Is FSBO The Best Option For You?
I hear this all the time from people..."Why can't I just sell my own house and save the commission money?" The answer is that you can and it will probably save you money in the short term. However, there are a lot of pitfalls that come with selling your home FSBO and many people don't even realize the trouble that it causes until it is already too late! There are perks to having a real estate agent handle the transaction for you that will be worth every penny of the commission money! If you do decide to do the transaction yourself you need to be fully prepared and know everything that you need to do in order to make the transaction as stress free as possible.
Time is of the essence
If you are considering selling your home FSBO consider this? How long do you have to sell your home? Here is the problem...often times homeowners that do their own sale end up taking a much longer time to actually sell their home than the ones that use an agent. Selling a home takes a huge amount of time and energy from the marketing to interviewing potential buyers, and that is not even counting the time it takes to do all of the paperwork. The home preparations and accurate pricing take time, finding potential buyers takes time, negotiating a deal takes time. A real estate agent will handle all of that for you and you will save a lot of time in the process. If you are considering selling your home yourself then you may want to consider how much free time you have to dedicate to this and if it is going to be enough so that your home isn't sitting on the market for months or even years!
How much money are you saving?
The market is changing fast! Home values are becoming increasingly harder to pin down and many people have no realistic view of what their home is actually worth. Truth be told if you ask 10 people what their home maybe one out of the ten will be in the right ball park! Homeowners will typically either overprice or under price their homes which is bad all the way around. For one thing buyers think that if you are listing your home FSBO then that means they can get a deal and some of them may even try to take advantage of this. If your home is under priced then a buyer who has been looking at homes will know that it is not priced to market value and they will offer to pay what you are asking to "get a great deal." If you under price your home with an agent then the agent will market it in such a way that it creates a bidding war where buyers often bid your home up over market value essentially getting you more than your home is worth. Also if you are planning on putting your home up for sale FSBO and you over price it you wont know that it is overpriced so it will sit on the market for a long time and get no offers or it will get a lot of offers that you will think are low ball but are actually market value. If you list with an agent then the agent will be able to update you on any changes in home values and keep your home at the right listing price so that it gets sold quickly putting the most possible money into your bank account!
Skills, Experience, and Expertise
Houses are NOT sold by putting a sign in the yard, holding an open house, and slapping it up on Craigslist! That used to work okay, but nowadays it just would not fly. You need to consider your skill set...do you have connections to real estate agents that may be representing a buyer for your home? Do you have the marketing skills to get your home in front of many different buyers? Do you have the staging skills to make your home shine in a professional light? Do you have the photography skills to create great listing pictures? Are you knowledgeable about the market you are trying to sell a home in? Do you know what the required disclosures are for the country, state, county, and city that you are selling your home in? Do you have the money to hire a real estate attorney if you fail to disclose something and end up getting sued? Do you have the negotiating skills to make sure that you can hold your own with an experienced real estate agent that is representing the buyer? I think you get the point...the commission paid to an agent is payment for them doing all of the above without bothering you with the details. They take care of everything and they work with you to make sure that you have a fun, stress-free transaction while still making money on your home. If you don't have all of the skills needed to properly sell a home you may want to consider hiring someone who has the skills, experience, and expertise to do it for you.
Creepers, stalkers, and window shoppers
Unfortunately, this is the darker side of home selling that agents rarely want to talk about. As a real estate agent I know when a buyer is serious about wanting to buy a home and as soon as they have a pre-qualification letter from a lender that is reputable I take them out and show them homes. If you are selling your own home you may be getting "buyers" who want to see your home who may not be able to qualify for any kind of loan and are simply daydreaming. These are the window shoppers that are often weeded out by agents so that you are not wasting your time however if you are selling your home FSBO you will need to be aware of who you are letting into your home. They may not be able to purchase your home at all and are simply there to look and dream. Also sadly this is not the only thing that can happen. Sometimes people will ask to see your home as a "buyer" when really they want to see what type of security system you have and what valuables are in your home. Unfortunately, robberies do happen. A real estate agent would direct you to pack up your valuables before showing your home. If you are selling your home FSBO then you need to be careful who you are letting into your home.
Stay Safe, Legal, And Happy
So here is the thing, if you decide to do a transaction FSBO then you need to make sure that you are prepared, you are safe, you are knowledgeable about disclosures, contracts, and negotiations, and that you are financially stable enough to handle a potential law suit. If you are not then you should consider going with a local real estate agent that will help you save time, net more money in the long run, and minimize liability for you. This way your real estate experience can be fun, stress-free, and rewarding.