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5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale by Owner

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Do Not FSBOSome homeowners consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). We think there are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are five of our reasons:

1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO.

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • Your bank in the case of a short sale

2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 92% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 28% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

3.  Results Come from the Internet

Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?

  • 43% on the internet
  • 9% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $184,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $230,000.   This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $46,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.



About The KCM Crew

We at The KCM Crew believe every family should feel confident when buying & selling a home. KCM helps real estate professionals reach these families & enables the agent to simply & effectively explain a complex housing market. Take a 14-Day Free Trial of our monthly membership to see how we can help you!

76 Responses to “5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale by Owner”

  1. Pat Tasker February 6, 2014 at 3:48 am # Reply

    This past week I wrote an offer for my buyer client on a for sale by owner. The for sale by owner seller(also a licensed and practicing attorney!), countered for a secomd time and actually FORGOT to counter the price….had my buyer been cut throat and signed it, his error and self representation would have cost this seller TWENTY GRAND $$$$

    • Harold Hodapp February 23, 2014 at 6:11 pm # Reply

      In Texas, a licensed attorney is also allowed to practice real estate.

  2. Betty Johnson February 6, 2014 at 7:14 pm # Reply

    It’s wise and profitable to sell you home- FSBO- A good idea to hire a lawyer for all the paper work and negotiation. THOUSANDS of dollars cheaper. You only need an attorney not a Realtor. Real Estate companies get paid WAY more than they should to sell a home Being an award winning Realtor for 28 years- now retired- I can now say I’m AMAZED that people pay what they do for the services realtors provide.

    • Billy Club February 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm # Reply

      @Betty Johnson Cut & Paste from your post: “Being an award winning Liar for 28 years-now retired- I can say now I’m AMAZED at what I fraud I was for my entire career.

    • Robin Leigh April 20, 2014 at 1:24 am # Reply

      I’ve been a Realtor and Broker for 28 years and I couldn’t disagree with you more Betty Johnson. You denigrate the training, knowledge and value an experienced, professional Realtor provides to their clients.

      I hear over and over again from my clients how they could never imagine all how I and my staff do all that we do for them and how grateful they are for our services.

      Of course I know not all Realtors are the same (or equally qualified and truthful) by a long shot. Please tell me what ‘awards’ you were bestowed and the board of Realtors you were affiliated with.

      I want to do a bit of checking into your career history before I take you at your word.

      • rae October 1, 2014 at 9:51 pm # Reply

        @Robin…I beg to differ. A realtor has become a joke these days. people doing FSBO can do much more. A realtor uses their computers to view what is for sale by others, like everyone today. They get a phone call and bring their buy to view the homes. They will tell you who to chose from, as far as an inspector(no they all stick together, one hand washes the other) Anyone who is purchasing a home today will no doubt have an inspection done, you don’t need a realtor to tell you that. Paperwork is always handled by attorneys, don’t let realtors fool you. Yes there is a great deal of monies that can be saved when not using realtors. Gone are the days of them being needed. I just went through the worst 6 months of my life because of one. She came, took pictures, and put them on the net, something I could have done. 3 weeks later the sign went up and that was it….. her advertising was the internet, again, something I could have done… Times have changed, you are mere figure-heads..

        • Steve Harney October 3, 2014 at 9:13 pm # Reply

          Just a point of clarification. In the VAST MAJORITY of the country, attorneys are not involved in real estate transactions.

        • pete Tomaszek October 10, 2014 at 1:37 pm # Reply

          Sounds like you had a really bad agent. A real working agent would have been much more active in selling your home.
          I think we are missing much of your story. Aka Home price and condition, the market in your area, and your needs. This also could have been avoided by a good agent, By not accepting your listing if they did not believe in the term. Some agents will say anything to get your listing.

          • Jill July 6, 2015 at 10:43 pm #

            Hes not alone. I’ve bought and sold 3 homes in 10 years, in two states. Every single RA was horrible. One of these agents was a close friend of a close friend. I sort of knew her.

            You cant say that is coincidental. Asked for the traffic numbers to my house for sale, “oh, I am not sure, I will get that for you”. Never to be seen. I had to be home for couple of showings, the buyer’s agent shows up and the buyer has questions. The buyer’s agent had NO IDEA HOW TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT MY HOME. My agent, they never showed up for a showing.

            Read that carefully… I was able to answer these people’s questions in no time flat. Its my home. I know it inside and out. None of this “let me ask so and so and get back to you” garbage.

            From that point on I stayed home for every showing and sold my home. What did my agent do? She got the listing onto MLS. Big deal. I can pay to have that done, and I dont even need to do that anymore.

            Listen closely brokers and corporations out there involved in RE, technology is disrupting industries left and right. You might want to have a plan-b for your careers…

        • Joe March 30, 2015 at 2:11 pm # Reply

          @Rae, sounds like you were overpriced to me!

        • Bev Van Horn October 26, 2015 at 12:50 pm # Reply

          In Arizona, we don’t use attorneys, so the contract is very strict and we pay for error and omissions insurance. I love the challenge and helping people but it is very stressful. I can’t say it’s easy after more than 13 years. I go the extra mile to help my clients. My company puts our transactions on over 900 web sites. I don’t think For Sale By Owners have that capability.

    • Dawn May 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm # Reply

      Betty I’m AMAZED that you would even consider saying what you said, let alone saying it online! Did you hate you hate being a so called AMAZING Real Estate Agent for 28 years? Yes, there are some Real Estate Agents that are not worth paying for because all they care about are their commissions and not their clients. However, there are the ones that truly do care about their clients (like myself) and who really work hard at providing great service that is worth paying for (LIKE MYSELF)!
      Don’t bad mouth Realtors because you seemed to have resented being one.

    • Bib August 4, 2014 at 1:59 am # Reply

      If all of you cared so much for your clients you wouldn’t be charging outrageous fees to sell homes. The market has radically changed. The internet does 80% of your work. No agent, I don’t care how good, deserves 2.5% for homes that sell these days in a month in most hot areas of the country. I live in southern California in an $800,000 home. I watched as I sold it in 2 weeks time and $40,000 of my money drained away. Neither agent did $20,000 worth of work. I am sorry many of you show homes on Christmas or have lost clients, but I would never ask you to show me homes on a holiday and I am certainly not around to pick up the bill from your lost business. It is ridiculous highway robbery and this virtual monopoly on sales ought to be opposed by every thinking home owner in our country.

      By the way, I can’t help but notice that all those opposed to FSBO’s are all real estate agents here. I never hear anything from brokers, escrow agents, lawyers, appraisers. Don’t you think that is most telling? Look, no one likes losing an industry, but the world changes. It’s time for this one to change as well.

      • Steve Harney August 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm # Reply

        We are not agents. No one at KCM even has a real estate license.

      • Tom McCollister September 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm # Reply

        Bib, I’m a broker in Indianapolis, and what you call ridiculous fees, is a bit harsh, those fees cover our salary, risk exposure, retirement funding, health insurance costs, and our cost of living. No matter where the market is, or what the average home price, an agents cost of living is the same as the home owners. Good agents, put a lot of time, energy and effort towards their clients interest and saving them money, keeping them protected from liability. Yes there are FSBO success stories, and all can go well, until something goes wrong. When it goes wrong, if the seller didn’t have an agent, all of that liability falls on the home owner. Not something I would want to see a friend or family member exposed to, or have their life in a shambles because something happened and they weren’t protected. Another perspective, if you were arrested for a crime and were facing jail time, would you hire an attorney or represent yourself? When you’re ill or have some other ailment, do you treat yourself or go to the doctor? Real estate agents are like any other profession, we’re the home buying and selling experts. If you want your home sold or bought with the input and expertise of an expert as you would want if you were in court being sued or ill and needed a doctor, you’ll use one. If you want to take the risk on yourself, you’ll do that too. That’s up to everyone out there who buys or sells a home. I’m sure if you ask any doctor or lawyer if you should come see them if you have an ailment or legal issue, the real estate agents of the world will tell you to come see us when you have a real estate need.

        • rae October 1, 2014 at 9:54 pm # Reply

          LOL,, Tom, how can you compare yourself to a doctor or attorney?

          I’m not trying to argue with you, but what you do has been replace by the internet. Much cheaper for buyer and seller……. What you do does not warrant 10 grand or more, sorry….

          • pete Tomaszek October 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

            I think what Tom meant is our expertise in this department.
            Agents have not been replaced by the internet. Yes find a home is easier for both parties. But you obviously have not seen a CA real estate transaction. There are 100s of documents, countless people involved. We are here to protect your investment. And we do it for very little money. The average real estate agent makes 30k a year and most do not last in the more then a year or 2.

        • James October 2, 2014 at 10:30 am # Reply

          What a joke Tom! This is the requirements from the states website concerning requirements to sell real estate. You compare yourself to a doctor or a lawyer?? Thanks for validating your ignorance.

          “The requirements to obtain a salesperson license remain the same: a 40-hour fundamentals class, passing the exam, possessing good moral character and a valid employing broker.”

          If my doctor or lawyer had those same qualifications, you can bet I would represent myself in court or treat my ailments myself. The sameway i have purchased and sold my properties without an agent.

          • Steve Harney October 3, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

            I am not a Realtor. However, I do A LOT of research in the field. Though it is true that more and more consumers have used the Internet to find info on the housing industry, it is also true that, the number of people using a real estate professional has dramatically increased. For example, over the last fifteen years, the number of FSBO sales as a percentage of all sales has dropped from 19% to 11%.

          • Bev Van Horn October 26, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

            Speak for yourself. In Arizona we take over 90 hours of class plus continuing education yearly. Every two years we have to have 24 hours of that.

        • Educated123 October 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm # Reply

          Except becoming a realtor requires a one week course vs. three to four years of graduate level education and a state bar/board exam that one has to study months for…Any argument you make prior or after that statement of comparing yourself to a doctor or lawyer is without merit. I think most people hire a realtor solely so they don’t have to deal with “potential buyers”, not because of any level of skill or expertise that adds value. We do it for mere convenience, don’t fool yourself.

          • Phillip November 12, 2014 at 10:21 am #

            With a doctor or lawyer, you pay dearly regardless of the result you seek. With a professional Realtor, you only pay once we accomplish our job. Becoming a “sales agent” may only take a week where you live but, for most that is not the case. As a Realtor (not a sales agent), our continuing education is for life… Or at least for as long as you want to stay active and practice. I have now been continuing education for a decade. That would be the only comparison between a doctor and Realtor. We both study our practice day in and day out for the life of our career. Yes we are convenient, but if I were to send you a title commitment or a simple 1-4 Residential Resale contract with a seller’s temporary leaseback and the offer being contingent on the sale of another property which by the way has three siblings as heirs to the property, etc…. You get the point. I would probably be speaking German to you if we entered a Real Estate transaction together. Be educated (fully) before making ignorant unjustified comments.

          • Ryan April 6, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

            How about to a mechanic? I get what Tom is trying to say. I would agree he used the wrong analogy. Would you take your vehicle to the neighbor down the street to rebuild your transmission though he’s never actually rebuilt one? Or, would you take your vehicle to a licensed, insured, reputable mechanic to rebuild your transmission. I would never compare myself to a doctor or a lawyer. They are way worse crooks. They don’t pay for advertising their client’s interest. If someone wants to sell on their own, I say go for it. If you need a little help, I’ll even give free advice. However, I pay for continuing education, as required by law, which many who are not in the field do not realize is required. It also costs about $1200 annually for MLS fees and board fees, because we have to be a member at the local, state, and federal level. Could I charge less for my services, sure. I’d even offer to do the paperwork for a small fee if you already have a buyer lined up. In pa, it’s called a transaction licensee. It’s a tough market either way folks. Good luck in all your endeavors! If it isn’t selling at your expected price, consider lowering it till it does, or suck it up and live in it till the market rebounds to the glory days. I’m edumacated with a BASc, but I do enjoy real estate. I enjoy my open houses for the most part. I enjoy meeting new people. I also do recall in my individual and society class, Realtors being grouped in with upper class. Sorry to burst someone’s bubble, but a good agent can make a killing without a 4 year education where they pile up 200k in debt only to get a 40k a year job.

        • Ed July 29, 2015 at 10:36 am # Reply

          Tom, I have bought and sold 5 properties in South Florida over the past 30 years. Only once did I use a Realtor due to a divorce. They got $20k of my money. The house sold in three weeks from listing it. Plus I had to fix a bunch of small BS items because my agent didn’t recommend I state “for sale as is” on the contract. I sold one house in two hours from putting up a for sale sign. It cost me $1200 for a Real Estate attorney and the sale went through without a single problem. Where’s the justification of paying a real estate agent all that money.

        • Tmac September 8, 2015 at 1:28 am # Reply

          Pardon me, but how does having an ‘agent’ protect you when things go wrong? The agent does not protect you at all. The broker and lawyers protect you. And you can sell a home via a lawyer versed in property. You make it sound like it is either an agent and protected or you are All Alone in the World selling yourself.

          Life in shambles? Ha! You have a very myopic view. 5 days before moving into our new house, after we had given our notice, shut off utilities, packed 80% of everything, etc. our agent called us and told us that the sellers agent (also the Broker of his agency) double sold the house and the other buyers were moving in today! That was not what I wanted to go through and that was with an ‘agent’!

          What did my states board of Realtors do with the complaint? Well, they listened to the agents/broker blame us, our agent, our broker, and the seller. And then they fined him a whole $275!!!

          3 or so months later we talked to our frineds. They said a house down the road just went up for sale. We called. Looked at it. And bought it from the owner in a FSBO. We paid $500 to an attorney for the paper work and moved into two weeks later.

          So what is the protection you are speaking of?

          Fact is, 80% of the agents out there are very very poor at what they do. And you never see or meet the brokers, etc. I would never use an agent again unless forced to.

      • Phillip November 12, 2014 at 10:14 am # Reply

        I am not opposed to “For Sale By Owners”. In fact, we support them. We will take a listing here or there when one has come to an end with the stress and expense that come with managing on average 100+ people who touch the file throughout the transaction. Most importantly though we are here for the folks who see and know our worth and seek our assistance. Commissions are not controlled or fixed in my area (Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas) so a buyer and seller can negotiate fees charged. It is up to the professional to show value and as you all know, being commission based we do not receive payment unless our job get’s done. With no comparison to a lawyer or Doctor, you pay them regardless of the result… Yes, the internet does a lot of the work, but please follow that up with what a homeowner would have to pay these companies to market on the internet. At, possible #1 site for “fsbo” has their BEST up front cost with no guarantee of sale for $900. Let’s pretend the few web pages you appear on are sufficient to get you the foot traffic necessary to attract a buyer, with over 96% of buyer’s hiring a professional Real Estate Broker for our services, a For Sale By Owner would still agree to pay a commission on average of 3% of sales price. Couple that with the $900 up front, plus the cost of photography, the time off work, the weekends married to your home until it’s sold since you have to be there 24-7 for that potential call/showing, etc… You get the point. Our value is in the eye of the beholder. Do not degrade the industry because you do not see worth. I sell 40-50 homes a year and make under 75k due to charging what I believe to be fair for our public. I see that this strategy will benefit me in the long run with more referred business my way, but I have been bare minimum for 10 years now so please do not attempt to take money out of my families pocket with your negative comments. If one person buys into you, then two, the three.. After all of this, I am now curious, with respect, do you make over or under $100,000 per year with what you charge for your companies services? Maybe you could be charging “too much” as well??????

      • erik July 1, 2015 at 4:47 pm # Reply

        If you only knew the commission you paid when you bought your car. Could be as much as $15,000 to the dealer and salesperson.

        We protect the buyer and the seller in our transactions so they can’t come back and sue each other or any parties involved because everything was disclosed before the sale.

        Buyers want someone to negotiate on their behalf and don’t want to work with the seller directly. Who wants that confrontation if it gets ugly.

        And what agent wouldn’t be opposed to FSBO’s? That’s not any different from a car salesman telling you to be leery of cars that are FSBO. You never know what you are going to get. If they are a reputable company, they are going to warranty their product. We do the same and we back it up if something goes wrong.

        • Tmac September 8, 2015 at 1:31 am # Reply

          And that is what Lawyers do when you use them in FSBO. Why are you trying to make it sound as if in a FSBO you are in it all alone? One can use a Lawyer in the FSBO process!!!

    • Diane August 30, 2014 at 9:50 pm # Reply

      For being a now retired Realtor® of 28 years, sure is quick for you to turn your back on what you stood for. You know this choice of career is not an easy one. Also, good Realtors that do stand for their clients regardless if buyer or seller, will do everything within legal limitations to get them all i not more than what they want. As well we are here to catch many error that a For Sale By Owner may not see. Furthermore, if you were a 28 yr award winning agent you should have more knowledge on how beneficial is to hire a REALTOR®.

    • Phillip November 12, 2014 at 9:48 am # Reply

      So for 28 years you “amazingly” charged these same fees, became “award winning”, maybe bought the nice house and expensive cars and now you say to the average consumer “you cannot believe they would pay for the same professional services”? The same services you charged for almost three decades? Especially with something as important as a home purchase or sale? With internet marketing, minimum wage, etc. increasing over the years you would think we would charge more, but NOPE, still charge the same you did 20 years ago!!! And we charge too much??? We do more work for the same money with quicker results. Imagine that!!! Back then, you put a sign in the yard, ran an ad in the paper, maybe baked some cookies and held an open house. Couple that with it taking you a few months if not longer to sell your clients home, I see the public needing us more now than they did then. Your comment is equivalent to saying a doctor gets paid way too much for you to sit in his/her office for three hours, deal mostly with their assistant’s and then get the answer you seek that makes you all better. Being a licensed Realtor is like signing up to be a career student as you should know. Continuing education is not only for the life of you actively holding a license and practicing Real Estate, but we also have to continue paying for it. Kind of like a doctor or lawyer paying for many years of school and continuing their education and studies of their practice.

    • RUDY VELIK November 17, 2014 at 7:49 pm # Reply


  3. Veronica Sims February 6, 2014 at 8:41 pm # Reply

    Selling your home as FSBO seems like a great idea to save money …until you have to deal with a lawsuit that can wipe off your savings and more. Buyers can come after the seller for not disclosing something and in that case you’ll be happy that broker’s E&O insurance and legal team will handle the mess.

  4. jim February 6, 2014 at 10:06 pm # Reply

    I sold my house by myself using Kijiji and it was not a issue. I saved about 18,000$ . I asked Realtors before my decision and the value they put on my house and then expected me to pay made me decide I could do it myself and I sold the house for 50k more than the Realtor said it was worth. The other issue I have is the quality of photos some realtors use a simple point and shoot camera.
    5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale by Owner I have 18000 why you should and the 50000 more

    • Mike February 11, 2014 at 8:19 am # Reply

      “The other issue I have is the quality of photos some realtors use a simple point and shoot camera.”

      This is a key–as a professional real estate photographer, I am constantly amazed at how low the bar is set for marketing photographs in real estate. I am always trying to educate realtors how I can make them more money by using pro photography. The vast majority of them just don’t get it (until a seller complains about the photos they provided). I think sellers also need to realize they have a choice, and start insisting that their agent hire a pro photogapher.

    • Phillip November 12, 2014 at 10:32 am # Reply

      So you spoke to an uneducated sales person, probably made them believe you were interviewing Realtors to sale your home when in reality you were deceiving them to obtain information. Yeah… You seem like the winner I want to work with… Then you decided to push your limits by $50 grand (unlikely in any state) and saved some money on the sale. Great job!! I genuinely can be happy you have a success story. How you went about it may not have been ethical, but hey, I’m not judging. That $18,000 profit could increase over 12 months if you do not eat out anymore either. We wouldn’t want you to over pay someone for doing all the shopping, prepping all the food, cooking it, plating it and serving it to you while you just sit there and relax. All while having someone wait on you. Hopefully with all that money you saved, you tip well. Jack-wagon

  5. Billy Club February 12, 2014 at 3:11 pm # Reply

    Wow…28 years as a realtor but sees no value in using one. That IS dedication.

    This week I dealt with a FSBO seller who had a serious mold issue in the house. They went to great lengths to document the updates and upgrades they had completed on the house but nowhere in the material did they provide the receipts and estimates for the mold remediation they did…until pressed for it. But a conversation in the driveway of the house revealed they were moving because their kids were deathly allergic to mold. Partway in to the deal, they decided to hire someone to do their negotiating. We bailed.

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  7. Bill February 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm # Reply

    Reasons you should not work with realtors:
    They are way overpaid for what they do.
    They list with an inflated price and suggest lowering when it does not sell in a slow market.
    Most are interested in getting the listing and hope another agent brings a buyer.

    Regardless of how you are listed, it still takes the right buyer at the right time to sell any house.

    • The KCM Crew February 20, 2014 at 4:38 pm # Reply

      Bill, you are definitely right…if you are working with a real estate agent that fits your description, it’s better not to work with one. However, the vast majority are not like that at all.

      Most agents earn every single penny they get.
      Most agents list with the intent to get it sold in the time table that best fits the family’s needs.
      Most agents are interested in doing what’s best for the buyer/seller and their families.

    • Harold Hodapp February 23, 2014 at 6:25 pm # Reply

      Question: How do FBOs screen who they are letting into their homes?
      How do they determine if a potential Buyer is pre-qualified to purchase
      An attorney has to specialize in real estate to keep up with the contract changes, etc, and I know for a fact that their fees are similar to a professional Realtor (side).
      There are more FSBO failures than successes, you just don’t hear about them. Who is going to brag that they got less for their property?

      • Tmac September 8, 2015 at 1:36 am # Reply

        False. My legal fees were $500. You don’t hear all the horror stories about agents and brokers either because if you tell what they did they may take you to court!

        How does an agent determine that? They look at the document and make a call if they must!

    • Dawn May 8, 2014 at 4:12 pm # Reply


      A great Realtor IS worth every penny…you must have had a bad experience. I agree that not every Realtor is ethical and does not have their clients best interest. Yes, there are some Realtors that will list your home for more than it’s worth…but a great Realtor will tell the seller the hard truth and walk away if needed. Greed is sometimes with the seller, not the Realtor. Our goal is to actually “sell” the property because it’s only a waste of time for everyone involved to have an over priced listing.

    • Ralph Ricci July 9, 2015 at 6:57 am # Reply

      So you would prefer a Realtor who practices dual agency – representing you AND the buyer? Who is really “fighting” for you in that case?

  8. Susan February 21, 2014 at 3:16 pm # Reply

    I was very disappointed to see this article. It is a misrepresentation of the truth. I have no issues with real estate agents, just the fees that are charged for the amount of work done. The fact is that 92% of buyers do their own searches for properties that they wish to see and lawyers do the bulk of the paperwork to close. The form in between to start an offer is not rocket science, and a lawyer can do this too. Yes, I am aware it costs money to pay for the lawyer but it is a far cry from the 10’s of thousands of dollars it costs when a real estate agent is involved. I think this article is a misrepresentation of the facts. There are many savy owners and buyers out there who realize and are turning to this method or lower flat fee services. Just like the Travel industry was toppled by internet travel services aiding consumers in finding the deals for travel and have lowered the cost of travel to the end user, it is only a matter of time before the same thing happens to the real estate industry. It is time to change a now defunct system that was created in the times that real estate agents had to go and find listings to show their clients. Most Realtors IMO are sullying the good reputation of the few good ones. This industry now seems attract allot of bottom dwelling types that get into real estate to reap the huge payouts of little work.
    I feel there needs to be reform in the way that this model works. There should be fees attached to looking with an agent paid by the buyer and a lower fee to the sellers. Why should real estate agents work “for free” until their client finds the home they want. This would hopefully make buyers a little more accountable and not make the sellers foot the whole bill.
    I for one applaud the system that has allowed people to choose how they wish to have their property and their investment marketed and sold. To each his own.
    This article is based on scare tactics to make the under educated buyer feel that this is such a hard job.
    Not so.
    Get a good real estate lawyer instead to help you close the deal.
    The comments about all the people a seller has to deal with was laughable.

    • Paul Anderson February 27, 2014 at 12:38 pm # Reply

      The fees that are charged are set by the market, not carved in stone. If there were a way for me to get paid for all the time I spend working with people who don’t end up closing, get turned down for financing, buy a fsbo on their own, don’t take the job in my city, can’t get their present house sold in another state, decide rates are too high/property taxes are too high/prices are too high/whatever…basically charge by the hour or a fee paid up-front, THEN fees would come down.
      But the way it is, there are hours and hours of unpaid work that I am compensated for by the sales the close. Lawyers get paid by the hour, take a retainer up front and really don’t care if or when you close. They are on the clock. Same with Flat Fee Listing Companies: they won’t help you price or market your property, they would rather get a renewal on their Flat Fee than see you close.
      Funny how the “Travel Agent” analogy comes up time and again. I spend an awful lot of time making travel arrangements and happily pay a competent travel agent for most of my vacations. Worth every penny.
      Lastly, why do you think the Seller pays foot the whole bill? The only person bringing money to the closing table is the BUYER. Maybe is FSBO Sellers would actually lower their price to reflect the “savings” of not paying a listing agent, that idea might fly. But, oddly, every single FSBO seller I have ever dealt with claims they are due the money that they save, they don’t offer it to the buyer. Not since the beginning of time has a FSBO seller every sold their house for less because they didn’t pay a listing agent.

  9. February 21, 2014 at 7:39 pm # Reply

    I absolutely respect everyone’s right to their opinion and their choice as to how to sell their property.

    Here are a few thoughts from my perspective as a Realtor who lists a lot of former FSBO properties:

    1. Owners are often not aware of current laws, policies, and regulations that can impact the sale of their property.


    I have seen many FSBO ads that include phrases like “perfect for couples” or “1 block from the synagogue”. These statements can be in violation of Fair Housing laws.
    Buyers who find the content of your advertising or even something that you say while showing your home have up to 1 year to file a complaint with HUD, or 2 years in Federal District Court. The cost of defending against these types of complaints may be significant.

    I have met several owners who are not aware of the requirements of the Toxic Substance Control act, which requires them to disclose in writing if their home was built prior to 1978. Owners are also required to provide buyers with an EPA approved pamphlet explaining the dangers of lead exposure.

    Others are not aware of their state/local requirements as it relates to Residential Property Disclosure. Our state requires written and signed disclosure (by both seller and buyer) that addresses every major system in the home.

    I recently listed a home that was formerly marketed as FSBO. The owner stated that he had 7 bedrooms. When I researched the county-issued septic permit, I found that it was only for 4 bedrooms. So he had been advertising a misrepresentation! When I informed him that I would have to disclose what the septic permit said and make a copy of the document available, he got angry.

    As a Realtor, I can actually be fined if I list the square footage of a house incorrectly, even if the data that I use is supplied by the county government.

    2. Representation: State and local laws regarding this issue are changing. For example, in our state Realtors are not permitted to represent both a buyer and seller in the same transaction. Recognizing the conflict of interest that this can represent, the state has worked to educate both buyers and sellers about the importance of this change in the law.
    Dual agency limits the disclosures and counsel that an Agent can make to either party, rendering them little more than procedural assistants in most cases. I am in favor of this change in our state for ethical reasons.

    3. Policy changes. Our state recently enacted a change to the Home Inspection Process that limits the time frame in which such inspections can be conducted. More importantly, it limits the kinds of repairs that a buyer can request from a seller. For example, if a system is old (or not up to current code), but is deemed as fully functional by a licensed home inspector, then a buyer cannot request that it be replaced. In my experience, home inspections used to be a second round of negotiations. Buyers would leverage inspection reports to request additional discounts to the sale price or free upgrades within the home. This change serves to limit that process and make it more affordable for owners to sell their home (albeit buyers can still withdraw within 10 days of inspection results).

    As licensed Agents, we are required by law to participate in continuing education and pass state regulated exams in order to keep our licenses active.
    As a member of the local, state and national boards, I am apprised of ongoing changes that affect the sale of residential real estate.
    For example, a decision made in federal district court last week regarding RESPA may impact how/if agents recommend closing / title companies to their clients.

    When an owner hires me to represent them, it is not only my job to effectively market their property. I am also dedicated to ensuring that every aspect of the sale process is conducted in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.
    The law requires that we maintain records of every transaction (even those that do not close) for three years. We are subject to state audit at any and all times.

    So in closing, I would say that writing or receiving an offer is just a small part of my job. I am ethically and legally responsible to represent, guide, and protect my clients in the sale of their property.

    It is more than a full time job. I have shown property on Christmas day and taken calls about a listing during my wedding anniversary dinner. I have missed family functions and evenings out with friends in order to get the job done.
    I won’t even go into great detail about the (thankfully rare) safety issues, e.g., angry neighbors who don’t want the house next door listed for sale threatening me with a firearm, etc. Despite all of that, I still love what I do.
    I am not proud of myself, but I am proud of the dedication, education, and commitment that it takes to survive and thrive in this business.

    I truly respect your opinion and your decisions, but as an Agent who has worked with a lot of formerly FSBO listed properties, I did want to share my observations.

    • April 3, 2014 at 12:54 pm # Reply

      Very well written and I completely agree with you on every aspect of your very valid points! We do spend HOURS upon HOURS of time for our Clients, and in the end, the ones that just walk away- that’s time and money we put out and never received back. It’s so common for us to show a home on Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years- every holiday and everyday of the year, because that day is usually a day that our Buyers have off. I’ve missed many family events and special quality time because of someone wanting to see a home and I go do my job! We aren’t paid hourly and I wish that the general public understood that where we hang our license, is not our employer paying us every time we open a door.

      I LOVE what I do and I am proud of what I do! I respect others opinions and decisions as well, but I wanted to share with you that I support what you wrote. Agents are here to promote the best interests of the public- we do it everyday to make the American Dream come true!

    • Dawn May 8, 2014 at 4:26 pm # Reply

      Teamsmith…thank you!!! Thank you for explaining what so many people are oblivious to when trying to sell their own house and for what they say about Realtors not being “worth” what they are paid to do. This just shows that we are worth it..we put in countless hours of work that people do not realize that go into selling a house.

  10. February 21, 2014 at 7:45 pm # Reply

    One additional change that I forgot to mention: Even responding to a buyer’s inquiry about the quality of your local school system can also leave you exposed to a possible Fair Housing complaint.
    Our local Board recently informed us of a case where an owner was asked by a buyer “how are the schools?” The owner responded “good”.
    The Buyer then complained to HUD that the owner was actually making racial inferences, i.e. “good schools” = those with a primarily caucasian student population.
    Our Board recommends simply referring buyers directly to the local School Board.

    • Robin Leigh April 20, 2014 at 1:33 am # Reply

      I train my agents to provide our clients with resources about what they want to investigate. A good school can mean 100 things to 100 different people. We don’t investigate school quality, crime statistics or anything else which has to do with an individual property or location.

      We are REALTORS, not arbiters or mediators of lifestyle choices in any way shape or form.

      And we are liable for every single thing we say and do. I’m thrilled that FSBO’s have dropped to 9% of sales. It is a nightmare to be the agent representing buyers who are trying to purchase from a FSBO. We end up doing both sides of the sale, take all the risk, get paid half the fee and usually have to deal with a seller who ‘knows everything’ until they see the contract and discover they don’t…and want us to handle it for them for free.

  11. Kurt Underkofler March 21, 2014 at 7:17 pm # Reply

    As I get older, I am getting a little more head strong. Do not get me wrong when I say this but, I think sometimes For Sale By Owner is easier if your ducks are in a row. I recently sold a house for $ 495,000 and by hiring all the right people, I ended up saving $ 20,000. It went smooth and I was grateful it did. I also think a good real estate agent is worth his weight in Gold. Great Information Thanks Kurt

  12. Ray April 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm # Reply

    My in-laws in Colorado used a service called PowerMLS to sell their home themselves that they have been raving about. The service only cost a few hundred dollars and saved them the selling commission. The service listed their house on the MLS, gave them access to MLS data of recent comparable sales in their neighborhood, and had a series of videos that taught them everything they needed to know. When we sell our home, we will probably use the same service.

    • sm July 31, 2014 at 10:24 pm # Reply

      Can you please let me know if by putting the house for sale in MLS your in-laws had to sell the house with a buyer realtor? I was told that realtors are the only ones to use this service is not that a home buyer can see this website right? Please let me know. Thanks.

      • cm August 7, 2014 at 8:58 pm # Reply

        Using PowerMLS provides internet exposure. The seller still pays the buyer’s realtor. But, many real estate agents will not show a home when negotiations are directly with the seller.

        • Andrew January 25, 2015 at 10:53 am # Reply

          It is the real estate agent’s job to show any listing a buyer is interested in. If they are screening the listings because of who is selling the home, then they deserve to lose their license.

  13. Daniel July 28, 2014 at 6:00 am # Reply

    when is it the right time to call a potential buyer to find out if they are buying the house???

  14. sm July 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm # Reply


    • pete Tomaszek October 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm # Reply

      A bank might not approve the loan for more then the appraisal is correct. But the buyer can Bring more money in CASH. If the bank does not allow that, I would get the buyer to pay both ends of the commision and put that money back into my sellers pockets. This is some of the creative thinking a FSBO might not come up with. Just 1 of 100s of things we deal with everyday.

  15. David Plourde August 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm # Reply

    I’m intrigued by the comments in this article. There is dialogue for reasons to consider both sides of the decision. Agent or No Agent? In full disclosure, I’m not a Real Estate Agent, but I am a Real Estate Consultant, and there is a difference. As a consultant my job is to build relationships, study the market, ask great questions and listen to the answers, uncover my client’s needs, help them make informed and intelligent decisions, and satisfy all their needs. That goes way beyond sticking a sign in the yard and letting the internet sell the house. Consulting is what most “Agents” are missing in our industry, and why many feel the need to take the FSBO route. “Mr. Seller would you list with me if I could Net you what you want, and do all the work for you?” If the answer is “Yes”, this is not a money issue. Selling your home is going to cost you between 4-8% of sale price either way. Every market is unique, but you’re basically saving 3% in most markets by selling it yourself. Statistics show us in most markets homes with an agent sell for more than ones sold by FSBO’s by 10% or more. How much are you saving?

    It is a Seller’s market, but its slowing. With short inventory for 2 years, FBSO’s have more options. However, inventory is on the rise and soon we will see a balanced market again. Don’t forget about all that great new construction out there resale’s. If I have buyer’s I’m probably taking them there first, and showing the FBSO second. When it shifts to a buyer’s market again, how will FBSO’s fair without agents?

    Real Estate is the most litigious industry. Any one practicing real estate deals as a FBSO opens themselves up to it. It’s your path to choose. 1) Attorney fees, photographer, website listing, advertisement, stager, handy-man, buyer’s agent commission, seller’s closing costs…etc. Have your time away from family and work, hours on the phone, a lot of paperwork running around, negotiation, and open up for unchartered territory. 2) Hire a professional consultant to help guide you to decisions that make sense for you, and help achieve your goals. Have them do all the work. If they are not doing that, along with meeting or exceeding your needs, fire them! Get one who does!

  16. Jasmine August 30, 2014 at 6:44 am # Reply

    Ridiculous! Obviously written by an agent/broker. THERE IS NO NEED FOR AGENTS. We have bought and sold two properties fsbo with no problems.

    Remember BUYER: You do not own the property, the bank does! The bank will make sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. Agents will be obsolete in a short time with the advent of the internet. Only the ignorant and the naïve go the “traditional” route. Fortunately, for brokers and agents most people are sheep.

    • Steve Harney August 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm # Reply

      Hi Jasmine,
      Congratulations on your success selling the two properties! However, regarding the rest of your comments, we would like to look at the facts instead of an anecdotal example.

      1.) It is true that buyers have used the internet more and more over the last ten years. But, it is also true that, during this time, the number of buyers using an agent to purchase their home has dramatically increased.
      2.) The percentage of sellers that have successfully FSBOed in the last fifteen years has decreased from 19% to 9%.

      BTW, there is no one working at KCM that is either a broker or agent.

  17. Andrew Johnson October 8, 2014 at 1:55 am # Reply

    It is kind of sad when people use the old marketing technique of fear and lies to an uneducated audience when it comes to real estate transactions;

    We all know that the work a realtors put in does not worth 3% on the purchase value of a house. You will be lucky if your realtor find you the property not to mention got into the trouble to come out to show you the property.

    Bottom line this is a multibillion dollar industry and realtors will keep selling you the idea that this is rocket science and involves so much negotiations that it will worth for the seller to pay 6% on the sale of their house.

    You need to negotiate with the appraiser? Really? Need to negotiate with the home inspector? Really? Need to negotiate with an lawyer? really?

    • Steve Harney October 8, 2014 at 8:48 pm # Reply

      Yes, the appraisal, the home inspection and the purchase contract are all situations a seller will need to negotiate.

  18. pvc December 17, 2014 at 8:07 am # Reply


  19. Travis S February 4, 2015 at 9:33 pm # Reply

    FSBO homes getting “cold” on the market and buyers wanting to take advantage of FSBO savings both really remove the savings that would come from a seller going without an agent.

    Using an experienced agent is definitely the way to go for higher net gains, and in more expensive markets many agents are willing to lower commissions. Meaning you can still save money by using a Realtor.

    It’s a little daunting to negotiate on your own, but just search for “compare agent commissions” and you can find some services that basically do the negotiating for you.

  20. John March 9, 2015 at 12:39 pm # Reply

    Overall the percentage of FSBOS is way down in recent years when I look a the numbers. I suspect the complexity of the transaction and the higher rate of lawsuits in all real estate transitions is a big factor. I did read in a law journal that seventy-one percent of all real estate litigation is a result of unrepresented parties in a real estate transaction. So if you sold your home that way and did not get sued then you are one of the lucky ones. FSBOs gets sued more than any other group in real estate. Good thing maybe is about half of all FSBO sales are people who know each other and are not with strangers.

  21. jody March 26, 2015 at 4:25 pm # Reply

    It costs a good deal to be a REALTOR. An agent does more than show the property. They facilitate the transaction in compliance with state laws. We are regulated and held accountable for accuracy, fair housing etc. I do not compete with FSBO – I HOPE WE ALL MAKE IT!!! Such awful comments from agent-haters. The pay is not enough in my eyes. I spend money out of my own pocket to market a sellers a home and send postcards etc for a future payday that may not happen if they change their mind or etc. That is only a drop in the bucket to the licensing fees and mandatory education classes that are not free. I put out a good deal of money upfront at Open Houses and gas for driving indecisive buyers to see a gazillion houses. The expenses are astronomical. Just saying. Besides, agents by proven statistic get more for sellers than they will fsbo so in my honest opinion, the pay is earned and worthy. Most agents have to split the commission with their firm and several other entities or team mates so its not all you think it is on that 3%.
    As an agent myself, i guarantee a fsbo isn’t going to be honest about a bad neighbor, unseen crack in fireplace, unseen latent defect, loud neighborhood etc …. and you CAN get that past a bank. Not all agents work hard you just have to find one that you feel comfortable with. They look out for their clients not other agents because they are required by law to look out for their client or they could lose their license …. did I mention that license is quite expensive to have???! People that have this negative outlook on Realtors don’t bother me because I don’t work with them. There are plenty of folks out there that are not so jaded and more realistic.

    • Lorie April 22, 2015 at 6:44 am # Reply

      Dont be Haters people!! We all have to make a living..I love being a REALTOR We all have choices on how to sell or buy a home, be it by REALTOR or FSBO… I love making dreams come true for my clients. I cover their ass and make sure they are getting the best possible service I can provide. We have a code of Ethics to follow ….If you want to sell your home with peace of mind and know the job is done right…plain and simple, HIre a REALTOR

  22. Title April 28, 2015 at 6:20 pm # Reply

    HA! A listing agent puts the house on the MLS and then waits for an offer (about 1-7 days right now). All the required forms are online. All this can be done by a homeowner for a few hundred dollars. Or they can pay someone about $15,000 to do the exact same thing. A buyer’s agent might drive you around. They’re needed only to get you into the homes you want to see. Is that worth another ten grand or so? It’s a very outdated system. They should all charge a flat fee of a few hundred dollars. Charging 6% of the sales price is outrageous. Any intelligent person can figure out the process themselves. I’ve done it before and am about to do it again.

  23. charissa jones April 30, 2015 at 10:38 pm # Reply

    Being a Realtor is no joke. Until you do it for a living u have no idea what it truly entails. It is not fair to say that we are overplayed for what we do. Every other job in the world u get a salary or dollars per hour. In real estate you can spend several hours a month and not close anything but there is no compensation in fact u spend money marketing with no guarantee. Also u have to deal with so many different personalities and can be stressful. I don’t have a problem with fsbo trying to save money I have a problem when they belittle what we do. I take care of all my clients and put out fires for them everyday. I earn every Penny that I make because I am in it to win it for all my clients. Fact is some for sale by owners need us I have helped so many that honestly could not do it on their own. Those are the fsbos I want not the ones that do not see our value.

    • Michele Davis June 10, 2015 at 12:08 pm # Reply

      Whether the “KCM Crew” incudes a realtor or real estate attorney or not is a moot point since “the crew” is clearly serving as the real estate industry’s mouth piece.

      I winced at one realtor’s post about an owner nearly losing $20,000 in an FSBO sales transaction. We had the co-owner of a real estate agency whohad won state awards, and was also heading the state realtors association during a 30 year+ career contracted to “property manage” our home and handle selling it for 7 years.

      Every renter violated the lease without reprecussions during that 7 years. In fact one of the renters – who did the most damage to our home – sued us because our “property manager” ignored state property law in not refunding his damage deposit.

      The last renters this “realtor”/property manager” put in our home were there with a flawed, unenforceable “lease-to-purchase” agreement. These renters stopped paying rent for 4 months only leaving the home under threat of eviction.

      Although the litigation we brought against the renters was decided in our favor by the court we have yet to recoup the rental monies owed us. We could have lost our home to foreclosure thanks to the incompetence of this supposedly “seasoned professional”. We incurred relocation expenses and lost income to take possession of the home rather than losing it.

      Our well documented complaint filed with the state realtors association was dismissed on a technicality. So much for the equitable outcomes of a self-regulated industry.

      In addition, to date we have lost over $30,000 in the last year because of her incompetence. Posts that point out the misinformation and “hype” presented in this article aren’t haters – some like us have been victims.

      We will be putting out house on the market FSBO. I’ve sold property like this years ago so would appreciate any advice by those who have done so. Thanks to the previous post that provided some tips.

  24. Allen R May 19, 2015 at 8:29 pm # Reply

    This article and thread response from the realtors are typical. You guys are so stinking brilliant that us dummies are going to be lost navigating through the super complex process of a sale. Sarcasm for y’all. Almost every realtor in my area sizes up your transaction potential $$$. If there is no money involved they are through talking. I understand making a living, but at 6% to 7% rate I think that price is too high. The broker is robbing the realtor while the realtor is taking the home owner for a ride. Please explain the value you bring in selling a $100,000 home vs a $300,000 home. What is the work and labor difference to earn $7000 or $21000? Does the 300k home require 3x the work? I don’t think so. My home is approximately worth 500k to 600k. I’m going to sell it but I have a hard time thinking of paying $35000 to $42000! I’m the one who is spending the money to get it ready. I built it with time and sweat literally. I’m the one cleaning it up good and keeping it show ready. $35000 is a year’s salary for many. I think I can earn that in the silly little phone calls I will have to handle. Every buyer, as far as I’m concerned, is going to try to low ball me with realtor or not. I have a market plan that is the same as the realtor; pay a fee for mls, list for free on Zillow etc. and actually take tons of good pics that highlight everything I mention and an open house once or twice per month. Realtors, please never use the word boast again in a property description.

  25. Riddhi B June 20, 2015 at 5:19 pm # Reply

    Alright – I disagree with many of the points here. I’ve personally had a great experience with when I sold my home by MYSELF in manhattan. They only charge $399 for a semi FSBO approach … they list your home on OLR, the Manhattan MLS and almost all major real estate websites like zillow, trulia,,, streeteasy etc. for 3 months plus give you multiple free managed open houses. Hands down best value and customer service I’ve seen in nyc for fsbo homesellers period.

  26. Shelly September 16, 2015 at 10:35 pm # Reply

    I am a Realtor and take my job very seriously. I pay many, many, MANY fees to keep and maintain my license, and belong to mandatory associations that really do nothing for me. There are a lot of agents out there that do nothing for their clients and shame on them! I am worth every penny of the 6% that my brokerage basically requires me to charge. I work weekends, mornings, afternoons, and nights to the point of my 6 year old daughter telling me that she needs my time. I deal with very large sums of money and respect it. I don’t get paid for the mileage that I travel when a buyer decides they want to buy a FSBO with a bad septic or looks at 50 different properties. So don’t sit there and tell me that what I do for a living isn’t worth it! My clients will tell you different. When I close a deal I feel good knowing that my sellers/buyers are happy and satisfied with every step of the process. Most agents get the sense of fulfillment from walking out of a settlement with happy clients, not just a paycheck. But that check is important – it says that I can put food on the table for my family! Because after all, I don’t get that full commission at the bottom of the HUD….part of it goes to my broker. By the way…does everyone understand agents put their listings into their multi list system which then shoots them to all the other millions of websites on which you view those nice properties?

  27. George L. Rosario November 7, 2015 at 4:50 pm # Reply

    Attention friends and neighbors,

    Add this to the many reports that prove it is always in your best interest to hire a LICENSED Realtor to sell your home. To be honest with you, I believe the % of commission we charge is a bargain compared to the possible losses an owner faces when selling their home or property on their own. A Realtor is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and is monitored and held to a higher level of integrity and fiduciary duty that the millions of “creative buyers/investors” knocking on people’s doors.

    It amazes me that people spend less time planning the sale of their home than they do when choosing what to eat at a restaurant. Do your homework, interview a couple of Realtors and when you find which one fits your needs the best, hire him/her. Remember that you pay for what you get so be careful with the discount agents that say they will sell your home for extremely low, discounted commissions. They usually cost you a lot more than you would have paid a reputable Realtor that does not discount his/her commission. Cheap really does generate cheap (cheap discounted agent = cheap discounted low-end service).


    George L. Rosario
    Realtor with Coldwell Banker Kueber

  28. Sell real estate privately November 8, 2015 at 11:09 pm # Reply

    From the look of the replies, there’s a lot of emotion. At our company we do both sell and list. We find its up to the individual and there confidence as to how well things go in a private sale. So getting support through some of the steps can work it really depends on the persons make up. We’ve seen some people work through it easy other stumble a bit. But I will say that selling privately can work and should not be the exclusive of realty companies. The realty industry needs to say more that we always get higher prices…its a muted comment. The real threat is technology and that’s not going to go away.

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