Don’t sell it yourself! Sometimes a “FSBO,” or house “for sale by owner” can sell as fast, and for as much as it would have if listed with a real estate agent. Sometimes. Before you decide to give it a try though, consider the following ten points.
- Most buyers work with agents. They look through MLS listings. If you don’t list with an agent, most buyers will never see or hear about your home. It’s hard to find that “right” buyer or get top dollar when your invisible to most of the market.
- FSBOs get lower offers. It’s only logical. The buyer thinks you’ll take less because you’re saving the commission! Save $10,000, get $10,000 less – where’s the advantage in that?
- You pay advertising. All the costs the real estate office normally pays are yours if you sell it yourself. How much will you spend on ads if it takes a year to sell?
- You don’t have the resources. The agent has books of sold properties to look at, for example, to determine the best price for your home. You can get that information by digging through county records, but you do have to value your time too, right?
- You may not know the market. What’s the target market for your house? Young couples, retirees? What features are they looking for? You should know these things before you write your ads. An experienced real estate salesperson will know.
- You may not know the laws. What about written disclosures, and who pays the real estate transfer tax? Just because you sell it yourself doesn’t mean you get to ignore the laws.
- You may not be a good salesperson. How do you develop rapport and properly answer objections? Will your defensiveness scare off a buyer who criticizes your home? Think back to your own purchases. You know a good salesperson makes a difference.
- A real estate agent handles the paperwork. Can you help the buyer properly fill out an offer to purchase? Do you have the other closing documents ready?
- Real estate agents negotiate for you. When is the last time you learned a new negotiating technique? Do you know how to counter-offer without angering a buyer? A good salesperson is trained in these skills.
- You may not save a penny. Documents, newspaper advertising, signs for the yard, and more – it’s all your expense when you sell it yourself. Then after your hard work, you get low offers, and negotiate poorly? The truth is that sellers often net less money from the sale when they try to save the commission.
You can see why most “FSBO” sellers eventually turn to a real estate agent for help. You can learn to do many of the things an agent does, but is it worth it to spend all that time and maybe not even save any money? Don’t sell it yourself unless you really know what you’re doing, and you’re ready for the hassle.