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How to Sell Your Arizona Home by Owner

Hal WierzbickiJune 11, 2024
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Upgrading, downsizing, or changing locations?  When it comes time to sell your home, a million different decisions must be made.  One of the biggest is whether you’ll work with a real estate agent or sell your home FSBO.

Let’s be honest: FSBO has never seemed more accessible. People now sell houses on Facebook Marketplace. But that doesn’t mean those houses are actually selling — or that they’re selling for as much as you might want them to.

With the expertise of John Gluch of Gluch Group — and a hearty dash of our own research — we’ve put together a complete list of everything you need to know about selling your house in Arizona. John Gluch is a top-rated RealtorⓇ in Phoenix, Arizona, leading a boutique team of real estate agents who work with their clients to sell homes for top dollar. A real estate coach passionate about helping others grow, Gluch has thoughtfully taken the time to discuss his thoughts regarding FSBO.

The challenges and benefits of Arizona FSBO home sales

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is always an option for Arizona residents who need to sell their home.  But is it a good idea to do so? What are the pros and cons — what would make it no longer worthwhile?

As is often the case when choosing between a DIY or a guided solution to a problem, the pros and cons come down to cost and control.  Selling your home by owner in Arizona means you have more control over the process and don’t have to pay for agent commissions, typically the largest single cost in selling a home.  

On the other hand, all of the hassles, all of the problem-solving, all of the listing duties, and other responsibilities are all yours.  That includes lawyer fees, buyer’s agent commissions, and more. Moreover, other agents may not be as inclined to show your property. Traditionally, home sales involve a sort of reciprocity — the seller’s agent splits their commission with the buyer’s agent. That doesn’t happen if there’s no seller’s agent.

“RealtorsⓇ are not incentivized to sell FSBOs because those people are typically not proactively offering a commission to RealtorsⓇ,” warns Gluch. “So, you're eliminating over 90 percent of the market by not allowing RealtorsⓇ to promote these to their clients. So, that is a huge downside.”

According to the National Association of Realtors, only 7% of homes sold in 2022-23 were FSBO, an all-time low.  While that number may be poised to rise, there’s clearly a good reason for choosing an agent over doing it yourself.

But stop and consider this: Why are you thinking about selling a home FSBO to begin with? Is it just because you can’t find an agent?

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Understanding the Arizona real estate market

Nationally, mortgage rates are rising for the first time in decades, while housing inventory has remained at historic lows.  When supply is low and demand is high, prices rise, making now potentially one of the best times to sell your home.

Housing throughout Arizona is in high demand.  However, that demand is tempered by the high prices and high mortgage interest rates.  Consequently, it’s often taking longer to sell in some areas; for example, in Cochise County, the average time a house stays listed on the market has reached 94, a 10.6% increase for Q1 2024.  Conversely, Maricopa County homes are selling 16.7% faster.  Median sale prices are increased across the board.

Preparing your Arizona home for sale

If you’re looking to take advantage of high home prices and demand, making your home as appealing as possible for potential buyers is critical.  Creating a welcoming first impression is one of the most difficult challenges you’ll face when selling FSBO in Arizona.  From curb appeal to interior decoration, staging your home for potential buyers is extremely important.  92% of Realtors® recommend improving the curb appeal of a home before listing it for sale.

When selling an Arizona home FSBO, you don’t have the trained eye of a real estate agent on your side.  So, how do you properly stage your home for buyers?

  • Remove dead plants and weeds from the landscaping.

  • Clear patios and decks of small items such as planters, toys, and BBQ grills.

  • Check the condition of the exterior walls and refresh the paint and trim.

  • Remove, move, or hide items like garbage cans.  Clear discarded debris like wood scraps and extra building materials.

  • Clean the windows.

  • Patch and paint interior walls, aiming for neutral colors.

  • Clear out unnecessary objects and accessories, and limit staged groups of objects to small numbers to hint how a buyer can use the space.

Overall, it’s important to think of the home through the eyes of the buyer.  Clear out anything uniquely yours and leave it a neutral space where a buyer can mentally insert their life to picture how they would live in the space.

Pricing your FSBO home competitively

Selling a home isn’t like listing an item on an auction site; you can’t put it up for $1 and see where the bids end up.  You need to pick a starting point, a price at which you’ll be happy selling the home.  Real estate agents can access local home sale data to estimate your home's price — but what can you do if you’re selling FSBO?

The first step is a CMA, or Comparative Market Analysis.  Home prices for similar homes vary wildly between neighborhoods, let alone different cities throughout Arizona.  For example, median home prices in Central Tucson have only increased 1.1% from 2022 to 2023, while prices in Pima Southwest rose by 30.1% in the same period.  Taking comps from the wrong area can leave you ignored on the marketplace – or snapped up for well below market rate.

“The hottest market right now is Chandler,” says Gluch.”Has been for quite a while. Statistically, right now for every seller, two buyers want to buy in Chandler. Buckeye is an area where the market is quite slow, probably the slowest in the state. Buckeye would be the opposite; for every new listing, there's half a buyer.”

A good CMA will locate nearby homes, often from the same subdivision, that have sold in the last half year to create a competitive price.  

Another option is a Broker Price Opinion (BPO).  BPOs can be external – from brokers who only view the outside of a home – or internal from brokers with full access to the inside.  Even if you’re selling your Arizona home by owner, you can still order a BPO from a broker or real estate agent and get their professional opinion on a competitive price.

Marketing your FSBO property effectively

It’s one thing to say your home is for sale, but it’s another to put that listing in front of the perfect buyers.  One of the biggest benefits of using a real estate agent is their ability to create a compelling listing that displays your home's best parts to prospective buyers.  It’s not just about staging; it’s about taking the right pictures with high-quality gear, angles, and compositions that inspire potential buyers.

Agents also have the benefit of access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which can put your home for sale on a variety of public and private lists of for-sale homes.  As an FSBO seller, you can pay for additional services that will list your home through MLS for an additional fee that your agent would normally cover.

To make sure your home marketing is as effective as possible:

  • Consider creating a virtual tour, either with 360-degree photos or a video walkthrough.

  • Use online listing platforms and social media to advertise your home for sale.

  • Don’t neglect traditional marketing, like yard signs, flyers, and scheduled open houses.

In particular, the internet is your best tool.  52% of home buyers find the home they buy from an online resource.

Legal and financial considerations for FSBO in Arizona

Buyers are often skeptical about FSBO homes.  Because of their rarity, many people view them as sketchy.  Is there something wrong with the home?  Is the seller hiding something?  Are they trying to bypass regulations and disclosures?  This is a stigma you have to fight past to sell your home FSBO.

One of the best things you can do to improve your outlook is to get a detailed home inspection from a reputable inspector.  The comprehensive report they give you can be provided to potential buyers to disclose the quality of the home.  

Selling a home is also going to involve plenty of paperwork.  7% of FSBO sellers list understanding and handling the paperwork as their most difficult task!  Generally, the best option is to talk to a real estate lawyer to help draft and review contracts.  They’ll make sure you have all of the relevant contingencies and can review the validity of the offers you receive.

Of course, this is also adding an additional lawyer’s fee to the money you’re spending handling your home sale yourself.  On top of the fact that you’re also responsible for paying the buyer’s agent’s commission, the financial benefit of skipping a seller’s agent’s commission with FSBO starts to look a little thin.

Alternative options to FSBO in Arizona

If you’ve read through all of this and you’re starting to rethink the DIY approach, maybe the For Sale By Owner process isn’t for you.  It is, after all, just one of many options.  You might also consider something else.

Working with a flat-fee real estate agent

A flat-fee or limited-service real estate agent is an agent, yes, but they cost a lot less.  At the same time, they leave you with more control over what you do and don’t do.  It’s a good middle ground between full-service agents and FSBO.  Just make sure you’re getting a good one who won’t nickel-and-dime you for listings, photos, and other services.

Selling to an iBuyer

An iBuyer is an Instant Buyer.  They’re companies that algorithmically buy and sell homes quickly and with as little hassle.  While these were a great option a few years ago, some of the biggest iBuyers have closed their doors in the last few years.  It’s faster than working with an agent but often comparably expensive, and you have to do the legwork to ensure their offers are good enough.

Choosing a real estate agent after all

Another great option is to find one of the best real estate agents in your area.  Redy makes it easy by putting those agents in competition, bidding for the opportunity to represent you on the market.  You review their bids and pick the best one, and you’re ready to sell.

There’s no one right answer for how to sell your Arizona home; just the right answer for you. 

Is FSBO in Arizona right for you?

“Is there ever a time this is right? Maybe,” says Gluch. “The new NAR rules, in light of the recent lawsuit, require buyer's agents to sign their buyers to a Buyer Agreement to get them to pay their fees. So, I think it's more likely that those agents — because they have a contract with their buyer that says their buyer is going to pay them money when they sell them a house — they're more likely to show FSBOs.”

NAR has initiated some substantial changes in the way that commissions work. In some ways, this could help FSBO sales — because real estate agents will be more incentivized to show homes that don’t have a seller’s agent.

Picking the FSBO option can be the best option if you’re willing to do the legwork, the staging, the marketing, and all the rest on your own.  You don’t necessarily need to be better than an agent, but you do need to be Good Enough, and that’s not always an easy bar to clear.  

On the other hand, if FSBO doesn’t seem as attractive as it once did, working with an agent is always possible.  Whether you find a real estate agent based on local advertising, recommendations from family, or the competitive bidding process on Redy, you can be sure they’ll work to make your listing as attractive as possible.

So, which option is right for you? Make an informed decision. Before deciding, put your property up on Redy. It’s totally free to check out your options.

Hal Wierzbicki is a professional freelance writer with nearly two decades of experience covering diverse topics, including real estate, marketing, health, and travel. His work has appeared on sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and more. When he's not writing, you can often find him hiking local trails and enjoying nature.

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