Selling your house on your own can be an appealing concept. I mean- who wouldn’t want to save money on paying a commission to a real estate agent? There are a variety of reasons why FSBO’s (pronounced fizz-bos) attempt this route, and there are a variety of reasons why those attempts fail.
Selling a house can be difficult, time consuming, and expensive so before you go FSBO, ask yourself the following questions and make sure you’re prepared for the commitment necessary to successfully sell your house on your own.
Can I be objective? Homeowners have very personal and subjective perspectives of their homes because they have more invested than just money. Sellers have blood, sweat, and tears and they have memories. Did you lay the landscaping pavers at your house one by one? Do you get sentimental when you look at the room where your daughter walked her first steps? These are just a couple of examples how a homeowner’s judgement can get clouded and they can lose objectivity. Nobody enjoys rejection and navigating through certain issues about your own home with a prospective Buyer can be extremely challenging.
Do I understand perceived value? There is a very big difference between components of a home that make it more valuable and ones that make it more sellable. What you perceive as valuable may or may not match your Buyer’s perception. Because of the Internet, consumers have the capacity to be savvy when it comes to market statistics and home values. Have you done your research and are you prepared? When Buyers see a FSBO, they often envision “savings” and develop an expectation that the Sellers will extend the savings onto them. Once an offer is prepared and the negotiating process begins, both market knowledge and perceived value will be revealed. Dealing with a savvy Buyer or a real estate agent representing a Buyer, a Seller can be at a significant disadvantage if they don’t understand value.
Can I qualify prospects? When a property comes on the market, people are going to want to see it- period. That includes both qualified and unqualified people. How will you identify which is which? Showing homes to unqualified people can occasionally be beneficial, but it can also be incredibly dangerous and/or a total waste of your time.
Will I be accessible for showings and communication? When a hot Buyer enters the picture, it’s important for a Seller to be accessible. Will your Buyer prospects be corresponding with you via email, phone, or both? Can you accommodate a Buyer’s schedule with your own work schedule or personal lifestyle? Do you have time dedicated to tidying up the house AND conducting the showing itself? Having a plan in place for managing showings and communication is necessary if you plan to sell your house yourself.
What costs will I incur? Whether you’re selling your house on your own or with a real estate agent, you will incur costs. A Seller can ask an agent the cost of fees related to their services, however a Seller will need to do a bit more research to determine the costs of selling their own house. A FSBO may need to obtain the services of other professionals such as: a photographer to take and/or edit listing photos; a professional printer to prepare flyers; an attorney to prepare legal documents and/or offer legal advice; an escrow or settlement agent; a professional home stager; and an online marketing platform and/or newspaper publication.
Can I really do this on my own? Do you know what information you will need to disclose about your house at what point, by what method, and to whom? There are disclosure laws and other opportunities for liability for Sellers selling their house on their own. If you read through this blog post today and feel overwhelmed or unsure, I encourage you to get in touch with a real estate agent today.