On the one hand, selling your home “for sale by owner” can save you a ton of money when it comes to the percentage a real estate agent might take in commission. While you’d still have to pay the buyer’s agent a fee, you stand to walk away a few thousand dollars better off than if you had hired a professional. But is it really worth it?
You Have a Job
A real job. A job other than selling your own home. Selling homes is a full-time job and you may not really have the time in each day to dedicate to showing your home (during hours that work for buyers), marketing your home, or dealing with all of the legalities associated with making a final sale. Unless you are a real estate agent already, selling your own home may end up translating to hours and hours of unpaid work.
A Weak Internet Strategy
People used to be able to put a listing in the paper and a sign on the lawn and people would find and be interested in their homes. It’s not the same anymore. Even if you spend time listing your home on real estate listing services, you won’t have as much luck spreading the word about the house you have for sale. Why? Because real estate agents have a network of contacts – other industry professionals and clients looking for homes. They can email them, direct them to listings, and make more efficient use of every listing put up on the web.
Protecting Your Interests
Most of the people looking at your home will have an agent and that agent only has the buyer’s interests at heart. For-sale-by-owner (FSOB) sellers do have a bit of a negative reputation within the industry, too – as people who are difficult or who will not be realistic when it comes to making a sale. Because of this, some buyer’s agents won’t even attempt to show your home.
Your own agent, on the other hand, is interested in protecting you and selling your home. She’ll make sure you’ve staged properly, set a realistic price point, and don’t seem over-eager in negotiations.
You Probably Won’t Save Money
We started out by saying you might save money on your own, but is that really true? Even if you don’t have to pay commission to a real estate agent, will your home sell for the same amount as it would have if an agent were involved? Will you accept an offer that is too low or end up spending more on other fees? Studies show that FSBO sales typically work out better in markets with lower price points, but you may end up hurting yourself if you live in a more affluent area where competition is hotter.
Selling your own home seems like it makes sense, but there is a lot more to it than many might realize. Hiring a real estate agent may not only net a greater selling price, but will prevent you from legal liability if the process doesn’t go smoothly.