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Why should you choose an agent over For Sale by Owner (FSBO)?

Jennifer Lovett

More Jennifer's articles

5 min read

Realtors May Choose Not to Show a “For Sale By Owner” Home

In an FSBO deal, the buyer’s agent knows there won’t be a professional colleague on the other end of the transaction. Even if a client insists on seeing your home, the agent might discourage making an offer, citing the hassles and risks of trying to close the deal without a professional representing the seller and without a guaranteed commission.

Agents Avoid Emotional Sales

Selling your home is typically an emotional process. Having an agent keeps you one step removed and makes you less likely to make mistakes. Some of these mistakes include: Overpricing your home, refusing to counter a low offer because you’re offended, or giving in too easily when you have a deadline for selling. A realtor’s job is to follow up on showings and offers, they can do this without making the seller sound desperate or willing to discount.

Real Estate Is a Full-Time Job

Can you make yourself available every time someone wants to view your home? Are you available to answer multiple calls throughout the day with questions in regards to your property? Do you know how to check if a potential buyer is actually pre-qualified or possibly just wasting your time? Do you know how to read contracts to insure the buyer is not slipping anything in that would be fully in their favor? Are you available to host multiple open houses, or do the marketing to make sure as many interested eyes as possible see your home is for sale? These are just a few of the things an agent is responsible for and why having one is so valuable.

Agents Access Large Networks

Yes, you can list your home yourself on Zillow, Redfin, and Craigslist. But will that be enough? Agents have access to MLS which is a listing provider that all agents use when searching for a house for their buyers or listing a house for their sellers. Even if you have a large personal or professional network, those people will likely have little interest in spreading the word that your house is for sale. You don’t have relationships with clients, other agents, or a real estate agency to bring the largest pool of potential buyers to your home. A smaller pool of potential buyers means less demand for your property, which can translate into waiting longer to sell your home and possibly not getting as much money as your house is worth.

Weeding Out Unqualified Buyers

An agent can find out whether someone who wants to view your house is really a qualified buyer or just a dreamer or curious neighbor. It’s a lot of work and a major interruption every time you have to put your life on hold, make your house look perfect, and show your home. You want to limit those hassles to the showings most likely to result in a sale.

Price Negotiations Take Skill:

Even if you have sales experience, you don’t have specialized experience negotiating a home sale. The buyer’s agent does, so they are more likely to succeed in the negotiation, meaning less money in your pocket. Hiring an experienced selling agent isn’t important as they have negotiated hundreds of home purchases.

Exposure to Legal Risks

A lot of legal paperwork is involved in a home sale, and it needs to be completed correctly by an expert. One of the most important items is the Sellers Disclosure. A seller of real estate has an affirmative duty to disclose any fact that materially affects the value or desirability of the property. A seller can be held liable for fraud, negligence, or breach of contract if they do not disclose properly.

Unless you’re a real estate attorney, your agent probably knows more about disclosure laws than you do. If you fail to disclose a hazard, nuisance, or defect and the buyer comes back to you after having moved in and found a problem the buyer could sue you. Agents can make mistakes, too, but they have professional errors and omission insurance to protect themselves and give the buyer recourse, so the buyer may not need to pursue the seller for damages.

The Bottom Line

It’s a tall task to learn how to sell your house without a realtor—and selling your home will likely be one of the biggest transactions of your life. You can try to do it alone to save money, but hiring an agent has many advantages. Agents can get broader exposure for your property, help you negotiate a better deal, dedicate more time to your sale, and prevent your emotions from sabotaging it. An agent brings expertise, which few FSBO sellers have, to a complex transaction with many potential financial and legal pitfalls.

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