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For Sale By Owner: Do I Need a Seller’s Agent? 

 February 16, 2021

By Scott Teesdale  

minutes read time

When you’re getting ready to sell your home, you may wonder if you need a seller’s agent. While it will always depend on your specific situation, it’s still helpful to have someone who has significant experience in the real estate industry on your side. Unfortunately, if you’ve never gone through the process before, it can be a confusing time, especially when it comes to home inspections, construction, and more. It’s almost always a better option to have help, and we cover all the advantages and disadvantages below.

It’s essential to understand what for sale by owner (FSBO) is, how things have changed over the years, the advantages and disadvantages of using an agent, and why it’s most often best to use a seller’s agent.

What Is For Sale By Owner?

For sale by owner, also referred to as FSBO, is when the owner of a home makes the listing for their home on their own. They don’t go through a listing agent, but they post their house for sale on different parts of the internet in hopes of getting eyes on their listing. In these cases, the homeowner is the one who deals with the buyers, or in most cases, the buyer’s agent. Unfortunately, FSBO is not an easy process, and trying to go at it alone can often lead to pitfalls that impact the home selling process. 

FSBO gives the homeowner a chance to make a sale without paying a commission to a listing agent, but numerous problems can arise. With FSBO, you control the process, and you don’t have to worry about paying a listing agent compensation. Still, your objectivity regarding the condition of your home could cost you money. You may also have to deal with legal forms, sales strategies, and negotiations: none of which you may have experience with, and it could negatively damage how much you get when selling your home. Most homeowners don’t know what a good seller’s agent does but they will handle most of these. Still, with the rise of the internet, though, many sellers are even more enticed to list their property on their own.

Has the Internet Changed the Need for a Listing Agent?

Over the years, the internet has changed the way we do many things, even homebuyers are asking themselves if they need a buyer’s agent. As consumers and sellers, we have more resources now than ever before, and many homeowners try to use this to their advantage to save money. Internet sites not only provide homeowners with resources on ways they can sell their home on their own, but the internet also has many sites where people can list their homes with pictures and their pricing. While the internet has given homeowners more tools to do things on their own, several issues can arise and make it difficult for the homeowner to get what they want for their home. 

The internet also allows buyer agents to contact the seller directly when they post for sale by owner listings. While it’s often good for homeowners to speak on their own knowledge of their home, they may not have the same experience with negotiations. This can lead to a good buyer’s agent getting a better deal for their client (at the expense of you, the seller), offering much less than the home is worth, or making the inspection more complicated than it needs to be. 

Advantages and disadvantages of For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

If you’re considering selling your home, it’s best to recognize the pros and cons of doing so. You can try to go through the process alone, but it may not be the best for your situation. Here are some pros and cons:

Advantages

  • You save money because there are no brokerage fees paid. This is roughly around five to six percentage points of the total home sale, usually leading to thousands of dollars saved.
  • You are the boss; you are in control (for better or for worse)
  • No hassle of coordinating schedules with an agent or broker; you only have to coordinate schedules with the potential buyers.

Disadvantages

  • A seller’s agent understands strategies for putting a house on the market, including getting your home more exposure and improved marketing.
  • A seller’s agent not only has the sales experience (knowledge of the market and comps in the area), they can also negotiate on your behalf.
  • A seller’s agent can navigate legal forms to ensure everything is accurate and sound to protect yourself through the process.
  • A seller’s agent can increase the amount of money you may receive from selling your home.
  • A seller’s agent gives buyers and their agent’s confidence in dealing with you.
  • A seller’s agent will help with increasing the resale value of your home, for example, by helping you hire a general contractor for home improvements in order to increase the appraisal value of your house.

Tips When Selling Your Home on Your Own

If you do insist on selling your home on your own, here are just a few essential tips:

Why It’s Best to Use a Listing Agent

Selling your home is a big decision, and when you want to get the most value out of your home, it’s best to have someone helping you through the process. With the resources you receive from having a listing agent, you can benefit from the added value, which most often outweighs the amount you may pay in commission. Even more, having a seller’s agent can persuade buyers and their agents to work with you instead of fearing working with a homeowner.

Another situation that can arise where you want a listing agent with you is when the buyer doesn’t have an agent themselves. In this scenario, at least one of you should have a professional for all matters relating to real estate to protect you from potential problems that can arise during and after the process. In some cases, your agent may also want to represent the buyer too. There are laws that cover these situations so make sure to know all the different types of real estate agency to know your rights and obligations.

A listing agent helps you when negotiations become problematic instead of allowing the buyer and their agents to haggle. When you are concerned about a commission, know this: without a listing agent, you may not sell your home for the amount you want. Don’t let the idea of paying someone deter you from hiring a professional. Unless you are a listing agent yourself, it’s always best to have someone with experience helping you throughout the entire process.

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I use data and technology to help Millennials navigate the ins-and-outs of buying or selling a home in today's market. From appraisals to mortgages to zoning, I cover it all with the goal to teach others. Connect with me on social via the icons above.

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