As the market has improved this spring, Sellers are occasionally considering selling their homes themselves, without the advocacy of their trusted agent. The rationale seems the same – save the commission. And yet, while a commission is in fact not paid, it is paid in reduced realizations. You see, buyers are very savvy – they know what the market will bear and if you, the seller, do not have to pay an agent, they expect to realize the benefit of a reduced purchase price. Buyers also know that if they can get you to start to walk down the FSBO road with them, you will be unlikely to back out even if they are less than reasonable because you will fear losing the deal you appear to have happening and will be very unsure about whether there will be another buyer. It is a rare day that we see FSBOs actually achieve a net sales price greater than what we, agents with the power of big advertising dollars and years and years of strong negotiating experience, can achieve. So in the end, your net sales price is the same, and yet you have to deal with all of the tricky little details yourself. Details like making sure you actually have a valid contract (not as simple as it might seem), to working your way through financing and inspection issues, to working to make sure you close on time. All of the jobs that we, the agents do – attending to every last detail to make your transaction smooth sailing – you must now handle on your own – and yet you are getting nothing for your effort because your net is no higher, and may be lower, than we agents could have achieved. If your house is “hot” enough to bring a FSBO buyer to the table with minimal or no advertising, imagine how much excitement we could generate with the power of our advertising behind your home – these days, a bidding war is even possible!
Statistically, FSBO transactions also fail to close more often than brokered transactions. So if it is important to you to close (and you are not just fishing for an offer if someone happens to come along), consider this as you decide how to proceed.
I can cut my own hair to save a few bucks – but it wont look as nice as it would if I went to the salon – I can paint my own walls (try to ignore the messy spots) – I can invest my own money (and watch it stagnate) – I can suture my own wounds (and end up in the ER with an infection). I can do almost anything – but not as well nor to as successful an end as someone with years of experience. The same is true for real estate. Years of transactions and we, the trained professionals, make it look easy. Before you don your real estate cap, take the time to think it through and ask yourself whether you are absolutely certain that you will actually come out ahead on your own. Statistics are clear that you will not.