FSBO vs. Realtor


A friend of mine, Annie listed her house For Sale By Owner but didn't not realize how much work was involved in selling a home. It wasn't too long before she threw in the towel and hired a Realtor. The calls at 9:00pm, the knocks on the door while the family was sitting down for dinner, the numerous questions that she didn't know the answers to, the constant inquiries from investors looking for a "steal". It was all too much. 

My friend is a busy lady, works full time, and dedicates her free time to her family and the occasional girls night out. She was not happy about how much time was being consumed by trying to sell her own home. We all can understand why you would want to sell a home without a Realtor. You save money.

Annie believes that she wears an invisible super hero cape and that she can accomplish just about anything. Just ask her! However, she ultimately decided to hire an agent because she just didn't have the time, energy, marketing reach and expertise to sell her house efficiently. The purchase or sale of a home is most people's largest transactions ever. Realtors will handle all of those phone calls, answer the tough questions, establish an effective marketing campaign and they certainly won't knock on your door just as you sit down to that delicious meal of rosemary braised lamb shank resting on a pillow of wild mushroom risotto. Perhaps my opinion is biased since we have such a hardworking group of fabulous agents at DWELL who genuinely care for their clients. Some of the tasks they perform for you include:

  • Evaluating the market & comparable home values
  • Recommendation on appropriate listing price
  • Tips on staging your home to ensure best possible showings
  • Coordinating with the right parties for disclosures & other needed forms
  • Arranging a professional photographer to capture interior & exterior photos
  • Creating effective marketing materials to shine a spotlight on your home
  • Arranging showing times for potential buyers
  • Holding open houses
  • Answer all questions that buyers & their agent may have
  • Receiving offers on your behalf
  • Assisting in evaluating each offer presented, pointing out pros & cons, and determining whether to accept, counter, reject or take back up offers
  • Negotiate with the buyers agent. (An attorney may be required where legal assistance is needed)
  • Work with the buyers agent during the entire escrow period: making the listing available for inspections, appraisals, etc.
  • And last but not least, attend the closing.

These are just a few of the basics that fall into the process of selling a home. I think it's safe to say, Realtors always wish for smooth sailing in every transaction but remain buckled in for the unexpected bumps that often occur. I've heard of some situations, sticky ones, that require more than just basic knowledge of the industry. Experienced Realtors have the expertise needed to handle those sticky situations. I've thought to myself how horrible it would have been for my friend, who again is super woman-to have been hit with these scenarios. Talk about stress. It goes without saying, she now has a great appreciation for what Realtors do. 

Now with all of that being said, if you decide to sell your own home here are some things you should know:

Learn the legal rules in your state. This includes who signs what documents, what disclosures may be state mandated regarding the physical condition of your home and where to get them & who actually conducts the transaction. Familiarize yourself with how to handle anything that may impede the progress as well. We call these encumbrances and they could be a number of things. If you know how to catch those curve balls when and if they come your way then you will doing great! There are websites out there that will assist you in this endeavor as well. You will not have access to the MLS site, however you can pay a flat monthly fee through certain sites, or use a FSBO site to list it for you. These are the most basic, yet very important aspects of listing FSBO. The last thing you want is trouble because of some legality issue. Those are NOT fun!

The National Association of REALTORS provided some statistics regarding FSBO:

  • FSBO's accounted for 9% of home sales in 2013.  The typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent assisted home sales.

FSBO methods used to market home:

  1. Yard signs: 36%
  2. Friends, relatives or neighbors: 28%
  3. Online classified advertisements: 16%
  4. Open houses: 14%
  5. For-Sale-By-Owner websites: 13%
  6. Social networking websites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) 7%
  7. Multiple Listing Service (MLS) website: 7%
  8. Print newspaper advertisement: 7%
  9. Direct mail (flyers, postcards, etc.) 1%
  10. Video: 1%
  11. Other: 2%
  12. None: did not actively market home: 32%

Most difficult tasks for FSBO sellers:

  1. Understanding & performing paperwork: 18%
  2. Getting the right price: 13%
  3. Preparing/fixing up the home for sale: 12%
  4. Helping buyer obtain financing: 3%
  5. Attracting potential buyers: 3%
  6. Selling within the planned length of time: 7%
  7. Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 6%

I don't know about you, but I find these numbers alarming!  Realtors cover ALL of this!  Now, with all this being said I know there are some FSBO's out there who successfully execute the sale. 

home_sold_275_01One of two things may happen if you list your home FSBO. You may end up like my friend, fed up, out of patience and eventually hire an agent. Listing your home, as you have read is not a part time job.  Well, it's not if you want your home sold. If we had as much time as Siesta Key has sand, then maybe it wouldn't be such an issue. The more time you invest in your home holding open houses, marketing, etc the better the odds are of you selling. If you work full time, have a family, maybe a few pets then where do you find the extra time to devote? It can definitely be done, but it surely is a challenge. In the end, it's all a matter of how much time you want to put in, how much effort you can afford, and how knowledgeable you are. 

If you were wavering on the FSBO vs. Realtor line, hopefully this helped sway you one way or the other. If you have any questions, please call us!  We really love what we do, but we are also happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the sale of your home.

Thanks for stopping by!


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