Is For Sale by Owner Worth It?
Going the ‘for sale by owner’ route can be tempting. It can save you a lot of money, since the real estate commission is the largest expense involved in a home sale. But is For Sale by Owner worth it?
Online access to pricing makes it easier
When going the ‘FSBO’ route, a big hurdle is pricing your home correctly and knowing the comparable home sales. But given how much information is available online, it’s easier to understand pricing today. That’s particularly true if you live in a home where the recent comparable home sales are cut and dry, such as a recent suburban development where the floor plans, layouts, fixtures and finishes are all similar.
Research your market ‘offline’ too
Learning a real estate market takes time. Go to open houses and see what’s for sale. Monitor a few nearby homes from listing to close. Real estate agents do this all the time, which makes them uniquely qualified to understand a market.
Get ready to detach emotionally
Selling a home has both financial and emotional implications, no matter how you sell it. Knowing that complete strangers will be running through and potentially criticizing your home can get to you.
If you go the FSBO route, you are front and center from start to finish. You can’t let your emotions get the best of you, and you must focus on the investment aspect of your home.
In some cases, sellers who can’t emotionally detach inadvertently leave money on the table, alienate perfectly good buyers, or both. But if you think you can see your home objectively, as a third-party product, then maybe FSBO is right for you.
Be prepared to take on a part-time job
Remember the last time you sold a car or some furniture on Craigslist? It probably required time and energy to photograph your merchandise, post the listings, field calls, and show the items before you finally made the sale. With real estate, you can amplify that effort 10-fold.
Going FSBO can be excellent for someone with a flexible schedule or who works from home. But getting the home ready to sell means doing all the standard sale prep work that you would do as a seller and taking it a step further. You’ll need to be ready to show the home at a moment’s notice, do follow-ups, and manage the open houses and scheduling, not to mention negotiate and see the sale through firsthand.
Be aware that doubt often pops up toward the end
Selling a home is a hugely emotional process and a gigantic financial transaction. With the stakes so high, some people get scared when it’s time to sell the home. And then, they make mistakes.
It’s common to see FSBOs listed at too high a price or showing in poor condition. Once sellers get more realistic and serious about selling, which means pricing it right and presenting to the market properly, they often bring in a real estate pro.
While FSBO does work seamlessly for many, going that route isn’t for everyone. Carefully weigh your options and consider if you have the time, resources, and emotional wherewithal to go FSBO. If you don’t think you’ll be able to invest those resources, reconsider engaging a real estate agent.