Is FSBO right for me? (For Sale by Owner)

Many homeowners believe that selling a home is simple and wonder why they should pay a broker fee for something they could do themselves. Almost half of all the FSBO’s last year said they would hire a professional next time they sold! Thirty percent said they were unhappy with the results they achieved by choosing FSBO.


Many FSBO’s say the time, paperwork and everyday responsibilities involved were not worth the amount of money they saved in commissions. For others the financial savings were even more disappointing. By the time they figured the amount of fees paid to outside consultants, inspectors, appraisers, title lawyer, escrow and loan officers, marketing and advertising…they would have been better off to have paid the broker’s fee which would have included many of the upfront charges.

Selling a home requires an intimate understanding of the real estate market. If the property is priced too high, it will sit and develop a reputation for being a problem property. If the property is priced too low, you will cost yourself serious money.

These are the questions you need to know before assuming the responsibility versus employing a professional:

Do I have the time, energy, know how, and ability to devote a full-forced effort to sell my home?
One of the keys to selling your home efficiently and profitably is complete accessibility. Many homes have sat on the market much longer than necessary because the owner was unwilling or unavailable to show the property. Realize that a certain amount of hours each day is necessary to sell your home.

Am I prepared to deal with an onslaught of buyers who perceive FSBO’s as targets for low balling?
One of the challenges of selling a home is screening unqualified prospects and dealing with low-ballers. It often goes unnoticed how much time, effort and expertise it requires to spot these people quickly. Settling for a lowball bid is usually worse than paying broker commissions.

Am I offering financing options to the buyer? Am I prepared to answer questions about financing?
One of the keys to selling, whether it’s a home, a car…anything, is to have all the necessary information the prospective buyer needs and to offer them options. By offering financing options you give the home buyer the ability to work on their terms and open up the possibilities of selling your home quicker and more profitably. A professional real estate agent will have a complete team, from lenders to title reps for you to utilize…and they’ll be at your disposal.

Do I fully understand the legal ramifications and necessary steps required in selling a home?
Beside the local requirements, federal and state requirements must be met. If you are not aware of these, the closing/title company will provide the necessary documents and charge you on top of the settlement fees for this additional service and it can (and usually does) cause delays in the closing. A professional real estate agent can avoid these problems and the extra costs.

Am I aware of the current market condition and how to cope in an aggressive and ever changing market?
The marketing approach will depend on the current conditions in the market…the inventory, Internet market and what other professional agents (competition) are doing. For example, currently (November 2005) there is an extremely high inventory (currently over 4,700 properties on the market in Fairfax County alone) of homes on the market, and a low demand of purchasers.

Selling a home is not a simple process and the inexperienced seller can inadvertently give a buyer a chance to back out of a contract at the last minute.



© 2003 JRL, Inc.