About 89 percent of home sellers in the real estate market sold their home using a real estate agent or broker, according to the 2017 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Home sellers offering their home For Sale By Owner (FSBO) remained at 8 percent for the third year in a row. And 3 percent of home sellers used a different method to sell their homes, such as company-provided relocation.
The FSBO rate continues to decline since the NAR first kept track of it in 1981. In that year, 15 percent of home sellers took the FSBO route. By 2007, that stat sunk to 12 percent. Even with the housing crisis, the number continued to drop, most likely due to the increased value offered by real estate agents.
Here are a few ways that FSBO may not be the way to go:
Sellers may undervalue their home
This could wind up costing owners thousands of dollars in the long run. A real estate agent is knowledgeable about the market and the best listing price. An investment this big should never be left to chance or estimating.
The FSBO could be a scam
The alleged seller could possibly not be the homeowner at all. In fact, they may have no interest in the property title. This scam artist could falsify documents and walk away — fast — with the buyer’s money. A real estate agent knows how to navigate through a legitimate buying and selling process, and can sense red flags and fishy dealings.
FSBOs may miss or misreport important details in the listing
A seller may not be aware of what she is required to disclose about the property in the listing, which could spell legal trouble down the road. Also, small details about the property that could sell it faster could go unnoticed — rare building materials, unique decorative features, special windows and doors. A real estate agent is trained to emphasize the property’s best features and disclose what is legally required.
FSBOs may not be marketing experts
Today’s market is more competitive — and technological — than ever. Bad marketing — or worse yet, no marketing at all due to the FSBO situation — could overlook potential buyers and depict the property in a weaker, less sophisticated light. A shout out on social media or a simple sign on the lawn won’t attract the buyers a seller may need to receive in-order to close the best sale. A real estate agent utilizes a marketing army waiting to show your house to the world, using the most modern marketing methods, state-of-the-art technology, and time-proven response results.
FSBOs enjoy no protection
Selling on your own means being on your own, with nobody to advocate for you. A buyer is especially not looking out for your best interests. A real estate agent is on the side of the seller for the entire process of the sale, advocating and fighting for the seller.
The 2017 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports the median selling price for an FSBO home was $190,000. The median selling price of a real estate-assisted sale: $250,000.
FSBO sellers reported the most difficult task in the process: getting the price right, followed by selling their home within the length of time they had planned, and difficulty with understanding and completing paperwork.
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