Steps in for sale by owner


When doing a for sale by owner, also known as a FSBO, step number one is always a Contract for Sale and Purchase.  After that, the buyer works on obtaining financing and doing inspections.  After that, a closing will occur where documents and money changes hands.


Bob: I've got a question about selling my own house. I'm doing it for sale by owner. I want to know, is there maybe a state website or any website that gives the actual documents I need to have and disclosures, et cetera? In what order I need to have them?

Attorney Tom Olsen: No Bob, but you're making it overly complicated, okay? First of all Bob, I can help you but let's start from beginning. Bob, step number one, always is a contract for sale and purchase, it is signed by the buyer, signed by the seller, that way we know we have a meeting of the minds. Traditionally, your buyer would go out and prepare that contract and present it to you. Bob, you're going to have a lot of people walk through your house and say "Bob you know what I'm interested. I'd like to make an offer. What I do from here".

Bob, for that I have a form for you. If you e-mail me, I will send you that form. That form is called an offer to purchase. It is a very informal form between you and any prospective buyer where you go back and forth. You agree on some basic terms like a purchase price and a few other things before you go to the next step, which is a full-blown contract for sale and purchase, Bob. So Bob, I would suggest that you get the offer to purchase form from me. You could email me. That's the easiest way to do that. Easiest way to email me is through our website at

I'll send you that offer to purchase. You print out 10 of them. As you have people walk into your house and say "Bob, you know what? I may want to make an offer on your house". Hand them this form. You guys can go back and forth, see if you can reach a basic agreement on basic terms. Then come to me and I'll do a full-blown per contract for sale and purchase. Now Bob, there is no law that requires you to fill out one of those 10 page disclosure forms. As a seller, I'd recommend if you don't have to then you don't because it's only going to get you in trouble.

Bob: Right, got it.

Attorney Tom Olsen: So Bob, once the contract gets signed and your buyer goes out and starts looking for financing, once the financing is approved, it's time to have a closing where documents and moneys change hands. Bob, I am a closing agent and I can help you close that transaction for you. Bob, does that answer your question?

Bob: Yes, it does. I appreciate it.