First I must confess, I have sold For Sale by Owner (FSBO) in the past. With all my husband and my experiences with buying and selling, we knew what we was getting into; however, not ALL people know what they are getting into when they attempt to sell FSBO.
All that said, there are things people need to know about FSBO!!!
It’s a double edged sword. Most FSBO sellers think they can save money selling without an agent. Guess what! Most people shopping FSBO think they can save money too! They think they can offer less because a FSBO isn’t paying a commission! So who is really saving money???
I saw an advertisement on craiglist.org that caught my eye regarding their FSBO services. They advertise the opportunity to list your FSBO property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for a flat fee and save money. Like all businesses, companies like these make money from selling their services. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t advertise the service in the first place. I can respect a business’ right to generate business. I would, however, like to refute some of their statements regarding the advantages of using a flat fee type of service.
They say: You set the asking price.
TRUTH: When using a real estate agent, you decide the asking price.
They say: You choose the commission to pay the buyer’s agent who brings an acceptable offer.
TRUTH: You decide how much you want to pay a Realtor® that brings you an acceptable offer and you negotiate how much you want to pay a Realtor to sell your property.
They say: You control the marketing.
REALITY: You do all the work promoting your property, the flat fee company only puts your home’s information into the MLS. You compete with all the licensed Realtors out there that are promoting the large inventory of homes that are already on the MLS.
They say: You control the negotiations of offer.
REALITY: A full service listing Realtor handles the negotiations for you. They are trained for this job. A Realtor is required to abide by the laws that govern the process of buying and selling a home. If there are problems, the Realtor deals with the hassle and relays that information to you (the seller).
They say: Buyers and buyers agents contact you directly.
TRUTH: Your Realtor takes all the calls for you and qualifies the good leads to you.
They say: If you sell your home yourself, you pay no commission at all.
TRUTH: Only if you sell to someone that is NOT working with a Realtor! Check with a real estate lawyer on this one!!!
They say: One time fee.
REALITY: If you pay a buyer’s agent (Realtor) a commission to bring you a buyer, you are paying more than a one time fee. Also, beware of flat fee services that have short term expiration dates and hidden fees for additional services that might come about during the process of selling your home.
The bottom line is this: Pricing your house right is critical to selling your home! It’s NOT what you think your house is worth that sells it, it’s what the buyer is WILLING to pay for your home that dictates what it is worth!!!
Remember, there are people out there that take advantage of people that don’t know what they are doing. Don’t be one of them!!! If you don’t have enough experience selling or buying a home, don’t try it alone. Get a licensed real estate professional that adheres to a high level of customer service, preferably one that comes with a referral and/or recommendations, to help you with the process. And remember, you can always terminate your contract with a Realtor if you feel they aren’t providing you with good service. (You just can’t terminate it to avoid a commission if they bring you a buyer.)
I am not a real estate attorney. If you have any legal questions, you should consult with a Real Estate Professional.