market and trends in your area. For the latest and most accurate information, it's recommended to consult recent market reports, news sources, or speak with a real estate professional.

Other things to investigate are:

Interest Rates

The prevailing interest rates significantly impact the real estate market. Lower interest rates generally stimulate home buying, as mortgages become more affordable, while higher rates may slow down the market.

Economic Conditions

The overall economic health of a region or country affects the real estate market. Factors like employment rates, GDP growth, and consumer confidence play crucial roles.

Supply and Demand

The basic principles of supply and demand greatly influence property values. If there's a shortage of homes available for sale in a high-demand area, prices tend to rise.


Location remains a key factor in real estate. Desirable neighborhoods, proximity to amenities, schools, and transportation can drive property values.

Market Sentiment

Consumer and investor sentiment also impact the real estate market. Positive economic outlooks and confidence often result in increased real estate activity.

Government Policies

Changes in government policies, including tax incentives, housing regulations, and economic stimulus packages, can affect the real estate market.

Technology and Remote Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated trends like remote work, influencing housing preferences. Suburban and rural areas may see increased demand due to the rise of telecommuting.

Demographic Shifts

Changing demographics, such as population growth, aging populations, or shifts in household composition, can influence housing demand and preferences.

Market Cycles

Real estate markets typically go through cycles of boom and bust. Understanding the phase of the market cycle can provide insights into potential risks and opportunities.


Affordability is a critical factor for homebuyers. High housing prices relative to income levels can limit the pool of potential buyers.

Remember that real estate markets can vary widely by location, and local factors play a significant role. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information, consult local real estate professionals or access recent market reports.

Preparing Your House for Sale

Preparing your house for sale is the next crucial step in the home-selling process. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you make your property more appealing to potential buyers.

Preparing your house for sale is the next crucial step in the home-selling process. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you make your property more appealing to potential buyers.

  1. Clean and Declutter: Start by cleaning your house thoroughly. This includes floors, carpets, windows, and every surface. Declutter each room by getting rid of unnecessary items. Depersonalize the space by removing personal photographs and items.
  2. Depersonalize: Remove personal items like family photos, unique artwork, or specific decor choices that might not appeal to a broad audience.
  3. Neutralize Colors: Repaint bold or highly personalized walls with neutral colors. Neutral tones create a blank canvas that allows buyers to envision their own style.
  4. Make Necessary Repairs: Attend to any maintenance issues, such as leaky faucets, squeaky doors, or peeling paint. A well-maintained home is more appealing to buyers.
  5. Curb Appeal: First impressions matter. Enhance the curb appeal by maintaining a well-manicured lawn, trimming bushes, and planting flowers. Consider a fresh coat of paint for the front door and updating house numbers or mailbox.
  6. Stage Your Home: Arrange furniture to showcase the functionality of each room. Consider hiring a professional stager to maximize the appeal. Use neutral and inviting decor to make spaces feel warm and welcoming.
  7. Lighting: Ensure all rooms are well-lit. Replace outdated or dim light fixtures and add lamps where necessary. Natural light is particularly appealing.
  8. Make Space Look Larger: Remove unnecessary furniture to make rooms appear more spacious. Rearrange furniture to create an open flow.
  9. Address Odors: Eliminate any unpleasant odors. Clean carpets, drapes, and upholstery. Consider baking cookies or using air fresheners before showings.
  10. Fixtures and Hardware: Update outdated fixtures, faucets, and cabinet hardware. It's a cost-effective way to modernize your home.
  11. Highlight Storage Space: Clean and organize closets and storage areas. Buyers appreciate ample storage space.
  12. Clean Windows: Clean windows inside and out to maximize natural light and showcase your views.
  13. Professional Photography: Invest in professional photography to showcase your home online. Good photos are crucial for attracting potential buyers.
  14. Marketing Materials: Create high-quality brochures or online listings that highlight the best features of your home.
  15. Be Flexible with Showings: Make your home available for showings, even on short notice. Flexibility can attract serious buyers.
  16. Disclose Information: Be transparent about any known issues or repairs. It builds trust with potential buyers.

Remember, the goal is to present your home as a clean, well-maintained, and inviting space. Making these efforts can significantly increase your chances of selling your home quickly and at a desirable price.

How to Set the Right Selling Price

Setting the right price when selling your house is crucial to attracting potential buyers and ensuring a successful sale. Here are some steps to help you determine the right price for your property:

Research the Market

Look at recent sales in your neighborhood to understand the current market trends. Consider factors such as the size of the property, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, amenities, and location.

Get a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

A real estate agent can provide a CMA, which is an analysis of similar properties that have recently sold, are currently on the market, or have been taken off the market. The CMA helps in assessing the fair market value of your home.

Consider the Condition of Your Home

Evaluate the condition of your property compared to others in the market. Make necessary repairs and improvements to enhance its appeal and value.

Factor in Unique Features

If your home has unique features or upgrades, consider their impact on the price. Highlight these features when marketing your property.

Be Realistic

Avoid overpricing your home, as it may deter potential buyers. Be realistic about the market conditions and the value of your property.

Account for Market Conditions

Consider whether it's a buyer's or seller's market. In a seller's market, you may be able to set a slightly higher price, while in a buyer's market, you may need to be more competitive.

Get a Professional Appraisal

Hire a certified appraiser to provide an unbiased assessment of your property's value. This can be useful for setting an accurate asking price.

Monitor Online Real Estate Platforms

Regularly check online platforms to see how similar properties are priced. Pay attention to the time properties spend on the market.

Factor in Closing Costs and Negotiation Room

Consider potential closing costs and leave some room for negotiation. Buyers often expect to negotiate, so pricing your home with this in mind can facilitate smoother negotiations.

Consult with a Real Estate Professional

Seek guidance from a real estate agent or broker. They have experience in the local market and can provide valuable insights.

Remember, setting the right price is a balance between attracting buyers and ensuring a fair return on your investment. Be flexible and be willing to adjust the price based on market feedback and conditions.

Create a Winning Listing

Creating a compelling and effective listing is crucial when selling your house, as it plays a significant role in attracting potential buyers. Here are some tips to help you create a great listing:

Captivating Headline

Start with a catchy and informative headline that highlights the key features of your home. Use descriptive words to evoke interest, such as "Charming Victorian Home," "Modern Oasis," or "Spacious Family Retreat."

Detailed Property Description

Provide a comprehensive yet concise description of your property. Highlight unique features, such as updated appliances, recent renovations, or special amenities. Mention the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and any distinctive architectural elements.

Showcase High-Quality Photos

Include high-resolution photos that showcase the best aspects of your home. Capture different angles of each room, as well as exterior shots, to give potential buyers a clear visual representation.

Emphasize Key Selling Points

Identify and emphasize the key selling points of your property, such as a spacious backyard, a newly renovated kitchen, or a convenient location. Mention any recent upgrades or improvements that add value to the home.

Provide Floor Plans and Virtual Tours

Consider including floor plans or virtual tours to give potential buyers a better sense of the layout and flow of the home. Virtual tours can enhance the online viewing experience and save time for both sellers and buyers.

Accurate and Complete Information

Ensure that all information, such as square footage, room dimensions, and property taxes, is accurate. Include details about the neighborhood, nearby amenities, and local schools to give buyers a comprehensive understanding.

Set the Right Price

Research comparable properties in your area to set a competitive and realistic asking price. Avoid overpricing, as it can deter potential buyers, but also avoid undervaluing your property.

Clear Call-to-Action

End your listing with a clear call-to-action, encouraging potential buyers to contact you for more information or to schedule a viewing. Provide multiple contact options, such as phone number and email.

Highlight Energy Efficiency and Maintenance

If applicable, mention any energy-efficient features or recent maintenance that can appeal to buyers and reduce long-term costs.

Honesty is Key

Be honest about the condition of your home. Transparency builds trust and avoids potential issues during the selling process.

By implementing these tips, you can create a compelling listing that attracts potential buyers and helps sell your house more efficiently.

Effective Marketing Strategies

Selling your own house involves strategic marketing to attract potential buyers and maximize your property's visibility. Here are some effective marketing strategies.

Quality Listing Photos

Capture high-quality, well-lit photos that showcase the key features of your home. Consider hiring a professional photographer to ensure the best results.

Online Presence

Utilize online platforms like real estate websites, social media, and classified ads to reach a broader audience. Create a dedicated website or blog for your property with detailed information and additional visuals.

Virtual Tours

Offer virtual tours to allow potential buyers to explore your home remotely. Use 360-degree photos or videos to provide an immersive experience.

Detailed Property Description

Craft a compelling and detailed description highlighting key features, amenities, and the unique aspects of your home. Include information about the neighborhood, schools, and nearby attractions.

For Sale Signage

Place a prominent "For Sale" sign in your yard with contact information. Ensure the sign is clean, well-maintained, and easily visible from the street.

Open Houses

Host regular open houses to allow potential buyers to tour the property. Create a welcoming atmosphere and be prepared to answer questions.

Word of Mouth

Inform friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues about your property being on the market. Encourage them to share the information within their networks.


Connect with local real estate agents, attend community events, and join online forums to increase your property's exposure. Consider offering a commission to buyer's agents to incentivize cooperation.

Home Staging

Stage your home to showcase its potential and help buyers visualize themselves living there. Keep the space clean, decluttered, and neutral to appeal to a wide range of tastes.

Responsive Communication

Respond promptly to inquiries and maintain open communication with potential buyers. Provide accurate and honest information to build trust.

Price Competitively

Research the local market and set a competitive and realistic price for your property. Consider the current market conditions and recent comparable sales.


Offer incentives such as covering closing costs or including appliances to make your property more attractive.

Remember, the key is to create a comprehensive marketing strategy that combines various tactics to reach a diverse audience and make your home stand out in the competitive real estate market.

Negotiating Techniques

Negotiating the sale of your house requires careful planning and effective communication. Here are some techniques to help you navigate the negotiation process:

Know Your Bottom Line

Before entering negotiations, determine the lowest acceptable price for your property. Be realistic about your financial goals and the market value of your home.

Research the Market

Understand the current real estate market in your area. Knowing recent sales and market trends will help you justify your asking price and provide evidence during negotiations.

Enhance Your Property's Value

Make your property as attractive as possible by addressing any maintenance issues, staging the home, and highlighting its unique features. A well-maintained property can command a higher price.

Set a Competitive Asking Price

Price your home competitively from the start to attract serious buyers. An overpriced property can turn off potential buyers and lead to prolonged negotiations.

Build Rapport

Establish a positive relationship with the potential buyer. A good rapport can create a more collaborative atmosphere during negotiations.

Listen Actively

Pay close attention to the buyer's concerns and priorities. Understanding their needs allows you to tailor your responses and find mutually beneficial solutions.

Be Patient

Negotiations may take time. Avoid rushing the process, and be patient in waiting for the right offer. Rushed decisions can lead to unfavorable outcomes.

Use Silence to Your Advantage

Don't be afraid of silence during negotiations. Sometimes, the other party will speak up or offer concessions if given the opportunity.

Offer Incentives

Consider offering incentives such as covering closing costs, including appliances, or flexible move-in dates. These can sweeten the deal without affecting your home's sale price directly.

Be Prepared to Compromise

Recognize that both parties will likely need to compromise for a deal to be reached. Identify areas where you can be flexible while still achieving your bottom line.

Get Everything in Writing

Once an agreement is reached, ensure that all terms and conditions are documented in writing. This helps avoid misunderstandings and provides a clear reference point for both parties.

Remember, successful negotiations involve finding common ground and creating a win-win situation for both parties. Flexibility, effective communication, and a clear understanding of your goals will contribute to a successful home sale.

Know the Legalities and Documentation

Selling a house by owner, also known as FSBO involves several legalities and documentation. While the process may vary depending on your location, here is a general guide that you can follow: 

  1. Title Search and Clearing: Conduct a title search to ensure you have a clear title to the property. Resolve any outstanding liens, judgments, or issues that may affect the title.
  2. Disclosure Documents: Provide a Seller's Disclosure Form, disclosing any known defects or issues with the property. Include information about environmental hazards, such as lead-based paint or asbestos.
  3. Purchase Agreement: Draft a legally binding purchase agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the sale. Include details like the sale price, earnest money deposit, closing date, and any contingencies.
  4. Inspection Reports: If applicable, provide inspection reports to potential buyers.
  5. Buyers may request a professional inspection, and their findings could impact negotiations.
  6. Appraisal: If the buyer is obtaining financing, the lender may require a professional appraisal of the property.
  7. Home Warranty: Consider offering a home warranty to give buyers peace of mind about potential repairs.
  8. Negotiations: Be prepared to negotiate with potential buyers on price and other terms.
  9. Escrow Account: Open an escrow account to hold the earnest money deposit until the closing.
  10. Closing Documents: Prepare or review the closing documents, including the deed, bill of sale, and any other necessary paperwork.
  11. Closing Process: Attend the closing meeting with the buyer, and ensure all necessary documents are signed and notarized.
  12. Finalize the Sale: Transfer the deed to the buyer, and receive the proceeds from the sale.
  13. Legal Compliance: Ensure compliance with local, state, and federal laws governing real estate transactions.
  14. Consult with Professionals: While selling FSBO is possible, consider consulting with a real estate attorney, title company, or other professionals to ensure legal compliance and protect your interests.

Remember that real estate laws can vary, so it's essential to research and understand the specific regulations in your area or consult with a professional to guide you through the process.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Selling your own home can be a challenging process, and there are several common mistakes that sellers often make. To increase your chances of a successful sale, it's important to avoid these pitfalls:

Incorrect Pricing

Setting the right price for your home is crucial. Overpricing can scare away potential buyers, while underpricing may lead to financial loss. Research the market, consider recent sales in your area, and consult with a real estate professional if needed.

Neglecting Home Repairs

A home in good condition is more likely to attract buyers. Neglecting necessary repairs or not presenting your home well can drive potential buyers away. Take the time to fix issues like leaks, peeling paint, or malfunctioning appliances.

Inadequate Presentation

First impressions matter. Poorly presented homes, both online and during showings, can deter potential buyers. Clean, declutter, and consider staging your home to make it more appealing. High-quality photos for online listings are essential.

Ignoring Curb Appeal

The exterior of your home creates the first impression. Neglecting curb appeal by not maintaining the lawn, garden, or exterior can turn off potential buyers before they even step inside. Enhance your home's curb appeal to make it inviting.

Being Too Emotionally Attached

Selling a home can be an emotional process, especially if you have lived there for a long time. However, it's crucial to detach emotionally and approach the sale as a business transaction. Emotional attachment can hinder negotiations and decision-making.

Limited Marketing

Effectively market your property to reach a wider audience. Utilize online platforms, social media, and traditional marketing methods. A lack of exposure can result in a longer time on the market and a reduced chance of finding the right buyer.

Unrealistic Expectations

Understand that the selling process can take time, and not every potential buyer will make an offer. Be realistic about your expectations regarding the timeline and the final sale price. Flexibility can be key to a successful sale.

Poor Communication

Timely and clear communication is essential throughout the selling process. Respond promptly to inquiries, be available for showings, and keep potential buyers informed. Lack of communication can create frustration and lead to missed opportunities.

Incomplete or Inaccurate Disclosures

Provide accurate and complete information about your property. Failing to disclose issues or providing misleading information can lead to legal troubles and may scare away potential buyers.

Not Seeking Professional Advice

While selling on your own can save on real estate agent commissions, it's important to seek professional advice when needed. Real estate transactions involve complex legal and financial aspects, and consulting with experts can prevent costly mistakes.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can enhance your chances of a successful and smooth home-selling process.

Give Us A Call Today