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5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale by Owner

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale by Owner

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.


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148 replies
  1. Pat Tasker
    Pat Tasker says:

    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 $$$$

      • Florida Seller
        Florida Seller says:

        Just sold my home FSBO. Agreed on a lower price based on no commission. Forsalebyowner place me on the MLS, Realtor.com, Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, etc. Provided me with the contracts, forms (disclosure, etc), and tools to pre-qualify potential buyers. Local real estate attorney was able to handle contracts, escrow, and title closing all within house at 1.6% closing costs. Brokers are lazy.

        • Selling
          Selling says:

          All brokers are not. I wonder how much more the agent could have got you that would have covered their commission, all of your cost with the title company, ect. They also save time. When you are at work, or enjoying your life, or raising your kids, they are working hard studying the market, showing your home so that you wont have to leave work or stop your day to do so. Also they stay on top of the lenders and buyers to make sure everything works smoothly. Just like their are lazy people at any other company and hard workers it is the exact same in Real Estate. Now a days, the MLS like HAR.com has a fool proof system that shows past clients experiences with Realtors so that you know you are getting someone that will out perform your expectations. The emails are sent directly to the buyers and sellers and the Houston Association of Realtor Client service department follows up to verify.

          • Garth
            Garth says:

            AGREED ! Seller on the cheap just don’t realize their time invested in selling is actually costing them and their lifestyle. It’s also worth mentioning most realtors are able to cover all the costs of hiring a brokerage to list/sell plus none of the headaches. In the end, it’s worth using a broker, less time involved, less stress, less liability and a lot more of less. AND, a seller is only saving half or less by trying to sell on their own. I wonder how many folks out there would be willing to go to court and represent themselves, inproper, vs. hire a lawyer.

        • Mark
          Mark says:

          Most buyers look at FSBOs like an item at a garage sale. Example: How much would you pay for a new camera at BestBuy? Well, the asking price. Now you see the same camera, brand new in a box, at a Garage Sale. How much would you pay for it now? 20% less, 30% less even half price. That’s how FSBOs are viewed by buyers. They realize the seller is going cheap by not hiring a Realtor so there’s their 5 or 6% discount to start off. Add another 5 to 7 percent discount to their offer. Let alone showing strangers off Craigs list your entire home. Statistically FSBOs are sold at 12% less than similar homes sold by a realtor in the same neighborhoods. All because sellers wanted to save 5 or 6%. Not to mention the headache of having to deal with marketing, showing, filling the bundle of paper work and then risking their livelihood in a potential lawsuit from a buyer. Also remember, FSBOs can not use Real Estate Commission approved forms. If you decide to sell your home by yourself, good for you but good luck to you as well. And after a few months of headaches, find a realtor, tell them what you want to NET, that’s your goal anyway, right? Let him or her go to work. Make sure though the realtor does not have more than 15 to 20 active listings, because then they’re too busy to respond to your every inquiry.

          • B
            B says:

            Ha! The consumer isn’t stupid and to say that a realtor can get you more money is false especially when you quote they get more money on the sell. It’s because the seller can take less and MOVE it quicker as a fsbo . I’ve done it three times in two different states and every time made more than with a realtor. Besides you can negotiate the price better not having to pay a realtor. Paperwork? I’ll pay my attorney $200 thank you and let him handle the closing. I’m not going to be at court if he messes up.

        • Suzie Armos
          Suzie Armos says:

          Just sold my house on Zillow. No realtor needed. I did all the forms myself. It’s not rocket science. Anyone can sell their home themselves unless they just don’t have time. It’s an outrage on what realtors charge. The would have made over $20k that I get to keep!!

          • Mike De Munbrun
            Mike De Munbrun says:

            Hello Susie
            My wife and I are thinking about selling your house within one year. Could I ask you where you got all the necessary forms and how did you go about finding a good real estate attorney ?
            Thank you in advance.

            PS I live in a Desirable Pl., Wildwood, MO and homes are selling and less than three weeks that is one of the big reasons we want to sell ourselves .

          • Heather
            Heather says:

            Hi Susie! Doing a lot of research and seriously considering selling my home FSBO in Arlington. I’m in the same boat as you. Looking at about $20k realtor costs. Did you use an attorney? If so would you consider sharing the firm and costs with me?

          • lisa williams
            lisa williams says:

            I found that realtors will say anything to get n MLS listing not make efforts to sell and ask u to sell super cheap so they can make money faster very frustrating i have also had them not be responsible locking home etc

        • Gary Cox
          Gary Cox says:

          And herein lies the fallacy of FSBO. “Agreed on a lower price based on no commission.” On average, 13% lower nationally. So, no net increase, and in fact, less in your pocket. Now, save the % and take on all the risk and pitfalls of all of the new lending rules. Gift funds, loan programs, TRID, Rights and Duties, Estoppels, Disputes, risk of Liz Pendens. I bought and sold 150+ properties using a full service broker…when the one time I sold without, I saved 6% and the Buyer sold within 6 months at $40,000 more, NET! I am now licensed, and tell this story often!

          • Dave
            Dave says:

            I’ve sold four houses FSBO and if you want to spend some time and put in some you can do it I’ve sold the home for the price I asked which was the highest price of any home listed in the neighborhood.
            Yes, I bought errors and omission insurance. I have a very good attorney that I pay well but no where near 6%.
            FSBO isn’t for everyone. Like I said starting off: I spent time and put in a lot of work! Let me say it again: I spent time and put in a lot of work!
            The reason I don’t use agents is the arrogant tone of most of the comments above. They insult my intelligence.
            Most sellers are unwilling to put in the research time to know pricing, how to show or learn the sales process.
            If you want to be “sell quick and save money” you shouldn’t do FSBO. But, if you are a motivated, willing to research how to do it right and put in the work-you can do FSBO. Someone has to put in the work. If you aren’t willing to do the work get an agent and pay them for their work.

        • Judy
          Judy says:

          Excuse me, if you hire a GOOD agent, you #1 will net more than you will on your own…. proven .
          What about Errors and Omission, are you covered if your buyer finds something wrong that wasn’t discovered or disclosed ? Did you negotiate on your own behalf ? surely you did…. mistake.
          Did you have all buyers pre approved ? Do you know the person that is walking through your home ? Did you have a “Brokers Tour” with the experts as far as staging and price ? Did you have a signed agreement under a week ? You should have had multiple offers in this particular market….did you have multiples ? Were you able to show your home to every buyers needs as far as time ? Were you able to get back to the prospective buyer within seconds ? Who negotiated the home inspection items …. because you failed at being a great realtor, don’t blemish the noble profession of hard working 24/7 agents that care about their clients, you on the other hand only care for #1….or you wouldn’t have cut out the best part of Home buying and selling and that is a caring and hard working agent/broker …. hoping you don’t have any lawsuits down the road, the sites you spoke of I doubt will be there for you….

        • Ken Crotts
          Ken Crotts says:

          So you did all of the work, took all of the risk and handed over the commission you should have been saving to the buyer. Conversely you could have listed the house and had a good agent handle everything. A lot less risk and hassle for the same net price.

  2. Betty Johnson
    Betty Johnson says:

    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.

    • Robin Leigh
      Robin Leigh says:

      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
        rae says:

        @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..

        • pete Tomaszek
          pete Tomaszek says:

          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
            Jill says:

            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…

        • Bev Van Horn
          Bev Van Horn says:

          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.

        • Garth
          Garth says:

          RAE: In CA and several other states, escrow companies handle the title needs and real estate agreements. Real estate agents/brokers handle all the contracts and negotiations. Not all agents are flim flam. Lot’s of them are but lots of them aren’t full time agents either and use the job for side income. Those types, not all, aren’t the ones folks should use and likely are the ones who give the industry a bad reputation.

          For those discussing attorney’s/lawyers “to help” them in their sale, lawyers are the worst at embezzling clients out of cash. When you think it over, they are paid by the hour, not by success so good luck is always needed.

      • Lolli
        Lolli says:

        I have never had any real estate agent do as much to sell my house as I have. I have sold 5 and on my 6th and I had to hold their hand, take the photos, do the write-up and sometimes show the house myself! This is in 4 different states. 3 of them said “Wow, you are so good at this you should be an agent!” One even left for a spur of the moment vacation during negotiation. I will NEVER use an agent again. FSBO and a good real estate attorney-thank you very much!

    • Dawn
      Dawn says:

      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
      Bib says:

      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.

      • Tom McCollister
        Tom McCollister says:

        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
          rae says:

          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
            pete Tomaszek says:

            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.

          • Kerry O'Brien
            Kerry O'Brien says:

            I’m a lawyer, and people think they can draft their own wills, contracts, etc. based on what they find on the internet. And many times, nothing goes wrong. But many times, it does, and they are spending thousands and thousands more, sometimes tens of thousands more, to fix what would have been prevented by using an attorney at the outset. It’s all about risk. You FSBO, you bear certain risks. Maybe it turns out OK. Maybe it doesn’t.

        • James
          James says:

          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
            Steve Harney says:

            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%.

          • Kai
            Kai says:

            Just love it !! I’m sold!

            I’m convinced my 4 years college education is much better than a 40 hours fundamental class. I owe myself to at least give it (FSBO) a try.

        • Educated123
          Educated123 says:

          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
            Phillip says:

            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
            Ryan says:

            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
          Ed says:

          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
          Tmac says:

          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.

        • Garth
          Garth says:

          Tom, should we translate the commissions into hourly pay? They would realize we are not so overpaid if we did. Some of the agents out there don’t see a commission for a few weeks to a month. How many folks can handle that?

      • Phillip
        Phillip says:

        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 forsalebyowner.com, 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??????

        • LinkaMalinka
          LinkaMalinka says:

          It amazes me how people who have never been in real estate are putting
          our profession down. Passing exam is just a beggiming, after that is a continuous training and lots of hard work. Thank you for your wonderful comments.

      • erik
        erik says:

        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
          Tmac says:

          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!!!

          • Chris
            Chris says:

            Everyone say’s get a lawyer, but can’t afford one if there’s a suit. It also depends what state your in. In Some states Lawyers additionally have to have a License to practice real estate.

        • Skip
          Skip says:

          @eric… what world do you live in? I sold cars for 40 years and never approached your figure in gross profit. The average front end profit before the advent of internet pricing was $800 per transaction… it has declined since then. As a car dealer, I made my profit from the parts and service departments and was happy to break even in sales.

          • DRM
            DRM says:

            I made $10,000. on a used car… that is where the money is. I did this is the summer. I have a master’s degree and have been a college professor for 28 years and make $42,000./year. It’s ridiculous. My kids are grown and I am so sick of being under paid. I have a had my real estate license for a year and it is hard work. I just got my first check…. it was $1900., not $20,000. The average agent only makes $35,000. About 85% of agents quit within the first 2 years… because they can’t do it… it is hard. Most of you have no clue what you are talking about. If you haven’t walked in someone’s shoes, keep your mouth shut!!!

    • Diane
      Diane says:

      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
      Phillip says:

      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.

    • PS
      PS says:

      Hi Betty,

      I would like to discuss it. I have bought two homes and paid for realtors and totally agree that value is non existent. Can you please let me know if we can discuss via email or phone?

    • Selling
      Selling says:

      I would have to strongly disagree. Realtors can bring in a hire profit because of their knowledge which would cover their cost and the fees that the seller would incur.

  3. Veronica Sims
    Veronica Sims says:

    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
    jim says:

    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
      Mike says:

      “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
      Phillip says:

      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
    Billy Club says:

    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.

  6. Bill
    Bill says:

    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
      The KCM Crew says:

      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
      Harold Hodapp says:

      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
        Tmac says:

        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
      Dawn says:


      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.

  7. Susan
    Susan says:

    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
      Paul Anderson says:

      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.

    • Garth
      Garth says:

      Susan, “the amount of work done”? Is that all you see? Being self employed cost’s lots of revenue such as rent, insurance, realty fees/licenses, education and training to keep your license current, health insurance, retirement plans, phone, gas, car, maintenance etc etc. Then, we can add for being a member of all of the required organizations, the key realtors use to open a lock box (Not Cheap), monthly dues and so forth. Oh, and one other expense, having the access to the MLS, that’s also an expense each quarter. Is all the above supposed to be work to justify what it costs to be a realtor or a broker?

      When you convert all the above into a realtors time, you would be surprised to know their time is expensive. Besides, the seller pays your agent plus, all agents usually put their time at risk, up front with the client, free of charge. How many folks in business do you know work for free with you in advance of their pay? Plus, there are many clients who use realtor services and never purchase a property. Guess what? That agent just did all that service at a cost and didn’t get paid a dime.

      The reform real estate needs is to keep the MLS off of the internet sites and require clients to seek a realtor for their services. Those agents who pay much to be in business lose big when the MLS opens all the listings to the public. Nothing else changed in behalf of the agents when the MLS went on the websites. In other words, their costs to deal with a buyer didn’t get cheaper but the number of buyers had shrunk big time.

  8. teamsmithva@gmail.com
    [email protected] says:

    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.

    • Stacey@Staceysellsidaho.com
      [email protected] says:

      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
      Dawn says:

      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.

  9. teamsmithva@gmail.com
    [email protected] says:

    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
      Robin Leigh says:

      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.

  10. Kurt Underkofler
    Kurt Underkofler says:

    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

  11. Ray
    Ray says:

    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
      sm says:

      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
        cm says:

        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
          Andrew says:

          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.

  12. sm
    sm says:


    • pete Tomaszek
      pete Tomaszek says:

      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.

  13. David Plourde
    David Plourde says:

    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!

  14. Jasmine
    Jasmine says:

    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
      Steve Harney says:

      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.

  15. Andrew Johnson
    Andrew Johnson says:

    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?

      • Maria
        Maria says:

        Since when do you negotiate with an appraiser??? They are supposed to be impartial and appraise the house based on comparables. Otherwise they’re just shady.

        • Garth
          Garth says:

          Appraisers are not impartial unless the seller hires one before it is put on the market. Even at that, it’s really not impartial as the hundreds of appraisers out there all have various opinions, hardly any of them will end up with the same value.

          Regarding purchases that include a home loan, those are not impartial at all, they all work for the banks and they all will likely find lower values as that is what they are told to do, be conservative because this loan only has 5% down or the credit score of their client is low or for other reasons. It didn’t used to be that way before 2012 but today, the lenders control the “pool” of appraisers and they all have to work for a cheap fee, area of $150, while the banks charge the borrower $450 for the appraisal. Also, appraisals use two methods to arrive at a value, comparative and by use.

  16. Travis S
    Travis S says:

    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.

  17. John
    John says:

    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.

  18. jody
    jody says:

    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
      Lorie says:

      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

  19. Title
    Title says:

    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.

    • Garth
      Garth says:

      You don’t see the forest through the trees. “All they have to do is put it on the MLS”. That statement is like saying “all you have to do is have the winning lotto number”.

      You go ahead and become a realtor and then tell us how inexpensive and easy it is to get access to the MLS let alone get licensed and stay afloat in the realty business. There’s much involved to maintain your license, be a member of the MLS, have access to lock boxes and so forth. Most agents have a $3,000 expense every month just to keep the minimal needs in place to do business. Then, there’s quarterly and annual fees plus whatever the broker takes on each sale.

  20. charissa jones
    charissa jones says:

    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
      Michele Davis says:

      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.

  21. Allen R
    Allen R says:

    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.

    • Really
      Really says:

      I find it quite interesting that not one real estate agent could respond to this one! Allen makes a good point! I’d like for any agent to describe how they are doing 3x or 5x the work for a home listed at 300k or 500k. So maybe you take a few extra pictures, even add the listing to your home page or on the cover of your magazine, but that is not worth an extra $10,000-30,000! Seriously! Please explain!

      When selling my $300k home, I was hounded by literally hundreds of agents wanting to list my property. When I asked what they could do for me for the $9000 they would be making, they said things like “we take amazing pictures”, but my pictures were beautiful taken by a professional photographer already, so then they would say, “we do a video”, to which I responded, my son does video editing for a living and could do a beautiful video if I wanted one. Then some would say, “we have a list of 1000’s of buyers who are ready to buy”, to which I would respond, “I’m familiar with those investors who are looking for the best deals and want you to let them know when one comes up and my house is not a fixer upper that investors these days are looking for.” Then they would say, we market online to 100’s of websites, to which I would respond “most mls postings automatically connect with 100’s of websites and we all know that realtor.com is the most important as is buyers agents being able to find you on the mls.” So the point is, not one of these answers warranted even paying $500, let alone $9000!

      The best answer was from a friend of mine who said she loved my house, was a great negotiator and would get a buyer to close. I believed that she would talk up my house to any buyers agent which would help them know in their minds that it was a great house. But no, I still didn’t list with her because I understood the current market where it really is timing and the right buyer that gets the sale.

      So to all you agents out there, with the new technology, watch how you value yourself. The technology is not a good sell as what you do online is not worth much. We can all do that.

      Your value is what your do after the offer. But, even if it took a weeks worth of your time, which in most cases, 40 hours is more than enough, you are saying you are worth $375/hr for listing a $500k home? Because you are trained? Real estate training in most states takes approximately 100-200 hours and average cost is $200-500 to get your license. Most people with a college degree these days have trouble making $20-$30/hr for 4 years of training and $100,000 in education costs. I would respect the cost much more if real estate agents had to have 4 year degrees. Continuing education you say and annual fees? Well, many professions have those. I don’t think an agent who puts in 40-50 hours to sell my house is worth more money than my child’s teacher who puts in …. well I could list what they put in but it would take up a whole page.

      The percentage approach is so clearly out of line with reality. Gone are the days where you can convince buyers that a house is worth more so that you can sell for a higher price to account for the commission. The comps and appraisals determine the value and any buyer or buyers agent, is going to do their research. I truly can’t believe there are that many sellers who pay those high fees for their higher valued homes. It’s like giving money away. Real estate agents are overly arrogant for the lack of education and training in their profession compared to other professions.

      Real estate agents and brokers should have a flat fee based on the various services they will provide regardless of price. Period.

  22. Riddhi B
    Riddhi B says:

    Alright – I disagree with many of the points here. I’ve personally had a great experience with http://www.hauseit.com 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, realtor.com, homes.com, 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.

  23. Shelly
    Shelly says:

    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?

  24. George L. Rosario
    George L. Rosario says:

    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

  25. Sell real estate privately
    Sell real estate privately says:

    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.

    • retta
      retta says:

      I have read this discussion with interest as I’m about to drink the poison and do a FSBO. I have had two previous real estate buy/sells in the last year and used a realtor both times. When I was the seller, my realtor was clearly working for the buyer and wouldn’t talk to me once she got her $30,000 (3%) commission in her pocket. When I was the buyer, on the other hand, I found that my agent was pressing me to pay a much higher price than what the house was worth (more commissions in her pocket). I did, unfortunately, because I wasn’t familiar with the town, and she hasn’t spoken to me since, because why? Both of these sub-human agents are on to their next victim. FSBO couldn’t be half as bad as this.

  26. Bob
    Bob says:

    I could argue both sides. I am on my 7th real estate transaction and have taken it “in-house” for the last 5 transactions. I have seen absolutely horrible agents that will be DETRIMENTAL to the sale. It pained me to see them make money off the commission. I have also seen some completely awesome agents who are go-getters and extremely professional.

    So, if you do not have the time or expertise to properly stage a house, take professional pictures, get that award winning description, and have great people skills to SHOW and SELL a house then hire a pro. We all have our calling, some are not called on to sell houses, but try to do it anyway :)

  27. James L
    James L says:

    I know the arguments of both sides. I became a real estate agent to help people. There are a plethora of reasons a listing agent can be a boon. Many of them have been stated here in the various replies.

    There is one that is often overlooked. Real estate agents have a circle of contacts surrounding them. This circle includes companies that can handle the repairs. This is actually very important for two reasons.

    1) A contractor who is often contacted by a particular agent can often give a discount for a repair. Example: One FSBO I worked with had bought and sold commercial real estate for 40 years. He was very experienced in the commercial world. In the residential world, we treated it like a game. He over valued his home as a FSBO, and once we had a working deal that made it through the appraisals… it was the home inspection we had to deal with. The buyers wanted a new roof, and the buyer’s agent was adamant they get it. The buyers agent was a relative you see. Knowing that ‘old’ didn’t mean ‘broken,’ I fought off the new roof. The owner was prepped to spend the $5,000 for the new roof… but he hung onto that. It did however, need some repairs. He called his roofing contacts, and I called mine. Estimates were placed in sealed envelopes so we could open them together.

    My roofer beat his by $300+. And these were contacts he had used often. Same happened for plumbers, electricians, etc for each repair he agreed to make. He was astonished. I wasn’t.

    The commercial world is vastly different from the residential world. Our circle of trusted contractors is extremely important. We get excellent prices for necessary repairs because we are not ‘one and done deals’ with these contractors. If you call someone without a referral for a repair, there is a very good chance you are going to pay top dollar for that repair. The contractor knows they will likely never hear from you again.

    But from an agent? It’s better to give a discount on ten jobs, than to go for broke on one.

    2) Because of the circle of trust, a lot of the contractors know they are going to get paid for the job. Whether it is right away, or at settlement, they are going to get a check. So if a repair must be made prior to settlement, which is often the case, many of my contractors will agree to get paid at the end of the month. This can be critical for a homeowner. Think about it. The last thing you want is to have a suit brought against the home for non payment of contractor services. It WILL kill a deal.

    But repairs can be costly. A homeowner may not have the funds to cover various repairs. They may need the money for a deposit on another place to live, rental vans, storage fees, etc.

    So in summary… Agents do a lot more than just list a home. We keep the wheels of a deal moving. If an agent can save a homeowner thousands during the inspection phase, by warding off unnecessary repairs, or getting the repairs done with their circle… it’s still money saved. It just happens to be money that most people ‘forget’ about when it comes to talking about the cost of hiring a good real estate agent. Just food for thought.

  28. Matthew
    Matthew says:

    “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.”

    No it doesn’t. All it shows is that more expensive properties are more likely to be sold by realtor.

  29. Vicki
    Vicki says:

    Sellers and buyers have been using Realtors for 200 years. Nine out of ten FSBO sellers will end up listing with an agent. Those are facts and as we like to say in the industry, the numbers do not lie. I salute sellers who give it a go on their own. If they end up being the one out of ten then I say great job! It’s not about fighting whether agents offer value, but if they offer value for your particular situation. Savvy buyers will seek out FSBO sellers because they feel they can get them to lower the price because they’re not paying a Realtor commission. Buyers expect to reap some of that savings. Once the price is lowered.,what’s set in motion stays in motion. I am a Realtor and my position is that if an agent can get you the amount that you require for your home and still make their commission, what is wrong with that? There are brokers and agents in many industries that one may not feel comfortable acting without representation. Agents are not weasels preying on the weak. We work hard to get and keep our licenses. It’s costly to maintain our memberships. We are required to keep our CE current and we attend training weekly. I would like to know if anyone on these posts that had a successful FSBO used a Realtor to purchase their next home? The pool of buyers and sellers is much larger when you hire a Realtor. Why would you want to limit your pool to one buyer or one seller from a single posting or from a yard sign?

  30. sc
    sc says:

    I sold my home FSBO for the same price as my neighbor. Same floor plan, similar everything. Saved $36,000. In a hot market, you’d have to have a hole in the head to use an agent. Just declutter, paint and make everything look CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN! The house will sell itself. The ONLY reason why I would not FSBO again is if my company paid for that service to move me elsewhere….

  31. sc
    sc says:

    A couple more things…

    -This was my first FSBO experience.

    -Fired my agent after 5 months – she brought offers but they were all too low and I felt like the agent kept pushing me to take the lower offers. Agent came from an agency that practically dominates my area. Had to wait 30 days to be sure the agent had no claims to a fee (and I couldn’t sell to anyone who saw the house with any agent already). I ended up stopping a car that drove by REAL SLOWLY to eyeball my house. Turns out these were local people who dreamt of “moving up” in housing and didn’t consider buying a bigger place until they saw my house and yard sign (from Home Depot). Market may have been hot but this was in the MIDDLE OF WINTER – the agent wasted all of the prime selling season.

    -After the buyers and I came to an agreement, we filled out the contract together. Contract was provided by a local real estate lawyer. I paid him $500 bucks to read through and make sure everything looked good for both me and the buyers.

    -From this point on, the title company did almost ALL OF THE WORK for me and the loan company for the buyers did almost ALL OF THE WORK for the buyers.

    -Was WAY simpler than I had imagined. Both buyers and I ended up really happy. I saved $36,000 and the buyers told me they appreciated being able to talk to me direct about the house and all of the upgrades/needed upgrades.

    -My house was not a terribly unique property so was easy enough to determine what the market value on it was. Sold price was right in line with others like mine in the area that sold recently.

    I see a lot of people encouraging others to use a real estate professional, but the way I look at it is – if you are willing to spend a few months educating yourself about your local market and the selling process, clean and declutter like there is no tomorrow, then your efforts will more than pay for itself. The $36,000 I saved is mine….no tax. In order for me to SAVE and additional $36,000 in my savings account, it would take me YEARS! So the few months I spent working to learn my local market and clean and declutter and paint and do minor repairs was more than worth it.

    So, don’t be intimidated. Most people who give up the FSBO process wasn’t willing to learn the market or the selling process but that is a steep price to pay for the convenience of an agent.

  32. Jonh Potter
    Jonh Potter says:

    I definitely recommend to use services of realtor when selling your flat, house etc.. They have contacts and they also know how to set the price. So finally, you´ll probably earn more, even if you include the commision.


  33. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    Oh Boy. I couldn’t disagree more. Sold as FSBO in past, and doing it again now. Saving $10K a pop by doing it myself.

    Yes, if you are scared to negotiate and won’t spring for professional signage and a clean, streamlined home…of course hire a pro.

    But let’s not kid ourselves…real estate agents charge a very steep rate to ‘market’ a home (e.g., list it in the MLS).

    I can do the same thing for $300…get professional flyers for another $40, run a few open houses, and offer a 2% commission…and keep the other half.

    I’d add that in addition to the above, the magic marketing technique of almost all realtors seems to be “lower your price”.

    If that is the case, lower it to what you would have to pay a realtor and see what happens. Because if you hire a pro, you’ll be lowering that price possibly double the amount. (Once to move the house, and the second time to pay your realtor).

    The study saying realtors get higher prices has been debunked in mainstream news sources. It was by the NRA and it included FSBO of mobile homes. No surprises that will lower the average for FSBO v. realtor, since overwhelmingly, such sales are by individuals rather than realtors.

    Agents have a place in the market as an advisor and a deal broker. But on much lower comp basis. The only reason they’ve been able to survive is scare tactics. It can’t go on forever.

  34. Brett
    Brett says:

    Selling a home yourself has always been a hot button topic. The nice thing about democratic societies is that we all have choices. For example, I built a car myself but I would never consider building a home myself. The real estate industry is becoming increasingly regulated and more and more laws and regulations are being applied to all of us that can and do affect some aspects of home buying and selling. There are experts who can help you do what you either do not have the time or the expertise to take on yourself. There are very good real estate agents who are very competent and successful at selling homes. There are also some who are not just like any other profession. When you need help do your homework.

  35. Donna
    Donna says:

    Bought and sold a FSBO. Yes there is a lot of paperwork. But $15,000 worth? not even close. I listed my house with a realtor twice and they did nothing but the lower the price game. I did not want to play that game – the realtor still gets their money the reduction only comes out of my pocket. We listed the house at the price we would have sold less the 6% fee and it sold. Sounds like a win to me.

  36. Suzie Armos
    Suzie Armos says:

    I just listed my house on Zillow and sold it myself. It was no trouble at all.I don’t think I’ll ever use an agent again. I also just bought a house and the seller used an agent. He shouldn’t have. I found the house myself on zillow and offered a contract the first day on market. The realtors involved really did very little. The Title Co are the ones who do all the work on a transaction. I’m thinking of becoming an agent myself…seems like a racket to me.

    • sara
      sara says:

      Suzie, good for you selling your home by owner. I am selling my house on Zillow also. My house is in Orlando, FL. What forms do I need and where can I get them? They say you cannot use the ones realtor’s use.

  37. FSBO
    FSBO says:

    This is clearly a biased post. First of all, the average price of a fsbo home is lower than the average price of a realtor sold home because people with more expensive homes generally sell through a realtor. It has nothing to do with the ability of the owner to sell at the same price as a realtor. Then they say that people will expect to pay less because there are no fees – just don’t sell for less. When they mention that you are not paying fees just ask them what those fees would have done for the buyer – nothing! The home is the same value regardless of how much you would have been taken for by a realtor. Do you sell your car for less because the buyer got a loan on the car? No. It has nothing to do with the buyer. They are buying a house that has a certain value. The value is in the home, not in the sales tactics of the broker. If they don’t like the price then they aren’t a serious buyer. A broker won’t change that. Sure, brokers have experience negotiating, but if you set a number and stick with it then you can do the same exact thing. Most sales are attracted by online listings, not by the realtors.

  38. Camilla
    Camilla says:

    Selling out third home by ourselves. Would NEVER use a realtor!Our lawyer does up the agreements for us. He knows WAY more than any realtor about the legalities of a sale. ( A lawyer will do these for a couple 100 dollars or less)
    First house we sold for $6550 less than the realtor wanted to list for.- 0 commissions. Last house we sold we sold for exactly what the realtor wants to list it for- % 0 commissions. This time we had realtors tell us we should price according to previous sales even though ours is a rising market. We listed on mls ourselves, listed for 20% more and had an offer for 10% over that!
    Keys to selling:
    -keep everything professional!!!: hire a photographer to do a real estate package- well worth it; have a website for your home ( we used weebly) ;
    – go on “fiver” and hire someone to do SEO for you for 5 bucks so you get exposure!
    -do a mere posting so you are on mls
    -use Vista print for materials- flyers, post cards, sell sheets
    – we ran colour newspaper ads and got a ton of interest from this- worth it in our opinion.
    -stage/ declutter and do touch ups on your home. We spent $75000 in renos etc and listed for an extra $200000, which we got.

    Ask a realtor to bill you for their time and expenses instead of working for commissions- they won’t do it! That should tell you something: they can’t account in time what they want for commissions- YOU ARE GETTING HOSED!

  39. BB
    BB says:

    Wasted almost an entire month and $650 in inspections trying to buy a house from a FSBO seller. She was certifiably nuts, she couldn’t handle communicating in a timely fashion (it would be DAYS before she got back to my agent), didn’t know how to use email or download attachments, refused to deal with a serious termite problem in multiple locations in house and garage, kept reiterating how much money she’d put into improvements (yeah, about 16 years ago), raised the offer after verbally accepting my very good counteroffer–I stupidly agreed–then informed us of the termites. When I finally gave up when she wouldn’t address the termite problem or even negotiate on it (she’d crossed out the standard termite language on the offer), she harassed my very well-respected buyers agent and blamed her. Be afraid, be very afraid……

  40. FSBO x 30
    FSBO x 30 says:

    I have sold 30 homes in 4 states myself. I sold to a man in Japan from a Sunday ad.
    I sold to a JC Penny executive that was relocating and 3 major agencies had shown him nothing in 2 weeks. I have sold in two days or 14 months – buyers arrive when they do. Every 3 – 4 months there is a whole new set of buyers looking. I have agents scream at me, pull up my signs, show the house and leave the front door wide open and the electric stove burners turned on. I have had agents change my lock box code, tell their clients I do not own the house and am running a scam or give their clients my lock box code to let themselves in as they do not have the time (this has happened over 6 times with 6 different agents) to drive over. The last house I sold the agent told me she had a cash buyer with a quick two week close. I gave a good price in consideration – we closed 6 weeks later, the buyer had no money – he was waiting for his father to pay. The agent falsified documents, gave the clients the code and told them they could move in before closing so it would “go faster”. She refused a disclosure form from me stating “I don’t deal with amateurs” and would not take my phone calls. Her broker had no idea who she was – he told me he has over 100 agents working for him and he is not responsible for anything. Remember dear agents: 1) not everyone wants to deal with an agent so there will ALWAYS be a market for FSBO 2) if FSBO sellers are such inept people – then your problem is solved – we will be so unsuccessful that we will come crawling to you, begging for your expertise and hopefully you can find the house (I have had at least 20 calls, even with GPS, from hopelessly lost agents trying to find the house). 3) FSBO folks are not always there for the savings, I personally know my house (apparently agents have no idea what a “radon mitigation system” looks like) or where the closest grocery store is, where the kids will be picked up for school or about the annual subdivision Garage Sale. I also answer the phone, I would be there for a showing if the house is occupied for safety and theft reasons (check your insurance policy, if you don’t see the theft and there is no obvious break in – no claim – I lost a wall hanging in the living room and surprise!!! it just grew legs and walked after a midday surprise showing when I was not home). And yes, the agent knew nothing – no use calling the broker, she was also the broker and had admired it when she listed the house – opps, that is right – real estate agents are all great honest people – that is why so many lose their license and the real estate board is swamped with complaints. I am looking for property again myself. I just called an agent from a listing on Trulia. I was given a appointment for a return call between 6 – 7 pm. by his assistant. Yes, he never called.
    I tried to track down more information on the house and found out even thought it is on Trulia as active – it closed almost 2 months ago. If you don’t believe me – email me and I will give you the address of the property and the agents name.

  41. 7cedars
    7cedars says:

    I am totally renovating my parents house, after having moved them into a more “disability friendly” house. I, with the help of my nephew and others, professionals when needed, have done all the work. I have contacted a professional real estate photographer, and also a professional web guy. After it is staged, photographer will come in, ship pictures to web guy, and everything will be put on the net. In the meantime, an appraiser has been hired, so that I may have the appraisal straight up to show potential buyers.

    The local closing offices are easy to deal with, nothing to it. If I hired a realtor for my parents, it would cost them every bit of $10,000 for commission fees, and truthfully I’m not willing to let my parents LOSE that much money, because I’ve already done all the work.

    It’s all about motivation, research, motivation and more motivation. I’m distanced enough (heart-wise) away from the house where I can show it fairly, and also comment on all the good things I know about and what all we have changed.

    Have already planned open house, newspaper coverage, all info and great pictures on websites…got my T’s crossed and my I’s dotted. Easy Peasy.

  42. Scott Painter
    Scott Painter says:

    I sold a condo FSBO in 7 days for $1000 over appraisal. It was 6 minutes from the University of Illinois. My house in Rockford IL sold in 8 months with 2 realtor offices for $20K under my purchase price. Unemployment had spiked.

    Realtors use the MLS and government regulation for protectionism the same way hoteliers want to ban Air B&B with regulation. Technology allows anyone to find a house online. Realtors as gatekeepers with the “book” aught not be needed in bringing the buyer and seller together or their fees aught to be reconsidered.

    Every situation is different. Would I FSBO again, absolutely if the situation is possible.

  43. TJ
    TJ says:

    Let’s keep in mind, that the more your house cost, or the more ‘unique’ it is, the less competitive it’s going to be in the market. Therefore, it does make sense for those people to use an agent. An experienced agent in a premier market certainly has advantages beyond the “internet” to help sell homes. A lot of people aren’t even productively using their time on the internet because they’re using sites like Zillow, which rarely reflects accurate data. Realtors in premier markets many times get homes sold by being in the right sphere of people, when homes can even be sold off-market. So not only will certain homes not sell well on their own, the opportunity cost is too high for these people to learn the ins-and-outs of real estate just to complete a single transaction that’s fraught with liability.

  44. Andrew Kaster
    Andrew Kaster says:

    The work required to sell a home is considerable, but for the most part it does not vary with price. Of course as price increases, the pool of buyers may shrink, and thus a more expensive home may require some more marketing effort and some more specialized expertise. But there really is minimal difference between the work involved in selling a 400K house and a 500K house. Why then should the agent(s) get $6,000 additional dollars for selling the second house? If Agents offered sellers an option to compensate them by the hour for time spent — the way other professionals like lawyers are paid — that would be a huge improvement in the market.

  45. K Ruth
    K Ruth says:

    I inherited part of a house as a trust and my family member has been trying to sell it on his own, now the spouse of another beneficiary is listing himself as the seller. I wrote a letter telling them I don’t like this, I question the legality and asked why no realtor? I’ve never gotten along with this trustee and frankly would like him removed, I don’t like this other person either, I flat out don’t trust the either one of them!

  46. Linda McCarney
    Linda McCarney says:

    I think what people are failing to understand is this: in my state, the buyer indirectly pays the commission. FSBO buyers look to discount a home – they smell an opportunity for a bargain because they believe they can cut 5-7% off the asking price ( what they believe to be the commission if listed with a broker ). My market is incredibly strong for sellers right now and the stats are proving that fewer sellers are trying to sell without hiring a Realtor – this is counter to what one would think sellers would be doing. . I have no problem whatsoever with home owners trying to sell on their own.. but give some thought to this. Because almost all buyers start their home search online, they know if you have tried selling on your own … and for what price. When they see you now listed with a Broker, they perceive you to be worn down and ready to deal. If you are successful selling on your own, that’s great. But if you are not, I have found that previous FSBO sellers come up against real value challenges in the market. Also keep in mind that a Realtor’s “job” is not just about the marketing … it’s pricing, it’s marketing, it’s negotiating, it’s anticipating the pitfalls through out the transaction and navigating around and through the problems … can a home owner do that for themselves? sure … but like most things in life, if you are not good at these things – especially the negotiations on price, condition, etc, it pays to hire someone who is. None of us like to pay home owners insurance … until the tree falls on the house and we get a new roof. Hiring a Realtor is not that much different … no one wants to pay a commission until the problems and price concessions that could have been avoided with a Realtor involved exceed the cost of the commission.


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