Do “For Sale By Owner” Listings Really Save Money? By Denise Lones | The Zebra Blog

Do “For Sale By Owner” Listings Really Save Money? By Denise Lones

I’m sure you’ve seen the signs—“For Sale By Owner”—or FSBO as it’s sometimes called. Many people think they can do better selling their home on their own, supposedly saving the commission they would pay to a real estate agent.

But the truth is that without the power of a real estate agent plugged into the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), you are hardly ever successful at getting your home sold. Even the tiny percentage (less than 1%) that do sell their homes “For Sale By Owner” are the ones in a neighborhood that’s usually very desirable and has a waiting list of buyers hoping for a listing to pop up.

This prompts the sellers in this exclusive area to proclaim to their friends, “Aha! I sold my home without a real estate agent and saved thousands of dollars!”

But did they?

Actually, they likely left thousands of dollars on the table—and never even knew it. With a waiting list of buyers for a particular neighborhood, a good real estate agent would have been able to negotiate a higher price. Agents do this every day. They know how to talk trends, rates, pricing, and the current condition of the market.

Add in the power of the MLS and there is just no competition. While you may think that a lot of people drive by your house every day and may be impressed by the sign you put in your yard, the truth is that you reach a hundred times more people when your home is listed on the MLS.

Also, the only people searching the MLS are pre-qualified. They’re already looking for a home. The vast majority of people driving by your “For Sale By Owner” sign are NOT in the market for a new home. This is why 99% of FSBO’s don’t sell.

With the MLS also comes an unbeatable sales force. You could spend all the marketing dollars in the world to publicize your FSBO home, but it wouldn’t even approach the already existing marketing machine your local real estate agent has in place.

The numbers don’t lie. When a seller decides to sell on their own, they usually end up losing thousands of dollars because:

1.The home sits on the market so long it depreciates in value.
2.The owners still must shell out the maintenance costs of the property during this waiting period.
3.Most sellers are not as adept at negotiation as a professional who negotiates every day of his or her life.

And perhaps most importantly—

4.Most buyers can’t see your property for sale because 99% of them are looking in the MLS.

When you add it all up, selling on your own will most likely end up costing you money instead of saving it.

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