Is Going “For Sale By Owner” Right For You?

FSBO is the right choice for some and the wrong choice for others.

Selling a home without an agent is a personal decision. Of course, my opinions may be a tad biased because I am a Broker, but there are some things to think about when making your decision. Selling a house is an involved process. It can get complicated and it is likely your largest asset, so you want to make sure you the sale is successful and profitable. A few things to consider whether selling it yourself is right for you:

  • Time is Money” There’s no way around it, selling your home will take time out of your schedule, so be sure you truly have the time to devote to taking care of it. Real Estate is not a 9-5 job. There may be someone who can only look at the property at 8:30am on Monday or at 6pm on Saturday. You will need to use your free time to get the property sold. You must make time to take calls from prospects and learn how to screen the buyers from the lookers, schedule showings, meet inspectors and appraisers, prepare the contract forms, liaise with the lender and title company, along with any other tasks needed to selling the property. These steps to selling take time and time is valuable, so make sure you have the time available to do the work.
  • The Buck Stops With YouWill you work the paper or will the paper overwork you? It’s going to be stressful, no matter which way you go—it’s just a different type of stress when you are the one in charge of it all. When you’re selling by owner, you’re on your own. You are the point of contact between yourself, the buyers, title company, appraiser, surveyor, repair contractors, the bank and any other vendors involved. The laws and regulations are always changing, and the laws still apply to you, so you need to be familiar with all necessary paperwork. Purchase contracts are complex and must be written correctly to be valid and enforceable and to avoid litigation. Small errors and the wrong box on a contract checked off can cost money out of your pocket, so research in advance because knowledge is key.
  • Saves Lots of Money! This is, of course, the biggest reason most folks decide to sell the FSBO route. Yes, you will save the commission—just make sure you are putting that money in your pocket! Some buyers view FSBOs as a potential “deal source” because they know they are saving a commission, so they want in on the savings too. According to the 2018 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the median sold price on a FSBO home was $200,000 compared to a median sales price of $264,900 for agent-assisted transactions. It may not be typical for every deal, but be hyper aware of your bottom line, because there is literally a lot of money on the line. If the numbers work, fantastic; but look at the big picture—don’t lose thousands just to save on a commission that may be less than what you’ve left on the table during price negotiations anyway.

Going the FSBO route is great for some and painful for others, but it is important to know what you’re getting into before you start the process. Selling real estate is a full time job—you can save by not paying for the service, but it does come at a cost.

Lisa E. Priest loves real estate and is an East Texas Broker / REALTOR® with Picket Fence Realty, Inc. You can reach her via phone or text at 903-948-3343 or read more at