FSBO-For Sale By Owner Homes Near Me…What You Need To Know

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Still thinking of selling your home FSBO?? Make sure your listing has the correct data and accurately portrays your homes features, quality of workmanship and materials,  overall condition, and the estimated fair market value.

Public records are not always accurate and you can’t rely on the assessor’s value or sites like Zillow, Trulia or Redfin. Why? Those sites base their info off the county data and Realtor data and do not know the current condition of your home. Have you done Remodeling?? Updating? Maybe your home has deferred maintenance or other conditions that would affect marketability and/or value? These play a major factor in the overall value of your home and these sites only speculate at best what the market reactions are to these items.

Another issue is including finished basement area in your overall gross living area (Gross Living Area is the area that is livable ABOVE GRADE). As stated many times, basements are basements and must be treated as such. Finished basements add more value than an unfinished basement however it may be valued at a lesser or sometimes equal dollar amount than your above grade areas. Your 3000 sq.ft. above grade home with a 1500 sq.ft. finished basement is just that. It’s not a 4500 sq.ft. livable home and therefore should be compared as closely as possible to other homes that have the same design/style and footprint layout.

Let’s dive into a FSBO listing I found that exhibits bad data being used:

The following is an example of the bad data that is being used in listings when not performed by a professional which in turn affects the value of the property when compared to the wrong comparable sales.

In this example, the house is listed as 3233 livable sq.ft. While this may be correct as a “total finished liveable area” it is wrong when estimating a fair market value on the home. Here is why…


The property is a one story Ranch home with a full finished basement. The ABOVE GRADE GLA ( Gross Living Area) is actually 2069 sfsq.ft. The basement is 2069 sq.ft. with 1164 of it finished. Basements no matter how they are finished are still considered a basement. The basement area must be valued as such with finished and unfinished areas separated out from the above grade sq.ft. Therefore this home should be compared to similar homes that are within the same Above grade area and similar basement sizes regardless of the finished areas. Basements and finished areas DO add value to a home but they are typically valued differently than the ABOVE GRADE areas. Remember this… There is no such thing as a terrace level even if you can walk out the back or side. As long as one side of a house is below grade per ANSI standards (used in appraising) then it is considered a basement.

How Many Rooms? Somebody, Please Tell Me!

Secondly, they state the home is a 4 bedroom 4 bathroom home when in fact it is a 3 bedroom and 3 bathroom home with a bedroom and bathroom in the finished basement area. Remember, just because you finish off your basement,  that doesn’t mean it’s now considered part of the above ground GLA. Preferably, when doing a comparable “apples to apples” search, comparing it to a 3 bedroom and 3 bathroom home above grade with a finished basement of similar size or finishes is what you’re after. A proper listing would have been to market this home as a 2069 sq.ft. (insert design/style here) home with 3 beds and 3 baths above grade with a 2069 sq.ft. basement that features an 1164 sq.ft. finished liveable area that includes a recreation room, bedroom, and full bathroom.

Also to be noted is the design/style whereas, it is stated as being a Colonial home. Whether you’re an expert or not in home designs and styles, one search on Google and you’ll quickly learn that it is 1 story Ranch with basement.

Misleading listings leading to longer days on the market?

So in this example, the home has incorrect data and from my research, is overpriced for the area and thus, sitting on the market for over 100 days and counting. Based off a preliminary search of the area, this house is priced at $600K in a market that has a range of similar homes that have sold within the past 1 yr of $430K-$500K and therefore, when the information presented is incorrect and misleading, the overall effect on its marketability and being sold can be in large part attributed to the incorrect description of the property with regards to the liveable above and below grade square footage.

Location, location, location…sound familiar?

Location is key as well. After describing a home correctly, comparing your home to homes that have sold within your immediate neighborhood is the first place to look. Only when all definitive search criteria for finding comparable properties have been exhausted within the immediate area, it is then that expanding to other competing subdivisions or areas are acceptable.

Here is an excerpt from the GA Real Estate Appraiser Board:

GA Appraisal Law Chapter 593-3 

Section D)  select comparable properties for valuation of a property that are located within the market area of the subject. Absent a credible real estate appraisal explanation for a different market area, the market area for residential properties shall be presumed to be comparable properties located first within the same subdivision as the subject and second located within one mile of the subject;

It takes two to FSBO!

Don’t let your home sit on the market because of incorrect and/or misleading information. If you are going to bypass a Realtor, wouldn’t make sense to have accurate property and home data in order to list your property in a very professional and “full disclosure” manner?

Real Estate Appraisers know how to determine the estimated fair market value and give you the information you need at a fraction of the cost. Give us a call or email us for more information and pricing, we’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you have!

Our appraisals include the following:

  •  Full fair market value appraisal
  •  The best comparable sales within your designated and competing neighborhood market area
  •  Detailed sketch of your home using ANSI Standards with correct above/below grade square footage
  •  Plat map of your property
  • Market data for the area including trends
  • After report delivery phone call to discuss any information needed.

We look forward to connecting with you and providing you with not only great service but also a product that can benefit you when you need it most.

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