Many decisions have to be made during the process of both buying and/or selling a home. If you’re thinking about trying to save some money and think it will be easier to go the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route, you may want to reconsider.
What is FSBO in real estate? As a seller, you might be tempted to simply pitch a For Sale sign in your front yard and wait for interested buyers to come to you. As a buyer, it may seem easy enough to drive around the neighborhoods looking for those signs. However, it’s far more complicated than that.
As the FSBO vs. real estate agent debate rages on, we’ll clarify the pros of going the Realtor route, as well as the cons of opting for FSBO (pronounced FIZZ-BOW). Signing a contract with a licensed Realtor has a multitude of advantages; the headaches involved in managing a real estate transaction on your own are often not worth the savings in the end.
Let’s first take a look at the pros and cons of FSBO vs. Realtor and the advantages of choosing to sell your home with a professional Realtor.
Access to Market Data
A Realtor has the ability to price a home appropriately because they have access to market data incorporating recent sales and similar homes on the market. Homes that are priced appropriately when they’re first listed typically sell more quickly and for a higher price than those that sit on the market.
Flexibility in Showings
Having to stay tethered to your home to wait for interested buyers is a huge time drain; likewise, working around the schedule of the seller as a buyer can be frustrating. With a real estate agent, your home can be shown to buyers when you aren’t available. Furthermore, the agent will respond to inquiries from potential buyers and their agents regarding the home, price, contract and more. Your Usaj Realty agent will also collect valuable feedback from these home buyers, saving you hours of follow-up.
You might think your home is perfect, but a Realtor provides another (let’s just say more objective) viewpoint. He or she can look at your home and suggest ways to improve its appearance (without breaking the bank) so it appeals to buyers. Also, most buyers would rather view a home without the seller present. They want to be able to comfortably explore the rooms and see themselves as the potential new owners. With a FSBO, the seller has to be there to grant access.
You don’t need people who aren’t serious buyers lurking around your home. Licensed agents will bring serious buyers to the table who have most likely already been pre-qualified by a lender for the purchase of a property.
Negotiations and Compliance
Maybe you think you’re pretty savvy with negotiating a contract. And maybe you are.
But with a Realtor by your side, you’ll be able to negotiate a contract that not only garners an appropriate price for your home, but meets your needs for a settlement date. This may even include a period of time when you rent back your home from the buyer or the handling of contingencies on your behalf.
Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing the contract is in compliance with all local regulations.
Real estate agents are effective because they have professional marketing expertise. They also have contact with other Realtors who work with buyers, as well as the support of a brokerage that can market your home to a wider audience than you can on your own.
Sacrificing Your Time — Is it Worth it?
Staging the property and taking professional photos takes time and expertise. A property description will be needed to capture the right details of your home to make it appealing to buyers. You’ll also spend time scheduling showings, actually showing the property and entertaining those who aren’t really interested.
Spending Money up Front
Listing agents are skilled in calculating the right amount of money to be spent up front to sell the property. That way, they get the best return on an investment for themselves and the seller.
With a FSBO, you may be spending money that could be better used elsewhere in the real estate transaction.
Saving on Commission Can Be Hit or Miss
It may seem as though you’ll be saving big money on the listing commission.
But when you find the right agent, they will price your property to get the most money in the shortest time. That means quite a bit more than you could get with a FSBO. The right combination of money and time you get from a listing agent can mean 10-30% more net profit.
Having No Access to the MLS
MLS is the multiple listing service, an essential tool in home selling. Sure, you can post your home on Facebook and Craigslist a few times. But they’re no MLS. And to get your home listed on the MLS and subsequently on sites like Realtor.com and Zillow — which is where everyone looks these days — then you’ll need a Realtor. MLS syndicates to thousands of websites across the web and sends automatic alerts to thousands of qualified home buyers who have set up searches for properties that match yours.
Being Entirely Liable
Realtors have Errors and Omission Insurance to protect them when mistakes are made in contracts. Unless you are adequately covered by insurance, make sure you have a professional helping you with the contract.
Negotiating Directly with Other Agents
If a licensed buyer agent is able to find your home and brings you a buyer, you will have to negotiate directly with that agent. Not having a professional advocate in your corner may result in problems with the commission, improper property valuation, and a long period on the market.
Dealing with Low-Ballers
Investors and low-ballers will flock to your property when they see a FSBO. That’s because they see your potential inexperience as a prime opportunity to make a low offer. An experienced agent isn’t going to fall for this and will negotiate the most money possible for you.
Usaj Realty is a full-service real estate firm. We believe in adding value to our clients’ lives by providing the highest level of service, fully understanding the Denver market and ensuring all your needs are met. If you are considering selling your home, please contact us.