Before I became a real estate agent, I was a FSBO or (For Sale by Owner). Having a firsthand experience being a FSBO, I thought I would share my struggles of trying to sell a house without a real estate agent. I found out that the cons really outweighed the pros on selling my house on my own.
Con #1 – Unqualified buyers & daily calls
As a FSBO, I was not prepared for the amount of phone calls and unqualified buyers that I received on a daily basis. While I would try to politely ask them if they could afford my house, I had no way of verifying their actual ability before the visit. The reason for that was because they wanted to see the house the same day they were calling. The majority of calls would come in the early morning or during dinner time in the evening. Even though I put on my advertisement my call times, the calls would still come at anytime the potential buyers wanted. If you go FSBO be prepared for a lot of phone calls at all hours.
Con # 2 – Safety for my family
At the time of being a FSBO, I had been married for three years and didn’t have any kids. I was always concerned about my wife’s safety and couldn’t imagine doing this with children. Since I was lacking an agent, anyone and everyone was allowed to stop by regardless of their background. I have seen horror stories on the internet, about people with bad intentions going to FSBO and open houses to commit crimes against unsuspecting homeowners. This was always in the back of my mind, when meeting a potential buyer for the first time. Putting both of our lives in jeopardy was just not worth the few dollars I could save.
Con # 3 – Agent’s didn’t want to deal with me
When I was a FSBO, I was surprised that most agents didn’t want to deal with me. When I first posted the buyer’s agent commission rate at 2%, I received no calls. No one was willing to even show their clients the house without the 3% commission rate. As I raised it, I received a few more phone calls but those agents seemed to be frustrated with me right away. I guess they assumed I was stubborn and that I had no idea what I was talking about. A few of the agents and potential buyers acted as if I was too uneducated to even be selling my house. This was not an enjoyable experience.
Con # 4 – A lot of Paperwork
When I put my house on the market, I didn’t realize all the paperwork that it took to sell my home. Having a full-time job, it was very difficult to keep up with all the required forms and deadlines that I had to make. Not only getting the home listed, but dealing with any offers that came in was a lot of paperwork. Even though I had dealt with some real estate before, a lot of the contract language and addendums seemed foreign to me. Unless you hire an attorney to read your contracts, you will really have to take the time to understand what deal is actually being made. If your day is already full with stress, adding on this extra burden was just not worth it to me.
Con # 5 – Marketing your house
Another con for me was trying to market the house. I had no idea how to put it on MLS, Zillow, Trulia & Realtor. Even with having a technology background, I still struggled with posting the correct information on all the different websites. I had no other marketing plans, events or huge open houses. I simply just put a cheap sign out in the front yard and hoped someone saw it driving by or online. With my current understanding of how much marketing good realtors do, I realized my passive marketing approach just didn’t cut it. The two ways to sell a house fast is price and the market exposure.
Con # 6 – Low balls offers
Most of the offers that I received were from investors looking to flip the house. It’s the nature of the housing business for people to try to get the best deals. Like most FSBOS, I had the illusion that I would find the perfect buyer that would offer me what I wanted at the price that I wanted. With so many showings and so many unqualified buyers, I wasted a lot of my time and effort into keeping the house show ready for people, who would just offer me $50,000 less than my asking.
Con # 7 – Showing your home to rude people
When a potential buyer would call to see the home, I understood I would have to be there to open up. I had no lock box or way of trusting who was coming in. So, I had decided to stay in the house while they looked around. On a number of occasions, the people would be shocked or upset that I was sitting in the dining room table. Even a few agents acted like I had no business being there. If you have any slight emotional attachment to your home, then being there during the showing will not be easy on you. The comments from potential buyers on how ugly your home is or how they are going to have to change so much, puts you in defensive mode right away. It was not an enjoyable experience.
Dealing with all the stress and hassle was just not worth it to me. With the months I spent dealing with the marketing, dealing with conversations over the phone, dealing with paperwork, dealing with safety issues, it was not worth the stress for the few dollars I saved on commission. While I thought I was saving money on my own, I now realize how much potential money I lost because I did not use a real estate agent. Buying and selling your home is one of the biggest investments that you will ever do. It only makes sense that you have a license professional to be with you. Being a for sale by owner is like going to court without a lawyer. Yes, you can do it, but there are major consequences if you don’t have someone who knows how to help guide you through it. This is just one opinion of a former for sale by owner now turned real estate agent that wants to help.
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