So you’re thinking of selling your home without a listing agent and saving 1.5-3% in potential commissions. It doesn’t seem that hard, right? Take some pictures, get it on the MLS or online, and buyers will come running with offers.
While some people have the time and experience to effectively sell without an agent, most FSBO home sales fail. It’s no surprise that the percentage of US homes sold by owner has seen a steady decline.
Here are 10 top reasons not to sell your home by owner.
When you decide to FSBO (For Sale By Owner) be prepared to sacrifice a lot of time. From staging the property and taking perfect pictures to getting the description and marketing right. You’ll also spend time showing the property, entertaining lookie-loo’s and door-kickers, and talking with agents who won’t take you seriously.
When you sell by owner you may think you’re saving money but in reality you’re often spending a lot of money up front with no guarantee of any return. Listing agents spend a calculated amount of money up front to make sure a listing sells and ultimately pays both you and them both fairly.
3. Saving On Commission
Choosing to FSBO doesn’t really save you money. On average, homes sold by agents get $230k compared to $180k for FSBO. When you find the right agent they will price your property to get the most money in the shortest time, a combination that can mean 10-30% more net profit. When you are considering saving 1.5-3% on a listing commission you should take that into consideration.
4. No Money Up Front
Listing agents do not charge anything upfront to sell your home. If they spend thousands and can’t sell it for the price you want, they are out those thousands, not you! This is perhaps one of the greatest things about using an agent. There is an extremely low risk and cost to doing so!
The perception of FSBO sellers is that they are not serious about selling their properties and are often just testing the market or seeing if they can get some far fetched price or perfect buyer that isn’t realistic. They are often not taken seriously in the real estate community because they don’t see the value in representation by an agent or broker.
You might be ready to post your home on Facebook and Craigslist a few times, but you don’t have the ultimate home selling tool – the MLS. The multiple listing service can be accessed by licensed real estate agents, and is the way to get your home listed on sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia. A large majority of home buyers begin their search on sites like these, and you want your home to be seen by as many buyers as possible to get the best price. It’s no surprise that homes sold via FSBO have seen a steady decline as online real estate has become the norm.
When you sell your home without an agent, any mistakes you make can cost you greatly. Agents have something called E&O (Errors & Omissions) Insurance. This protects them when mistakes are made in contracts. Others can make sure to exploit every little mistake you make selling your home.
8. Agent Boycott/Sabotage
When you decide to sell your home yourself you are telling other agents that you don’t understand their value in a multi-billion dollar industry. Agents often see FSBO sellers as easy marks to negotiate against because they have the upper hand. They control the buyer/offer and can negotiate their own commission. They can also pick your property and price apart because they have the expertise to do so. They don’t need to worry about treating you unfairly because the chance of them dealing with you again is slim to none. More often than not they will simply ignore your listing altogether to avoid the hassle.
9. Pricing Incorrectly
Pricing your home incorrectly when you list it can be the worst mistake, and can greatly affect days on market and final sales price. Pricing too high will mean fewer people see it, resulting in fewer offers. Price it too low and you’re conveying that something is wrong with the property or that you are desperate to sell. More days on market will also signal to buyers that something is wrong and can ultimately mean less money upon final sale.
10. Low Ballers
When you FSBO you attract investors and low-ballers who see your inexperience and ignorance as a prime opportunity. What may seem like a lot to you may be a steal to them. An experienced agent will understand this and negotiate the most money possible for you.