FSBO (for sale by owner) and buying a house without a real estate agent

FSBO and buying a house without an agent.

In really hot sellers markets like we have today, the temptation to go it alone grows stronger than at any other time. I mean when houses sell the day they are listed, it is understandable that people start wondering why they should pay thousands of dollars for help selling a home. To be perfectly honest, it is a fair question. Lets talk about why you would want to do that. The areas I am going to hit on today are stress reduction, time management, and risk (legal and financial).

You probably noticed I left off marketing. I shouldn’t have because there is a huge difference between the response you will get with a quick ad on the commercial site of your choice and the marketing that I or another professional Realtor will bring to the table. The thing is, in this housing market, you won’t believe me even if I spend 1000 words explaining the difference. So I am going to start off just assuming you have the skills and assets needed to market a home for sale without a real estate broker‘s help (and get the same results).

The first place an Realtor is going to make a huge difference when selling a house is your stress levels.

A huge part of this comes from knowledge of the process. When you are working with a professional real estate agent, you will know what is going to happen before it is happening. We all know from our personal experiences that a great deal of our stress comes from things being unknown and getting hit with surprises when we think we know what is going to happen. Well even though every single realty transaction is different, they all follow the same basic patterns and have the same types of problems. A professional Realtor will talk to you about the process beforehand, and then give you heads ups about what is around the next corner BEFORE you are freaking out because the buyer is asking you to rewire the whole house because a home inspector pointed out that the bathroom GFCI circuit didn’t function correctly. That same broker will also know that this is a minor issue and can be fixed without spending anywhere that much time or effort. So when you work with a professional real estate agent, you know what we know by proxy…and in fact… so you won’t have to worry about every detail of the process.

Which brings us to the second part of stress reduction. When you list a home for sale without an agent, YOU are the one that has to field the calls from everyone. The 4000 agents who want you to list with them, the unqualified buyers, the people who want to rent, the home buyers who hung up and didn’t leave a message because they got your voicemail, and every other service provider who wants your business. Not mention setting up all the home showings, meetings, and other minutia involved in selling a house. When you use a Realtor, we do all of that. For the record, while this doesn’t sound like its worth a few thousand dollars on its own, it is the number one reason FSBO home sellers end up listing with a professional agent.

This brings us to the time management aspect of listing a house for sale.

I pretty much just broke down a bunch of the things that will affect how much time you spend on selling your house. How much can you take off of work? How many hours a day can you be on the phone? Can you do a showing at 10 am on a Tuesday and again at 1:30? How about again on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday….all at different times and on short notice? That is the reality of what will need done. Again by itself this probably isn’t worth our fees….but this is just part of the reason you want to use a professional real estate agent.

Finally we hit the big reason you want to use a Realtor to sell your home: RISK.

Here is the thing. There are 13 separate sections of a purchase agreement that can make or lose you money. Do the wrong thing and you just paid the equivalent of a real estate commission……and still had to do all the work we just talked about. And that is not even considering the risks of dealing with inspection responses, appraisals and the other thousand or so things that can go wrong from contract to close. A professional Realtor is going to have insights into how to deal with all of these issues, while reducing your risk exposure and saving you money. There is a reason that study after study shows that home sellers who use a Realtor net more money at close (even after our fees are considered) than home sellers who sell FSBO (for sale by owner).

How does all of this apply to home buyers?

All of this applies directly to home buyers with two caveats. The first is that we also have the best access to home listings, and know about them sooner than ANY commercial search site on the internet. That really matters in a hot market like today when even top agents are missing deals because of the buying and selling frenzy. The other caveat is the big one. Realtors don’t cost the buyer a dime. It is a free service from your prospective. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of all these services when they don’t cost you anything?

All of this brings me to the video I made about this. Enjoy.

When you are ready, come in and get out of the rain. My umbrella will keep you from getting soaked.

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About Robb

A husband, Dad to 5, and Grandpa to 9. US Navy Vet. 18 Year Postal Employee turned full time Realtor. I enjoy a wide variety of things, but you will find that here I mostly write about Indianapolis, government/politics, recent news, and whatever book I am reading or have just finished at the moment.
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