DIY Home Sales: Why you should think twice about selling on your own

In this age of Do It Yourself home improvement and Do It Yourself decorating, the Do It Yourself home seller has found their niche.  “For Sale By Owner” signs populate the real estate landscape, earning their homeowners the nickname FSBO, (pronounced Fizbo).  Are you an aspiring Fizbo?  Before you take the plunge into DIY real estate you need to consider the pros and cons and ask yourself some important questions.

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How are you going to market your home?

Putting the FSBO sign out on the lawn is easy.  But how else are you going to reach your potential buyers?  Websites devoted to FSBO homes can reach a lot of people, but most potential homebuyers go where the most property listings are, and that’s, the MLS website.  To post on you need to be a real estate professional.  If you aren’t on the MLS, you aren’t part of the vast network of potential buyers and their agents actively looking for homes.

How will you set your price?

You also have to consider how you will set an asking price for your home that reflects its fair market value.  While you may be able to find out the selling price of a house in your area with a trip to Town Hall or the county courthouse, realtors can access much more detailed information to make price comparisons based on comparable.  Besides the selling price, they will know the square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any other information that’s vital to setting the right price of any home.

How will you handle visits?

If you choose to be a private seller, will you always be available to accept visits and show your home when viewers request it?  Some FSBO websites suggest setting aside a certain time of the week and trying to fit all your viewings into that one time slot.  You risk losing potential viewers – and buyers – if they have to abide by your schedule rather than their own.

Can you be objective?

Can you be honest and objective about the condition of your home?  If not, then be prepared to hire a lawyer when your buyer comes back to sue you.  In real estate, you cannot lie and you cannot hide information about the condition of your home.  You are responsible for defects in a home whether you disclose them or not – even if you didn’t know about them.  Hidden defects are one thing, but lying to misrepresent the condition of your house will cost you a lot more than you saved by not paying an agent to sell your property.  In fact, it could cost you the sale.

Can you take the heat?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is this; can you separate yourself emotionally from your home?  Selling a home is a major financial transaction. You’ll have to negotiate very large amounts of money with the buyer, or their agent.  Will the pressure get to you?  What happens if you make a mistake?  Real estate brokers carry liability insurance just in case they make a mistake that costs you money.  Who’s going to protect you from you if you make the mistake?

It’s all about the money

Finally, the biggest reason to reconsider DIY home sales is the fact that in my experience, agents have always gotten a substantially higher selling price for their clients than FSBO’s.  Before you decide to go it alone, risking not getting what you could have gotten with an agent, think again.


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