Why selling FSBO can be so unbelievably difficult

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 7, 2004

Dana K. – Your Friend in Real Estate

There are a few reasons why homeowners try to sell their home themselves, but the main reason is to save money.  If you successfully sell your home yourself, you can pocket several thousand dollars that you would otherwise pay to a real estate agent. And selling a home is easy, right? Wrong!

Do you really know how to market your home and get buyers through the door?

FSBOs (For Sale By Owners) tell us the biggest problem they have is their home suffers from a lack of exposure. Most of them paid several hundred dollars for a weekend classified ad in the daily paper. They also bought a “For Sale By Owner” yard sign. But unless the market was sizzling, few got any buyers through the door. Why?

The fact is, most legitimate buyers work with real estate agents! And real estate agents research the Multiple Listings Service to find homes for the buyers. Unless you are using a real estate agent, you’re most likely not in the Multiple Listing Service. This exposure alone is worth a lot of money. Some outside agency’s do charge a Fee for putting your home in the MLS system for you, but it stops there! The rest of the job is up to you. And if a Real Estate Agent does get the information from the MLS then they will have to have you sign an agreement to compensate them before they will bring their buyers around.

The other problem FSBOs have is the buyers who are not working with real estate agents are usually not the serious buyers. People who are ready to buy use agents because they don’t have to pay their agent a fee, and agents have the resources buyers need to get good homes at good prices. Unfortunately, most of the buyers that are left over are merely “tire kickers” and “low-ballers”. Sure, you may get a few people through the door, but most of them will walk in and out without any serious interest. Those who do might give you offending offers.

Most importantly, most real estate transactions are broker-to-broker (between buyer and seller agents). Frankly, most buyer agents do not like to bring their buyers through your door because they’re not going to get paid! So you’ve eliminated over 90% of the qualified buyers who are seriously looking to buy.

On top of the lack of exposure, do you even have the time to commit to this?

One of the keys to selling your home effectively is accessibility. Most likely you work full time. If you’re not around to show the house, you are going to have a very difficult time. Real estate agents spend a lot of their time at their listings . . . this is what they do for a living! If you’re not around, you are not going to sell your home.

Are you versed on the legal paperwork? You are exposed to a lot of liability!

Are you completely informed about the legal aspects of selling your home? Are you fully confident you are using all of the necessary (and correct) forms? Not only that, is your disclosure 100% accurate? Are you capable of handling the legal contracts? Any errors or omissions in these contracts can result in legal problems! If you’re not 100% confident, it’s wise to hire a professional real estate agent.

Dana K is a REALTOR with Latter & Blum Inc in LaPlace.