Should you do for sale by owner?

Deciding to use an agent or go FSBO is a major decision. While there is a great deal of savings, it may not always be worth it.

Knowing if FSBO is right for you

Should you try to sell your home yourself so you don’t have to pay agent commissions? Some homeowners have been successful going the For-Sale-By-Owner route. Others have not. To decide if you should pursue it, look at some of the pros and cons.

The Pros

Selling your own home means you get to keep the money you would have paid a listing agent. In traditional home sales, the seller pays an average of 6 percent of the home’s sale price in agent commissions. That commission is split in half – between the seller’s (listing) agent and the buyer’s agent.

In a traditional sale, if a home is sold for $200,000, a 6 percent commission would total $12,000, so $6,000 would go to the buyer’s agent, and $6,000 would go to the listing agent.

In a FSBO situation, sellers often offer to pay the commission for a buyer’s agent so there’s incentive to show clients the home. Even after paying that, the seller would still get to keep the remaining $6,000 that would have been paid to a listing agent. For many people that’s a nice chunk of cash that’s well worth the time and effort of earning it.

The Cons

But not everybody has that kind of time or energy. Selling a home is time consuming, especially if you already have a full-time job. And you’ll need to get up to speed on real estate. That includes researching other homes on the market in your neighborhood, studying the prices for comparable properties and determining a sales price. There’s also a learning curve for understanding the mechanics of a real estate transaction as well as the steps needed to prepare your home and get it on the market. Then you’ll need time to follow through with those tasks and be available later to host showings and field inquiries from potential buyers. And those are just the highlights.

Another deterrent to becoming a FSBO seller is doubt. If you’ve never sold a home before, you may always doubt how you’re handling the process, whether it’s home staging, pricing or negotiating. You may be afraid you’re making mistakes, and that is stressful. Agents have years of experience to draw from, but, when you’re on your own as a FSBO seller, you can’t rely on an agent’s experience or the peace of mind that comes with having it at your disposal.

Majority go with an agent
For these reasons – time, energy and doubt – many sellers end up using a listing agent and relying on him or her to navigate the sale. If you’re still determined to sell your home by yourself, give it a try. It may work for you, as it has for other homeowners. But keep in mind as you go along how much time and energy you’re spending and whether you think it’s worth it.

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