Thinking about selling your house without an agent? Many people think they can save money by selling their home as “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO). Sometimes they do, but more often than not they quickly discover that selling a home is not a piece of cake. If you are thinking about tackling this challenge yourself, here are a few common mistakes many FSBO sellers make.
1 – Not marketing the property
So you have a sign in the yard. Now what? For many FSBO sellers marketing presents a huge problem. In most states, a sign in your yard doesn’t mean your home will ever make it on the MLS. That listing is reserved for real estate agents only which is problematic if that’s your only marketing strategy. Other ways to market your home include:
- Door knocking
- Open houses
- Word of mouth
While real estate agents come equipped with a marketing plan and strategy, it may become too time consuming or costly for you to market your home. If you are waiting for the right person to simply drive by and see your home, you may be waiting a very long time.
2 – Pricing the property wrong
It is common for sellers to think their home is worth more than it really is. If you have simply put your address into a website that gives you an “estimate,” you are missing the mark. For a more accurate sales price, you’ll need to go to the expense of obtaining an appraisal.
The price of your home isn’t an emotional decision, but one based in fact and if you are determined to overprice your property, chances are people won’t stop by to see what it has to offer.
3 – Using poor quality photos
Just because you can snap a few photos on your phone doesn’t mean you should use those in your efforts to market your home. Most people begin their home search online and if they come across poor quality photos of your home, it will be an immediate turn-off. If you want a better shot at attracting a future buyer, either hire a professional, or ask someone with a critical eye to take a look and make some suggestions on the photos you have already taken.
4 – Not getting the home ready to show
Getting a home ready to sell typically means tons of cleaning and decluttering. A common mistake by FSBO sellers is skipping over this step or leaving a messy house for pictures and showings. Worn rugs, cluttered cabinets, and leaving personal belongings all over the home are easy to fix and make your home much more appealing.
Don’t forget the curb appeal! If you’ve taken the time to tidy the inside, make sure you don’t neglect the yard. It’s your first and possibly most important impression on your future buyer.
5 – Bad at home showings
Showing off your house to friends and family is not the same as showing your home to potential buyers. Many home buyers aren’t comfortable with current homeowners walking with them while they determine their level of interest. It’s tough to hear feedback on your family home and may be an uncomfortable experience for both of you.
FSBO sellers are often not available on the buyer’s time table for showings. Buyers don’t want to wait and it’s a lot of work to set and keep appointments with multiple buyers. If you decide to sell your home, you’ll need an organized way to track appointments and you’ll need to make time to work on the buyer’s schedule.
6 – Don’t work well with buyer’s agent
You don’t have an agent, but in all likelihood your buyer will. Many agents prefer not to work with FSBO sellers because it takes more time and many try to get away with not paying the buyer’s agent a commission. It’s quite simply much easier for a buyer’s agent to work with a listing agent.
7 – No negotiating skills
You may not be aware, but selling a home takes quite a bit of negotiating. You’ll negotiate sales price, home repairs, agent commissions, earnest money, and much more! This is where most FSBO sellers end up losing big and all the money they think they are saving is lost during negotiations. It’s also important to have all the right documents and agreements in order which can be tough for sellers without an agent.
8 – Too emotional about the sale
It’s tough to hear criticism about a home you love and have made your own. Often, FSBO sellers are too emotionally attached to their homes and have a tough time accepting an offer they deem not good enough.
While we do know some FSBO sellers that have a wonderful experience and successfully sell their home, more often than not we see stressed out and overwhelmed sellers. If you are in the process of selling your home yourself or thinking about it as a way to save money, we’d love to discuss more pros and cons of hiring an agent instead. You may still choose to sell your home yourself, but hopefully you’ll be more prepared for the process.