Dangers of the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Process

Many people think that selling a home is easy and the commission given to a real estate agent is excessive and as such try to list their home by themselves.

The fact is that selling your home by yourself does not make financial, lifestyle or safety sense. We have listed a countless number of properties in Marin County that were previously “For Sale By Owner” and below are some cautionary tales and statistics for anyone who is thinking about selling their home themselves:

Financial Reasons

  • FSBO’s sell for less:  Homes sold with the help of a real estate professional in 2006 sold on average for 32 percent more than FSBO sales. 
  • Buyers’ agents often avoid placing offers on FSBO homes, effectively limiting your potential buyer universe
  • Most FSBO “success stories” are cases where the seller knew the buyer or vice versa and are based on the sellers perceptions not reality
  • Homes sold by owner stay on the market on average 8 weeks longer
  • Buyers don’t have to pay commissions so they get a Realtor’s service, advice and insurance protections for free. They hesitate to buy without this protection unless they get a good deal. This defeats the FSBO’s goal of getting more by saving on commissions

Safety Reasons

  • Homes that are For Sale By Owner are prime targets for Burglaries and Robberies:  Thieves often prey on FSBO homes as they can pose as potential buyers and determine when a homes occupants will or will not be home and gain access to these homes
  • The seller may enter into a transaction and tie the home up for weeks and then lose other potential buyers because of lack of experience with structuring the contract with important outs for the seller if the buyer doesn’t perform. Then the disgruntled buyer may cause distress for the seller when they try to exit the deal

Lifestyle Reasons

  • The average listing takes 80 hours of open houses, marketing time and preparation time to sell
  • Historically we have found that Marin buyers look at a property 4-5 before they make an offer that is acceptable
  • The cost to prepare and market a home has skyrocketed. There are vehicles available online to Realtors that are not available to most sellers. Even if a seller is an experienced promoter they have added costs that they don’t pay if the list their home. Remember, the Realtor doesn’t get paid until the home is sold and closed

Contact us for more detailed information about the risks of selling your property by owner.

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