Realtor vs. For Sale By Owner (FSBO): What’s Best for Sellers?

For sale by owner Home seller managing their home's sale by themselves

So you’ve decided to sell your home. Now you need to determine what is best for you as a seller.

Selling a house by the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) method isn’t always the best way. Here are reasons why it is better to work with a realtor vs. selling your home by yourself.

What does “FSBO” Mean?

FSBO stands for “For Sale By Owner.” Some homeowners want to sell their own homes on their timeframe at their set price and think, “I can bypass realtor fees by doing it myself.”

Most home buyers purchase their homes through a real estate agent or broker. Working with a realtor gives you knowledge and resources to help sell your home quickly and for the amount the property is worth.

Generally, homes are sold at a lower rate than the asking price when using the FSBO method. If you decide to go this route just remember that using a Realtor could make all the difference in your bottom line and return on investment.

Why Selling a House on Your Own Isn’t a Good Idea

Having control over the asking price and reducing realtor fees may seem like a good idea when you first start to sell a home on your own.

The National Association for Realtors (NAR) found that “FSBOs accounted for 10% of home sales in 2021. The typical FSBO home sold for $225,000 compared to $330,000 for agent-assisted home sales.”

Research has proven that doing FSBO often doesn’t make you additional money when selling on the market. The only time FSBO can benefit you is when you know someone personally who wants to buy the home.

We’ll break down the reasons why FSBO isn’t a good idea:

#1: Determining Home’s Value on Your Own

Many things are involved in determining a home’s value. Sure, you can hire an appraiser to get a number, but that doesn’t consider inspections, location, and other market research like the home’s age.

FSBO sellers can use online calculators, but they won’t tell the whole story that a realtor can share with you.

#2: Doing Market Research to Know the Home’s Value

Selling your house on your own leaves you to do all the market research to truly know your home’s value.

A general FSBO seller does not know how to compare all-cash offers to traditional loans. One offer may look higher on paper, but after the deal is done, you may have less money in your pocket because of fees.

Realtors can help you navigate all-cash offers or offers going over appraisal. They can also dive deeper into Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and other analyses that help set the right asking price for your area.

Set Your Home’s Asking Price With a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

#3: Prepping the Home Before Putting it on the Market

FSBO means you’ll have to do all the physical prepping to prepare the home to be put on the market. You will have to do all of the following by yourself or by hiring a professional out of pocket:

  • Deep Cleaning: Top-to-bottom cleaning including floors, walks, ceilings, the basement, attics, bathrooms, the kitchen, and all other areas.
  • Decluttering: Leftover supplies from construction or renovation materials will need to be neatly placed on the property for later use or extraction.
  • Minor Fixes: Light fixtures, bathroom amenities, and appliances are included in this.
  • Professional Photos: When all is clean and “picture perfect,” it’s time to take pictures yourself, or hire someone to do it for you.

Stage it, Sell it!

#4: Listing the Property on the MLS

Aside from taking enticing photos and writing a fabulous listing description, you’ll have to learn how to get the property listed on a Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Zillow can get you started, but there are deeper databases with more features to help with a proper listing. You will want to find these places since FSBO sellers do not have access to the same marketing done by realtors and real estate agencies.

With more and more home buyers searching for properties online getting your listing right the first time can help sell your property faster.

#5: You May Not Be Able to Sell Quickly

Before you decide to list your home for sale by owner, ask yourself this question: Are you prepared if the property doesn’t sell in your timeframe?

Selling a home by yourself can take weeks or even months to find the right buyer.

#6: Finding Your Own References

Property can be your most significant investment as an owner. When you enter into a for-sale-by-owner home sale you may need references if you’re trying to sell something this large.

References say, “Yeah, this buyer is good for the sale!”

#7. You Have to Communicate Quickly

Realtors are always available to answer questions about their listings, are you? If you are going to list a home for sale by the sale you will have to communicate with the potential buyer quickly.

A few minutes can mean the difference between sold and “the one that got away.”

#8: Understanding Contracts & Seller Liabilities

For-sale-by-owner sellers need to have a deep understanding of contracts and seller liabilities when managing their homes on the market. In North Carolina, home offers to purchase and contract can include:

You’ll receive paperwork for each offer you receive. Reading these in close detail is vital to ensure you get the most for your property.

You could lose out on funds by missing the fine print.

#9: You’ll Have to Negotiate Other Points Besides the Price

As an FSBO seller, you will have to negotiate other points besides the price of the property. You will need to be prepared for a variety of unexpected problems that inevitably come with selling a home, like:

  • What if the buyer has repair contingencies in the offer?
  • What if repairs are too big, costly, or delayed for the worth of the sale?

It is critical to be able to negotiate other factors besides price if you are selling your home by yourself.

Use 828 Real Estate to Sell Instead of FSBO

828 Real Estate is ready to sell your home in the High Country of North Carolina. We believe in hiring a realtor to do the job right the first time. We don’t want you to be disappointed with the results of an FSBO sale.

We desire the best for our clients – reoccurring customers, and new friends. Contact us today!

About the Author

I have lived in North Carolina my whole life, 20+ years in the High Country. I grew up in Chapel Hill with a huge extended family. Naturally, I am a huge UNC fan. Although my whole family lived in Chapel Hill, the majority of them are Appalachian State graduates. So, when it was time to pick a college, I knew Boone was the place for me. I came to the mountains because, as my parents had always told me, it is an absolutely beautiful place and the people are so down to earth! That was 1997 and I have lived here ever since. I met my husband Dave at ASU and we married in 2001. We have 3 children, Elias, Faith, and Penelope. Our family lives in Downtown Boone. Dave teaches middle school science at Valle Crucis Elementary School. Before becoming a Real Estate Agent, I spent 5 years as the co-teacher of the 9-12 year old class at Mountain Pathways Montessori School. We are elders at our church, Harvest House, where I have taught preschool for the last 20 years. I can't believe it been that long.... time flies when you’re having fun! I met Sarah Long, 828 Real Estate's Broker/ Owner, in 1997. My interest in Real Estate developed when we bought our first home and has grown as we have bought and sold over the years. Sarah was our Realtor for years and suggested many times that I pursue Real Estate as a full time career. I am so glad I did. I am enjoying introducing others to the place I love and call home….I look forward to helping you find your perfect place!