house for sale by owner

For Sale By Owner: Pros & Cons

Unfortunately, the list of cons for selling your home by yourself is pretty lengthy, unless you happen to be a real estate agent. Which is a different situation altogether. Every once in a while I will see an intrepid homeowner embark on the journey of selling their home all by themselves, armed with a $10 sign from Home Depot and a listing on Zillow. They may even spend the money to get a premium listing.

There are a few different reasons why these folks might consider listing their homes themselves. One is to save money on the selling agent’s commission, and another might be because they can’t get an agent to list it at the price they want, or don’t want to make the improvements that have been suggested by the agent.

I have said it before, selling your home can be an emotional experience. Trusting a real estate agent to be by your side through it all and get you the best deal is very difficult for some to do. It can be frustrating for homeowners when a realtor starts suggesting that they might need expensive upgrades or repairs to get the asking price they want in the market they’re in. Or maybe they are convinced that a little quirk or character they’ve come to love in their home is universally lovable, and their agent disagrees. Whatever the reason may be, it sometimes happens that the homeowner and the real estate agent are not seeing eye to eye, and the homeowner ends up not being able to see the value in their service. So, they go it alone.

It’s not that “for sale by owner” has never been successful, that would not be a true statement. At least 8 percent of homes were sold in 2016 without hiring an agent according to the National Association of Realtors. However, it is not easy. There’s a reason for that commission and the education and exams that it takes to get your real estate license, and even more so to become a Realtor®.

So, what are the PROS to a “For Sale by Owner” listing?


  1. Save money by not having to give a commission to the selling agent.
  2.  List the home for whatever price you think is right- no arguing.
  3.  No need to listen to anyone’s suggestions about curb appeal or neutral colored paint.


Then what are the CONS?

According to the same survey of For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sellers, they reported the following difficulties:

1.Getting the right price: 15%.

Your agent has a pulse on the market and will have a more objective approach to pricing your home appropriately.

2. Understanding and performing paperwork: 12%

Attending the closing alone is a daunting task, not to mention coordinating home inspections and the like.

3. Selling within the planned length of time: 13%

Pricing your home correctly and advertising it sufficiently, having connections – these are all things that an agent specializes in. They’ve been trained for it and have built up networks and a recognizable name. Buyers will seek out listings with real estate brokers, but they will only find your home in a pile of other Zillow listings to sort through.

4. Preparing/fixing up home for sale: 9%

Most sellers realize after a few stagnant months on the market that some refurbishing needs to happen to get buyers interested in their home. Even more so in “Buyers” markets that are so competitive.

5. Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 3%

Selling your home can take time, even if you have the ability to spend 20 or more hours a week to it, which in most cases, is far from reality. There is the advertising, the showings, the meetings, the inspections, and the closing itself. These are all things that eat up more time than you might think.

At the end of the day, the responsibility lies with the Realtor® to put their client at ease about their fears, and help them understand the value of having an agent list their home. There are several things you should look for when selecting a Realtor, and feeling comfortable with that particular person and their strategies are at the top of the list. Trust is essential to the partnership.

Of course, if you’re still not convinced using an agent is a good idea, you have to ask yourself, are you part of the lucky 8%?



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