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homebuying real estate education

Selling Your Home FSBO: Is it Worth the Risk?

December 13, 2023 | Aliza Aviles

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Picture this: stacks of cash saved from skipping the realtor, all yours for a victory dance in your newly sold living room. Sounds like a dream, right? But hold on to that champagne flute, FSBO hopefuls, because before you waltz into a For Sale by Owner frenzy, consider this: that same cash could be a mirage, replaced by a mountain of paperwork, an inbox overflowing with lowball offers, and the nagging fear you've priced your beloved brick baby 20 grand too low. So, is the FSBO route a treasure map or a fool's errand? Let's navigate the exciting (and sometimes treacherous) terrain of selling your home solo.


First let’s start with the pros:


Save money on commission fees.


This is the biggest draw for many FSBO sellers. The average commission rate for real estate agents is 6%, so on a $300,000 home, you could save $18,000 by selling yourself. That's a nice chunk of change you can put towards your down payment on your next home, or use to pay off debt, invest, or splurge on a dream vacation.



You are in control.


Selling your own home means you're the captain of your ship. You set the asking price, handle the marketing, schedule showings, and negotiate offers. You can also decide which offers to accept or reject, and you don't have to answer to anyone but yourself. This can be empowering, especially for experienced sellers who know their market and their home's worth.



You can market your home your way.


You know your home better than anyone, so you can highlight its unique features and benefits in a way that resonates with buyers. You can also be creative with your marketing strategy, using social media, online platforms, and even print advertising to reach your target audience.



Get a faster sale.


FSBO homes can sometimes sell faster than traditionally listed homes. This is because you're not waiting for an agent to schedule showings or negotiate offers. You can also be more flexible with showings, which can appeal to buyers who are on a tight timeline.



Build relationships with potential buyers.

When you interact directly with buyers, you have the opportunity to build rapport and trust. This can be helpful in negotiations, and it can also lead to a more positive selling experience for everyone involved.



Of course, FSBO isn't all sunshine and rainbows. There are also some potential downsides to consider, such as the time commitment, the need for marketing expertise, and the risk of making mistakes. But if you're a motivated seller who is willing to do your research and put in the work, FSBO can be a great way to save money and sell your home on your own terms.





Now let’s look at the cons:


Limited marketing reach.

As an individual seller, you may not have the same access to professional marketing channels and resources as a real estate agent. This could limit your ability to reach a wide audience of potential buyers and attract competitive offers.



Increased risk of pricing errors.

Determining the accurate market value of your home is crucial for a successful sale. Real estate agents have extensive experience and market knowledge to help you price your home competitively. Without this expertise, you may overprice or underprice your home, which could deter buyers or lead to negotiating losses.



The buyer’s agent may discourage them from purchasing.

Buyers’ agents, wary of hidden issues, inflated prices, and legal missteps, might discourage their clients from FSBOs. Not all FSBO sellers are reliable and while FSBO can offer advantages, the lack of professional guidance and potential risks often lead buyer's agents to steer their clients towards traditionally listed properties represented by experienced real estate agents.



Negotiation complexities.

Negotiating offers and contracts can be a complex and time-consuming process. Real estate agents are trained negotiators who can effectively represent your interests and protect your property rights during negotiations. As an individual seller, you may lack the negotiation skills and experience to handle these intricacies effectively.



Potential for legal and procedural errors.

Selling a home involves a multitude of legal documents, contracts, and disclosures. Real estate agents have a comprehensive understanding of these legal requirements and can ensure that your transactions are handled correctly and legally compliant. Without this expertise, you could make mistakes that could delay the sale or even expose you to legal liability.



So, FSBO: friend or foe? The answer: it depends. Ultimately, it depends on knowing your strengths, weaknesses, and the unique landscape of your local market. So, grab a metaphorical shovel, do your research, and decide: will you dig for FSBO gold or stick to the tried-and-true agent route? The choice is yours, and with careful consideration, it can be the difference between a champagne celebration and a curbside yard sale sign marked "desperate."