I get it! I thought I could be a FSBO once. I signed up for the package that sent me lots of forms, a sign for my yard, and some guidelines for advertising. I remember looking through all of the inspirational advice and thinking “I can do this!”. After about a month my mantra changed and I hired a local real estate agent that sold my house in about a week.
Here are seven things I know now that I wish I had known then.
1. FSBOs Often Evaluate Their Home Incorrectly
It’s almost impossible for someone without real estate experience to evaluate a home’s value. Realtors use a multitude of tools accessed through the MLS and other private websites that help us value a home based on area sales, the number of similar properties available, and individual upgrades in a home when compared to other houses in the area.
2. It’s Hard To Sell With Emotional Involvement
Buyers can be brutal with comments. If it hurts your feelings when someone says your house smells or they laugh at decor you’re proud of then being a FSBO may not be for you. A realtor acts as a buffer for items that may be a deterrent to some buyers. For example, if your home smells like pets, an agent may advise you to be aware some people have pet sensitivities and suggest air fresheners. That is a much softer blow than “Your house stinks!”
3. You May Waste Money on the Wrong Marketing
If you’re not a content marketer, then marketing is going to be a struggle. And, when you need to market everyone will become an expert and throw advice your way. Eventually, your head will spin and maybe fall off! Seriously, a Realtor understands what marketing works and what doesn’t and when you work with a realtor it’s their money on the line. Not yours.
4. You Cannot Have a Life Until the House Sells
Realtors work long hours because buyers have strange hours. FSBOs need to be available to show their own home 24/7. And, be ready for them to knock on your door any time of the day or night.
5. You Can’t Prequalify a Buyer
As an agent, I require buyers are prequalified before making an offer. And, if the showing is inconvenient for my seller, I make sure they are prequalified before scheduling a showing. Unqualified buyers waste everyone’s time.
6. You Are Legally Liable For Many Things
Realtors have Errors and Omissions insurance (a sort of malpractice insurance), so if something is not disclosed correctly (by accident), the money damages are covered. Because FSBOs are not real estate professionals, they often don’t understand what needs disclosure and what paperwork is required.
7. Beware of Scammers
Wire fraud, fraudulent loan documentation, fake third-party purchasers and phishing for personal information are all part of real estate on an everyday basis. Do you know how to spot a scammer?
There are even more reasons why selling your own home may seem like a good idea, but in the end, most FSBOs crash and burn and just like I did… they hire a Realtor. Good Realtors work hard and will go above and beyond for their clients. They can usually sell the house for more than someone who tries to sell on their own. Research shows that most FSBOs would net more from a sale working with a Realtor than they do selling it themselves.
Have you tried to sell your own home? Tell me your story? Did you succeed (selling to a friend or relative doesn’t count 😉 ) or did you hire a real estate professional after giving it a go?