Dated: 01/18/2018

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Image titleTo FSBO or not FSBO???

Many homeowners entertain the idea of selling by owner when they decide to sell. There are many options for this choice--some companies place a home on MLS for  a minimal fee, and then refer calls to the sellers. If a $500,000 home costs a seller up to $30,000 in commission fees, besides other costs such as repairs, doc stamps, and legal fees, why NOT do it yourself?

In truth, sometimes this choice works out well for the sellers. A neighbor recently placed her vacation rental home on FSBO and the next day it sold for full asking price. However, this was a savvy seller and investor, well-versed in real estate practices, experienced in staging and pricing and contract work, and the home was priced to sell quickly.

Research indicates that sellers should entertain a few serious questions before deciding to attempt selling a home themselves.

--Careful staging and high-density photos are vital to selling a property. Is the seller capable of staging objectively and tastefully, and providing great photography? 

--Is the seller prepared to successfully negotiate price and other contract issues? A home priced on the higher end of the market will benefit greatly from a keen negotiating edge.

--Is the cost of commission a strong deterrent to working with an agent? This rate is always negotiable and an agent will be willing to explain the options here.

--Is the seller prepared to engage in extensive communications with buyers, inspectors, selling agents, and marketers every week? One study estimated this to be upwards of 10 hours minimum each week.

--A real estate contract is a complex, lengthy document that is legally binding. Is the seller able and willing to represent all of its content and accept the liability involved?

One study found that the average FSBO home sold for 87% of list price; compared to homes in our area, most homes that are not new construction sell for between 93-97% of list price. 

Another of our neighbors recently listed their home as a FSBO. Although the photos are quite good, the MLS listing contained incorrect information regarding the parcel ID number and property appraiser's information. There were no documents included, such as cost-to-own and rental projections, both of which are vital and would have been provided by a local realtor. The sellers priced this home with the hopes of selling without paying a realtor $28,000; the only problem is that buyers are going to make an offer that may be exactly THAT MUCH lower than asking price; they too want to save that commission fee, and believe they too are entitled to it. All of the phone calls, showings, open houses, inspections, appraisals and qualifying of potential buyers are their own responsibilities.  

In summary, I find the services of a local Realtor to be of formidable value. Just as we loyally support and patronize our neighbors' restaurants, landscaping businesses, bike rentals, art galleries, beauty salons, financial advising businesses, medical practices, or house-cleaning services, why not support your local Realtor? This business is OUR livelihood as well, and a good Realtor can be worth her weight in gold in terms of protecting your investments and your interests.

Right now I am busy marketing a home in Pt. Washington that was a FSBO for the last 9 months. When it sells we shall all celebrate!

Here is the link to an article discussing the above information:


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Joyce Hogue

Joyce brings to her real estate practice her well-honed communication and analytical skills from three decades of professional health care and education. Her work ethic can be summarized as "going....

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