Real Estate Agent VS FSBO

real estate agent vs for sale by owner

There have been many debates on whether selling your house by yourself is best over hiring a real estate agent. However, even if the necessity and the roles of real estate agents have been seriously questioned, they remain America’s favorite way to sell and buy homes.

As per statistics, approximately 80% of American home sales are currently brokered by professional real estate agents.  That’s because the public trust a licensed professional over a non-licensed individual when they are ready to buy or sell a home.

Let’s take a look at some of the cons of FSBO in the attempt to further understand why so many people choose professional support when it comes to selling their homes.

A property being sold by FSBO typically takes longer than usual to sell and requires extensive time and effort from the owner. 

FSBO is not an easy task. On the contrary, it requires special knowledge, hard work, time, skill, and dedication to make it happen. Cleaning and preparing the house for showing can be a challenge in itself without professional help and counseling.

A home that has not been properly cleaned and prepared for selling will probably give the buyer the idea that the owner must have slacked in maintenance matters and thus leads to a decrease of the final selling price.

The owner must also consider that real estate agents present and sell homes as a full-time job and, therefore, be prepared to allocate a considerable amount of time to this aspect when choosing to put his/her house on the market without professional help and support.

It is also a common fact that houses take considerably longer to sell through FSBO. So, at the end of the day, when choosing between FSBO and a real estate agent, one has to wonder how much effort they are ready to invest in this aspect and how much their time is worth.   You will have to dedicate your time to all the responsibilities of selling your house such as:

  • Getting the house ready, cleaning, decluttering, organizing, inside and outside
  • Professional photos, Marketing, staging
  • Scheduling appointments with potential buyers (qualifying buyers)
  • Dealing with Inspectors, Appraisers, Lawyers just to name a few

This is just the iceberg, you must also be available most weekends to assure that you get many potential buyers through your home while you host an open-house.

FSBO listing enjoys better support nowadays but is still a far cry from the real estate agent pool

FSBO listing now enjoys far better online support than it did a few years ago. There are several networks that support FSBO properties and their owners. These networks offer nationwide listing services and marketing tools, all at low or flat rate prices. However, they are still hard to compare to the large pools that real estate agents usually tap into.

All these reasons cause the house to take a longer average time to sell and thus cause further inconvenience to the owner and typically impact the price of the home. 

FSBOs are usually overpriced, but still end up selling below market price

It is true that some of the owners who venture to sell their house as an FSBO have extensive knowledge of the housing market or honed skills in real estate. That and the emotional factor, combined with a natural want to draw profit out of the sale, causes owners to overprice their homes. Overpricing usually scares off potential buyers, leaving the house on the market for a longer period (which can be a real disadvantage to those who want a fast sale or actually need the money).

When these houses actually get interested customers, the owner might end up negotiating and accepting a lower price than a real estate agent would either because they are in a hurry or because they have an untrained negotiating muscle. Overpricing and accepting final selling prices below the real market value of the property are two of the most common mistakes people make when selling FSBO.

Many buyers don’t trust FSBO and prefer to work with a real estate agent

There is also the matter of trust involved. For fear of getting scammed or out of a desire to undergo a smooth bureaucratic sale process, buyers usually prefer to work with real estate agents.  Most buyers will go through a real estate agent to buy from an FSBO.  This means that the seller may need to pay a commission to the real estate agent for their services.

The professionalism and experience of a high-performance agent inspire confidence in buyers that the process can bypass paperwork effortlessly, which clearly puts FSBO at a disadvantage, no matter how you look at it. As we all understand, it is a buyers’ world out there, after all.

As a conclusion, FSBO might be a great strategy only for good negotiators who have great real estate trading skills, are not in a hurry, and are willing to dedicate a considerable amount of time and work to the process.  The FSBO represents a huge responsibility for the owner, as it puts all decisions on his or her shoulders. It also puts a lot of liability when working with the public and letting strangers into your home.  However, if you feel up for the challenge and are in search of a new adventurous experience, selling your own house is definitely the way to go.

On the other hand, it is strongly recommended for you to opt for a real estate agent if you find yourself busy, have no time to put in the required research, or cannot afford to take the required time to effectively market and sell your home. While some might not have the necessary skills to handle negotiating or the hassle of the paperwork, others might simply value their time enough to choose a real estate agent and the benefits that come with this choice.

REALTOR INSIGHT: Time is the biggest factor to consider when selling a home.  How much do you have? When do you want to move?  If you put the house on the market how much time will it take to sell it?  If it doesn’t sell, it may seem like there is something wrong with the house.  Take into consideration all these factors and plan accordingly.  Your house is your life investment.  Selling it is a big decision. Take the time to make it count!

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