Seller's Articles – For the smart consumer

Five Reasons to Ask a Realtor to Assist in Your “For Sale by Owner” Home Sale
Opting to sell your home by yourself may be an excellent way to reduce your costs as a seller, particularly if you have the experience and time necessary to successfully manage the sale of your own home. 

Most people believe that when a home is listed as being “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO), the seller is on his or her own in terms of listing the home and completing the required disclosures.  Perhaps that was the case several decades ago, but today’s homeowners have a variety of options from which to choose when selling FSBO.

Reputable realtors offer packages for homeowners who opt to sell their own home.  These packages include listing services, promotional materials, advertising, and consultations about how to increase the home’s value. Realtors can also provide other services, creating a customized package for your specific home-selling needs

When you work with a realtor to sell your home, you gain access to years of experience and expertise.  This is the major advantage associated with selecting an agent with whom you can work throughout the sale process.  Realtors are certified professionals who know the intricacies of the real estate industry. 

A good realtor knows what it will take to sell your home and can show you how to do it.  If you are considering the FSBO option meet with a realtor to discuss your specific needs and goals. After the conversation, you will be much more knowledgeable about the home sale process.

If you opt to sell your home FSBO, be aware of the limitations you will face if you choose not to employ the services of realtor to assist with the process:

Fewer People Will See Your Home
Realtors generally will not show a home that is listed as FSBO to their home-buying clients.

The reason for this is quite simple.  Normally the seller pays a percentage-based commission to his or her agent.  Then another percentage-based commission is paid to the buyer’s agent out of the amount paid to the seller’s agent. 

Realtors acting on behalf of a homebuyer who opts to purchase a FSBO home are guaranteed payment only when a brokerage agreement has been negotiated with the buyer. Realtors prefer to deal with other realtors.  For this reason, when you list your home as FSBO you lose out on a lot of potential buyers.

You Are Responsible for Advertising Your Home
Almost every potential homebuyer conducts an Internet search at some point, and nearly every site that lists homes for sale relies upon the multiple listing service (MLS) for site content. 

When you decide to sell your home without an agent, understand that you will be required to prepare disclosure statements, contracts and other legal documents in accordance with federal and state requirements

The drawback to selling a home FSBO is that, unless you are a licensed Realtor or Real Estate broker, you cannot list a home on the MLS. 

If you elect to sell FSBO, find a realtor who will offer a listing service that will get your home on the MLS and bring potential buyers to your door.  You don’t want to be one of the many FSBO sellers who are forced to advertise on their own.

As mentioned above, the Internet is a popular search vehicle used by many potential buyers.  Therefore, a FSBO seller is at a definite disadvantage unless her or she is willing to make a serious commitment to advertising the home that is for sale.

Potential Buyers May Not Trust You
Trust is a very important part of any real estate transaction.  FBSO sellers often lose sales simply because they opted not to use a seller’s agent.  This is because working with a licensed agent protects the interested of both parties involved in the transaction.

Also, potential buyers are sometimes uncomfortable viewing a home when the home is occupied.  When you are both the owner and the agent, they may be hesitant to ask questions or make comments that would otherwise allow them to gain useful information about the home being sold.

FSBO Sellers Must Complete a Lot of Paperwork
In a traditional real estate transaction, realtors handle most of the clerical work.  When you decide to sell your home without an agent, understand that you will be required to prepare disclosure statements, contracts and other legal documents in accordance with federal and state requirements.

Fortunately, realtors are available to help you wade through the endless paperwork!

Many FSBO sellers who are unfamiliar with the legal processes involved in a real estate transaction are forced to hire an attorney.  If you instead choose to work with a competent realtor, he or she can obviate the need to hire an attorney, thereby reducing your overall expenditures.

Flat-Fee Service Providers Are Often Overrated
Because flat-fee real estate service providers have emerged only recently in the world of home sales, FSBO sellers who contract their services are often left disappointed, with little to show for their investment other than a smaller bank account balance. 

Beware of service providers who promise to list your home on the MLS and guarantee that your home will be shown by realtors.  More generally, be leery of flat-fee service providers.  Often the results do not justify your investment. 

After having read these top five reasons why you should consider contracting with a licensed realtor to assist you in the FSBO process, you probably realize that FSBO sellers reap many advantages when the sale goes smoothly, but that there are just as many potential roadblocks standing in the way.

If you are determined to sell your home FSBO, then reviewing the information presented above will help you educate yourself about some of the issues you may face.  Long before you list your home, it is important to establish a clear plan of action for the sale.

As you are finishing up any last-minute painting touch-ups and waiting for the photographer, consider which areas of the home-sale process could go more smoothly with the assistance of a contractor, attorney or other service provider.

Then add up the fees of these professionals and compare the total cost to that of the reduced commission rate that a realtor would assess when assisting you with your FSBO home sale.

Selling a home FSBO is not a difficult process when you utilize the services of a competent, licensed realtor who has experience with FSBO sales in your area. 

A good realtor with a good reputation can help convince other realtors to show your home even when it is FSBO.  Working closely with an experienced realtor, you will be able to sell your home more quickly!

Realtors have many years of experience in coordinating successful real estate transactions, both traditional and FSBO.  Both types of transactions can be rewarding to both the buyer and the seller, but only when both parties are properly educated and prepared to do their part.  Becoming an educated seller is the best gift you can give to potential buyers, and a realtor’s knowledge and experience can assist you in selling your home, regardless of the specific details of your chosen sales process.