My Number one FSBO Tip? Don’t sell it yourself! A “FSBO,” or house “for sale by owner” can sell fast, and for as much as it would have if listed with a real estate agent. Sometimes – but not normally. Consider the following ten points.
1. Buyers work with agents. Most look at MLS listings. Sell it yourself, and they won’t see or hear about your home. How do you find that “right” buyer or get top dollar when you’re invisible to most of the market?
2. Your FSBO will get lower offers. Naturally, the buyer thinks you’ll take less because you’re saving the commission! Save a $10,000 commission, get $10,000 less – where’s the advantage in that?
3. Advertising is expensive. The costs the real estate office normally pays are yours if you sell it yourself. How much could you spend on ads if it takes a a year to sell?
4. They have the resources. And you don’t. Agents have books of sold properties to look at, for example, to determine the best price for your home. You can dig through county records, but you do have to value your time too, right?
5. They know the market. What’s the target market for your house? Young couples, retirees? What features do they want? You should know these things before you write your ads. An experienced real estate salesperson will know.
6. They know the laws. What about written disclosures, and who pays for the real estate transfer tax? When you sell it yourself you don’t get to ignore the laws.
7. Are you a good salesperson? Can you develop rapport and properly answer objections? Could your defensiveness scare off a buyer who criticizes your home? Think back on your own purchases, and you’ll realize that a good salesperson makes a difference.
8. Paperwork. Will you help the buyer properly fill out an offer to purchase? An agent would. Do you have the other closing documents ready?
9. Agents negotiate for you. When did you last learn a new negotiating technique? Can you counter-offer without scaring off a buyer? A good salesperson is trained in these skills.
10. You may not save anything. The documents, newspaper advertising, signs for the yard – it’s all your expense when you sell it yourself. After your hard work, you may get low offers and negotiate poorly. Honestly, sellers often net less money from the sale when they try to save the commission.
Most “FSBO” sellers eventually turn to a real estate agent for help. You could learn 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. That’s my number one FSBO tip.