Should You Sell Your Home Yourself?

​​If you're like most Americans, your home is your biggest asset. So who wouldn't want to get the most out of that asset? You may hear success stories about people who saved big money on the real estate commissions by selling their home themselves. Are you the kind of person who can sell your own home?


If you're not familiar with this term, it's the way that people in the real estate industry pronounce FSBO, or "For Sale By Owner." What this really means is that the seller takes on all the tasks that would normally be handled by a professional realtor.

What does a realtor do?

The most important thing that a realtor does is give your home exposure. Realtors ensure that home listings are online, in print, and most importantly, in front as many potential buyers as possible - not only in your home region, but in areas where realtors know buyers desire to relocate to your area.

A realtor can set up an MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which places your property into the marketplace. You can't create an MLS if you are selling your home yourself. There are publications for FSBO properties, but they don't reach nearly as many potential buyers as an MLS.

An agent will also be able to assess your home and target the marketing of your home to not only the right buyers, but also to fellow agents who can help find the right buyer. It's an extra level of networking available to you when you work with an agent.

Realtors already have a solid network of home maintenance professionals at the ready should a seller need to perform a repair or inspection in order to ensure that your home is as attractive as possible to potential buyers. Realtors work with these professionals on a regular basis. They build relationships, and know which pros are the most reliable and qualified.

FSBO concerns

If you're like most Americans, your home is your biggest asset. And though we're told to keep our emotions out of business transactions, our homes contain many sentimental memories. It's challenging to negotiate the best terms and price when your emotions naturally factor into the process. Realtors can represent you without letting their personal feelings enter into the negotiations.

Note: if the right buyer comes along and is working with a buyer's agent, you will still need to pay that agent's commission - so it's likely that a FSBO will save the cost of one commission, not both.

Ask yourself: do you have the time and energy to take on all the duties of a real estate agent? Check your schedule. How many hours per week do you already devote to work and family obligations? Can you realistically take on this extra work?

If you are ready and able to do the necessary work to sell your home yourself, is it worth it? Besides the potential saving on a realtor's commission, consider the actual selling price. A 2019 National Association of Realtors study concluded that the average home represented by an agent sold for $249,000. However, the average FSBO home sold for $190,000. Currently FSBO properties are selling for almost 25% less than properties that are listed by real estate agents.

The bottom line

At this point, it's probably obvious that HTI is partial to real estate agents. We work with them constantly, and they make our work easier - and we've seen first-hand how they make our clients' lives easier.

Still, there are people who do possess the skills and temperament to sell their home themselves. Hopefully, this article has helped you determine if you have that skillset.

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