Selling the Home Yourself: Is it a Good Idea?

Selling your own home

When you toy with the idea of going FSBO (For Sale by Owner) you aren’t alone. Although the number of homeowners who decide to sell without the assistance of a broker has fallen over the last decade, plenty of them still do it.

Some are successful while most, sadly, are not. If you're thinking of selling your home yourself, consider the following statistics from the National Association of REALTORS:

  • The typical For Sale by Owner (FSBO) home sold for $65,000 less than those sold with the help of a real estate agent.
  • FSBOs find deciphering the paperwork to be the most challenging aspect of selling unassisted.
  • FSBOs use a yard sign as the most common marketing method, despite the fact that buyers use the Internet to search for homes for sale.

Then there are the results of two university studies, one from the University of Chicago and the other from Northwestern University. The former found that FSBOs spend more time on the market while the latter claims that as well and that FSBOs have a lower probability of selling.

While it’s not impossible to sell your home without a real estate agent’s assistance, it is much more challenging and time consuming. Here are a few things to consider before sticking that for-sale sign in the front yard.

Do you have the time?

Many aspects of the home sale process take huge chunks of time. Marketing requires that you write ads and take photos and post them online for buyers. Returning phone calls from buyers and showing the home requires you to be able to everything to accommodate buyers’ schedules.

When escrow opens you’ll need to be mindful of all the time restrictions in the contract and ensure you meet all the deadlines. If you work a full-time job, most of your leisure time will be spent trying to get your home sold.

Do you have a large network?

In a slow market, real estate agents lean heavily on their professional and personal networks to find buyers for their listings. How large is your network and is it populated with people that deal in real estate every day?

If not, your buyer pool is significantly smaller than it should be and your home may sit on the market substantially longer than it would were you to list the home with a broker.

How will you determine that buyers are qualified?

Without knowing for certain that a buyer is qualified to buy your home you subject yourself to needlessly showing your home to everyone that calls. Preparing for showings as well as the showings themselves is time-intensive and, again, if you work a full-time job you may not have the time or the knowledge to qualify buyers before admitting them into your home.

Your home may be your most valuable asset and, as such, it deserves the care and professionalism you just won’t have with a DIY sale. From the complicated paperwork to the art of negotiating a deal, hiring a listing agent will, in the end, save you time and money.

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