It seemed a great idea at the time. Save yourself the 6 percent commission that you'd have to pay a realtor by selling your home on your own. After all, how difficult is it to put up a “For Sale By Owner (FSBO)” sign on your front lawn and to put an ad on the local paper and in a real estate website. You've even seen enough housing shows to know that you should stage your property inside and out to make it attractive to buyers. You certainly don't need a sales agent to tell you that.
So here it is, six months later, and your home is still on the market with no buyer in sight. Before you reach that sorry state, learn to recognize the four signs that it's time to list with a realtor.
You don't know how to price your home.
You think the formula for pricing your home is simple. Just take what you paid for it, add the cost of improvements that you've made, and build in a healthy profit. Unfortunately, this equation more than likely produces one of two scenarios. If you bought your home decades ago, you're severely under-pricing it and will lose money when it sells. If you bought your home recently, you're severely overpricing it and will receive no offers.
Proper pricing of a home has nothing to do with what you spent on it. Instead, it must take into account the price of similar properties that have sold recently, pricing and sales trends, features that buyers want rather than what you put in, and interest rates. Realtors have the resources to determine these factors and the expertise to put them together into a competitive price. You don't.
Nobody is coming to view your property.
Selling real estate in the modern age involves more than putting a sign up and listing an ad in the paper. Those techniques worked well in 1955 but are ineffective in bringing in buyers in the 21st century. Moving property involves combining tools like your local paper, proper signage, the Internet, social media, mobile phones, and multimedia. The term that encompasses these techniques called marketing. Realtors know what works and have the experience to come up with a multi-pronged sales approach.
In addition, realtors have access to an important selling tool: the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is not opened to those selling home on their own. Other agents consult this tool whenever they're looking for properties that their clients can buy. If you're not in the MLS, you're practically invisible to most buyers because most rely on realtors and the MLS.
You have no time to show your house.
Buyers want to view your home on their schedules, not yours. If you're at work or otherwise indisposed when a buyer wants to see your home, they're not going to re-arrange their schedules and will give your house a pass. A realtor can show your home even when you're not home after they install a lockbox. In fact, during your typical workday, the realtor may have shown your home to several buyers without you even knowing about it.
The offers buyers make are far less than your asking.
Buyers of FSBO properties automatically deduct six percent from their offers because they figure that if you're not paying the commission, they deserve the savings. They then rely on the negotiating power of their agents to bring the price down even further. If you don't have a realtor on your side, you won't have anybody working for your interests during negotiation. You won't have any idea if the price the other side is reasonable or if they're taking advantage you. You may just decide to accept any offer because you're afraid nothing else will come along. A realtor will know whether you're likely to receive better offers.