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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

5 Things You Need to Know Before You FSBO (For Sale By Owner)

Written by Posted On Monday, 20 February 2017 19:48

 Thinking about selling your property “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) as a way to reduce selling expenses? You should know that FSBO’s typically sell for less than professionally brokered similar homes. When selling your home FSBO, here are five things you probably haven’t considered.

 1. Professional Photos & Digital Assets are a BIG deal.

Forget the luster of curb appeal -- it’s over. Your home has been viewed, reviewed, and rated before a bu
yer even sets foot on your street. They receive e-mail updates, find it in Zillow searches, and often spend hours viewing your home online before they’ll hit the front door. While your iPhone may be great at selfies, it takes a professional to get the staging, lighting, and correct perspective to put your home’s best foot forward. In addition to photos, our team often utilizes state of the art technologies, from 3D virtual tours, 360 degree views, HD aerial photos, artistic floorplans, and professionally written descriptions. If you (or your agent) isn’t creating an incredible user experience, you’re likely wasting Days on Market (DOM) which usually results in lower sales prices. Much like yourself, your house doesn’t get a second chance to make a first impression -- the right first impression is what brings buyers to your door, and it takes a team of professionals to perfect the image.


2. Free (and Low Fixed Price) Listing Sites - aren't free.

Not all MLS and online listings are created equal. While many sites allow free listings, and flat-fee services will list your site on MLS, the listing is actually very different than the ones top realtors pay big dollars for.

Would you trust a sign that said, Free Do-It-Yourself Lasik!?

A Forbes Magazine Article recently stated, “if you’re not paying for it, then you’re the product,” which holds true in free listings. Most sites use your freely-provided listing photos and information as “click-bait” to generate leads for their HIGH paying clients (other realtors).

They intentionally minimize owner’s contact information, and provide easy contact forms, which ends up sending prospects elsewhere. While some sellers think that buyers will see through this, many realtors success and Zillow’s $224 million in revenue, should make you think otherwise.

Agents often pay upwards of $100 per call to receive these redirected buyers, and once they have acquired them have their own agenda.

  • Will the agent who receives the prospect want to show a property they’re not confident they’ll be paid on?
  • Will they show a property which they don’t have verified/complete information on?
  • A property where the “free” broker doesn’t return calls?
  • One that they’ll likely have to work both sides on, and be paid for one?
  • …Or will they recommend their newly found buyer to other properties?

Once your buyer calls another agent, it’s unlikely they’ll promote your property.

3. You Are Probably Selling a Different Property Than Your Buyers Are Buying

Buyers and sellers see properties completely different. As a seller, things that drew you to a property likely have no bearing on a buyer. There are countless books and blogs about “de-cluttering”, staging, and preparing your home for sale, but most sellers are not truly objective in their own homes, and don’t take the necessary steps to best portray their home in the best possible light.

Furthermore, that custom remodeled kitchen you love or the new floors may be something they feel has to go. While the touring buyer is typically polite, telling you how great your home is, many times they mean “great for you” and have already decided against buying. As an agent, we tend to get more truths, allowing us to make recommendations, be an objective advocate, and smooth out a property’s rough edges. An agent’s neutral ground allows us to manage expectations, provide a third-party perspective, thus reducing friction, and provides greater opportunity to make the sale. Have you had buyer’s come in and tell you how beautiful your home is, only to never hear from them again? It’s impossible to help solve a problem your buyer won’t even share with you. 

Agents and Brokers have a much easier time getting feedback, and making a deal. 

4. Convenience and Ease - It's not always what it seems

FSBO sellers are often unrealistic about the time and energy required to sell; they expect only a few showings, with quick sales. They forget that many buyers and agents will want to view their property merely for purposes of comparison. Not all prospects are qualified, and some will just be looking for something to do. In reality, most listings have MANY showings, dozens of phone calls, and tons of questions. Buyer’s and their agents control showings and expect responses quickly, with access nearly immediately. As a professional, we’re accustomed to answering calls constantly, providing correct information, and scheduling showings to meet the buyer’s needs. Good brokerage teams always have someone ready to assist, whether it’s a 10 PM phone call, or last-minute showing, our schedules are designed to accommodate this level of service.

Being an agent is a full-time job, are you ready to clear your schedule?

5. Professional negotiations make things easier

Once you’ve got your buyer, it’s time to negotiate. Direct buyer/seller negotiation is very tricky, often times buyers and sellers have very different idea on value, price, and terms. As professional negotiators, our role becomes education and information, giving our sellers a confident position. Our position allows us to help defuse the situation, and provide credibility. We’re able to reason with buyers and sellers, and ensure that both sides needs are met. As experienced agents, we negotiate dozens of transactions every year, allowing us to draw on practices that can help come to a meeting of the minds.

While the above 5 reasons are the main items to consider when selling your home yourself, there’s also the additional liability on the seller, potential for scam buyers, preparing (or hiring an attorney) to prepare the contract, the costs of marketing, and additional costs of ownership during the extended marketing period.

Most times the cost of a quality broker is offset by increased prices and reduced holding times. 

 Every transaction takes on its own unique challenge, and while not all agents are subpar, top quality agents can make your sale significantly easier, resulting in more showings, more offers, and typically a sales price that more than compensates for brokerage costs. Not sure who to choose? Choose us, or read our “How to Choose a Real Estate Agent”.

Jared Niles is the Broker and Owner of Tangent Realty Corp ( in Boca Raton, Florida.
Tangent Realty provides concierge-level service, matched with expert level experience, and extensive South Florida knowledge. Visit for more information. 

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Jared Niles

Jared has more than a decade of professional real estate experience and prides himself on being personally available and accessible to his clients. In addition to a comprehensive local knowledge, Jared has both a practical and academic expertise, including an MBA in Real Estate & Finance. Each client is assured absolute integrity, exemplary service and an overall exceptional experience. His company Tangent Realty is built on these values, state-of-the-art technology, unique and exciting marketing opportunities, and a passion for Boca Raton.

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