Are You Ready to FSBO?
So, you’re ready to sell your home? You have a decision to make—hire a REALTOR® or sell it yourself. Of course my answer would be biased because I am a Real Estate Agent / REALTOR®, but selling a house isn’t like selling a used sofa. It is complicated and it is likely the largest asset you own, so you want to make sure you do it right. For some, going the FSBO route is a valid choice and for others it’s just not worth it. A few things you may want to consider if you decide to sell it yourself:
Pricing is, of course, of ultimate importance. Even a million dollar budget won’t sell a grossly overpriced home, so don’t set yourself up to fail with bad pricing. It pays to know the comparable sales and competition so you are priced correctly. Pricing must be looked at objectively, as the house is no longer your home but is now a commodity with a price tag attached.
Yes, you will “save” the commission…but make sure you really do! Many buyers view FSBOs as a “deal source” because they know they are saving a commission, so they want in on the savings too. According to the 2014 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent-assisted home sales. That is a BIG difference. It may not be typical for every transaction, but be aware of your bottom line. If the numbers work, that is great; 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 negotiations anyway.
Selling your home will take time out of your schedule, there is no way around that. Real Estate is not a 9-5 job, so you may have a buyer who can only look at the property at 11am on a Tuesday or at 7pm on a Saturday. It is a commitment and to make it work, you must use your free time to get the house 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 bank and title company, along with any other tasks related to selling the property. These steps take time and time is valuable—just make sure you have it to spend!
It’s stressful, no bones about it. When “FSBOing,” you’re on your own. You are the contact between yourself, the buyer, the title company, the lender and any other vendors involved. The laws and regulations are always changing, and the laws still apply to you, so be familiar with all necessary paperwork. Purchase contracts are complex and must be written correctly to be enforceable and avoid unnecessary litigation.
For some, selling by owner is a valid choice, but for others it is not. It is important to know what you’re getting into before you start the process. If it is the right path for you, go for it! Selling homes is a full time job—you may be saving the commission, but you’ll be earning it as well.
Lisa E. Priest loves selling homes and is an East Texas REALTOR® in Palestine, Texas with Picket Fence Realty, Inc. You can reach her via phone or text at 903-948-3343 or read more at BuyPalestine.com.
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