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It’s not your day job, it’s not even your part time job. In fact, you have absolutely no experience at all, yet you feel up to the challenge of conducting a transaction worth well over $100,000. Are you sure?

I’m not in the business of dashing dreams, but I am in the business of selling houses. I want you to succeed in selling your home. I’m passionate about it. That’s why I’ve created this post. Let’s talk about the reality of choosing “for sale by owner (FSBO)” and whether or not it’s a good idea to do it. (Spoiler alert: It’s not, but I’m going to give it a fair treatment regardless.) Let’s get started.

[content_upgrade cu_id=”3555″]Bonus: Here is a list of questions to help you determine if you should do FSBO.[content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]

FSBOs Don’t Screen Buyers

Chances are, you don’t know how to properly screen prospective buyers. As a FSBO, you’re happy to get a call—any call—about viewing your home. The problem is, the world is filled with tire-kickers who aren’t ready, willing, or able to actually purchase your home.

While a professional real estate agent knows how to sniff out a good buyer, you probably have no clue. Here’s a litmus test:

What’s the difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved?

Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know the answer. Most people don’t. (Check out this post for a brief explanation of prequalification and preapproval.) But then again, most people don’t sell their homes themselves, either. As a FSBO, it’s crucial that you only show your home to prospective buyers who have actually been pre-approved for a mortgage.

If you don’t do this, you’ll spend a lot of wasted time showing your home to folks who may not be approved to even purchase your home.

FSBOs Are Emotionally Attached to Their Homes

Sure, you wanted to move out like yesterday, but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel emotionally attached to the home you’re selling. When selling to a potential buyer, it may be difficult for you to have enough emotional distance to acknowledge problems with your home.

Nowhere is this more evident then when it comes time for home inspections. Let me prepare you: There will be something in your home that needs to be repaired. This is true for most homes. But, if you’re a typical FSBO, you may be unwilling to concede and make the necessary repairs to sell your home.

This is when it’s valuable to have the seasoned advice of a real estate professional who wants what’s best for you. You hire an agent not only to sell your home but also to give you qualified advice on how to sell your home.

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FSBOs Aren’t Always Available

You have a day job and, surprise surprise, your boss doesn’t like it when you’re constantly leaving the office to show your home. And your boss isn’t happy when you’re taking personal calls on your cell phone to schedule viewings, either.

But the unfortunate reality is that buyers aren’t bound by your schedule. They want to see the home when it’s convenient for them—not you. And, if you’re not available to show your home, but the sellers down the street are available, guess who has the advantage and may close the sale?

This is why you need to hire a listing agent. While you focus on your day job, your agent will focus on his, which includes answering calls and scheduling viewings for your home.

FSBOs Don’t Know How to Market

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Image Courtesy of Jason Trommetter, Flickr

Selling your home takes more than planting a “for sale” sign in your front lawn. You’ve got to market your home online, too. But where and how?

As a FSBO, you have a few options at your disposal. You can:

  • Create an online classified ad for your home on Craigslist. Be sure to include professional photos to get more attention.
  • Create a sales flyer for your home and distribute it throughout your neighborhood or even canvas the city. Once again, include lots of great-looking photos.
  • You can advertise and host an open house.

FSBOs Don’t Stage

Speaking of open houses, staging is such an important part of your home selling process. Did you know that staged homes sell quicker and for more money than non-staged homes?

Many FSBOs completely disregard staging. Or, even worse, they stage incorrectly. If you do decide to sell your home on your own, please consider staging it first.

Staging is more than just rearranging your furniture. It’s about creating a perfect package that makes your home more attractive to potential buyers. Staging includes painting the walls, repairing any minor (but glaring) problems, updating fixtures (from brass to class), and giving every room a purpose.

For example, do you have an extra bedroom upstairs that’s just functioning as a catch-all storage space? Transform it into an office space so that people can see the potential in each room.

FSBOs Aren’t Popular

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Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

A lot of real estate brokers will not work with a FSBO. This is due, in part, to the fact that many FSBOs refuse to pay commission to the buyer’s agent. While it’s nifty to be thrifty, this is one case where you shouldn’t count your pennies.

You see, no agent in his or her right mind will work for free. Would you? What incentive is it to the buyer’s agent to show your home to their client if you’re not going to pay them for their services?

It’s important to note that commission prices are initially added into the sale price of the home, not added on after the fact. For example, if you’re selling your home for $250,000, 6% (or $15,000) of that total will go towards paying commission for the buyer’s agent. This means, your home actually sold for a net of $235,000.

If you’re unwilling to pay commission, you will severely limit your buyer pool.

FSBOs Don’t Know About Pricing

How do you price your home to sell?

Earlier, we talked about FSBOs having an emotional attachment to their home. Emotions can also inspire pricing. You may be tempted to list your home for higher than it’s worth. Perhaps you’ve put a lot of work into it and your listing price reflects that.

Unfortunately, the market doesn’t work like that. While you can recoup some or all (if not more) of the money you’ve invested into your home, the most driving factor in pricing is the current market. What will the current market pay for your home?

Do you know how to figure that price out? A good listing agent definitely knows how because this is what he or she does all day, every day. Your listing agent will look at comparable homes in your area, and construct an educated listing price accordingly.

Convinced Yet?

While FSBO can work in some cases (especially if it’s a closed sale where you’re selling to a family member or friend), for the overwhelming majority of cases, it’s better to hire a listing agent. I’m not saying that because I am one, I’m saying that because I want you to succeed in selling your home for top dollar as fast as humanly possible.

If that sounds good to you, let’s talk.

[content_upgrade cu_id=”3555″]Bonus: Here is a list of questions to help you determine if you should do FSBO.[content_upgrade_button]Click Here[/content_upgrade_button][/content_upgrade]