Your Guide to Avoiding Scams as an FSBO

Your Guide to Avoiding Scams as an FSBO

The experience of buying or selling a house can range from smooth sailing to a total nightmare because of all the scams scattered around the market. This is especially true if you’re listing your house as For Sale by the Owner, also known as FSBO. While selling as a FSBO is an entirely legal way of selling a house, you are still opening yourself to a lot of risks like those who have an intention to scam you. As an FSBO seller, these scammers can easily go under your radar and give you trouble. To avoid all that, here’s a simple guide to help you see some of the red flags while being listed as an FSBO seller.

Scam #1: The Buyer Doesn’t Want to See the House

If you encounter a buyer who’s completely content with just seeing the pictures of the house on your listing without even seeing it in person, then you should immediately consider this t as a red flag. Buying a house is a huge commitment, and it entails a lot of things along with it. You’re not just buying a house; you’re also immersing yourself in a completely new neighborhood that you may be utterly unfamiliar to. This is why personally inspecting a house and its surrounding areas is such a massive deal for legitimate buyers. 

If a buyer says that they’re living out of the country and are looking for a new house to move into, a sensible person would either take the time to fly to the location or have someone personally inspect the house you’re selling. As much as possible, avoid these buyers as they could easily just mean trouble to you.

Scam #2: Divulging Too Much Information

Any financial information should be safeguarded at all times and should only be provided if it’s absolutely necessary. However, if a certain buyer seems to be more than happy to share their financial details over email, including sending financial statements or bank records, don’t fall for it just yet. The reason it’s easy for them to send over those pieces of information is probably because they’re using fake but almost believable financial records. If they’re more than willing to send those over without even meeting you, then you should be extra suspicious about it.

Scam #3: Not Working with an Agent

As mentioned above, by listing your property as FSBO, you’re opening yourself to many risks, such as scammers. If you encounter a buyer who’s also not working with a real estate agent, then that’s almost a clear indication that they’re at least a little suspicious. The reason for this is that in today’s market, all serious buyers are working with an agent as it is of no cost for them to do so as the buyer agents commission is paid for by the seller. As such, if you come across a buyer who is unrepresented, it could mean that they are not vetted and thus, not serious buyers. This is because before a buyers agent agrees to work with a buyer, they will want to make sure that the buyer is pre-approved by a lender as an agent is not going to spend their time showing properties to a buyer who is not pre-approved for a home.

Bonus Scam: Submitting Offers to Your Email

One bonus scam to keep an eye out for are buyers who randomly submit offers to your email. In today’s world, the rise of hacks are on the rise and one way these unscrupulous scammers work is by sending you an email with an attachment that states that the attachment is an offer for your property. As an eager FSBO seller, you may be inclined to click on that attachment. But if you have not met with that prospective buyer or had any previous communication with the prospective buyer, then it is highly advisable that you do not click on any attachments. But if you do, then that scammer/hacker can gain access to your account and can then cause a multitude of problems for you. For example, once they have access to your email, they  can then send any future prospective buyers with false wiring instructions which direct the funds to go into their account instead of into the account of the title company.


These are just a few red flags a FSBO seller should be aware of. If you want to ensure a safer and legitimate transaction, it’s strongly recommended that you work with a reputable real estate agent since many real estate professionals are privy to these and many other types of scams. They can offer their expertise and use their contacts to find a vetted buyer that’s worth your time.

How Can We Help You?

If you are interested in selling as a  For Sale By Owner, you’re in the right place. Get the legal assistance you need to sell your FSBO property. Saman Saba is a real estate attorney in Maryland working to empower real estate sellers and buyers so that they may make better and more informed decisions regarding one of their most important assets: their residential properties. 

In an effort to help you successfully sell your property as a For Sale By Owner, we have prepared a FREE FSBO Success Packet which includes:

  1. An in depth explanation of our the flat fee pricing model and which services are included.
  2.  A complimentary copy of Saman’s her bestselling book, Sell Your Home With Confidence: Reduce Your Liability When Selling, FSBO EDITION.
  3. A complimentary viewing of the 30 minute Masterclass, ​​HOME EQUITY PROTECTION: How To Not Be Bamboozled When Selling which highlights the main ways that home sellers can leave thousands of dollars on the table when selling.
  4. And so much more!

Click here to access the FREE FSBO Success Packet. 

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    Hi! I am Saman Saba, Esq., real estate attorney, REALTOR®, and best selling author! I help real estate owners, buyers, and business owners find the right property that meets their unique needs.

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