Sell Yourself & Save Money? Maybe

FSBO (For Sale By Owner) - Selling Your Home Alone is a mixed bag.  On the positive side you can potentially save tens of thousands of dollars in

for sale by owner

Realtor fees, depending on the value of your real estate.

On the other you can end up being stuck with your home and unable to sell it all, or losing money because you don’t know how to command market value.

It takes skill, knowledge and sometimes plain old fashioned luck to sell real estate, and some are better at it than others.

So, educating yourself about the “dos” and “dont’s” will have a direct bearing on how successful you will be in getting your house sold!

Is Selling Your Home FSBO Really Doable? 


Absolutely, and may be easier to do than you think.  But it is not for the uninformed seller who thinks that all they have to do is establish a price and stick a for sale sign in the yard.  You must educate yourself before venturing down the FSBO path, or it could be disastrous.

Establishing the value of your home can be very tricky. Because you have an emotional attachment to it and a natural bias you may tend to overestimate its market value. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but it may be challenging to think of it as an at arms length transaction based on what the market will bear, and not what you think it’s worth.

Here are several things you can do to avoid this:

  1. Pay for a professional appraisal.  The money you pay for one can set your mind at ease that you’ve established the best price for your home that the market will bear.  And as a general rule most transaction prices are established by appraised values in the end anyway.  Getting one done up front can be a very smart move.
  2. Talk to several Realtors and tell them that you’re selling your home FSBO, but in the event you're unsuccessful you’re likely to list it with a Realtor.  Tell them whatever your truth is and many will be interested in giving you a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) in order to be a viable candidate for listing your property if you are unable to sell it yourself.

There are many “FSBO” type websites popping up all over the internet, all ready to sell you information about how to sell your home yourself and save the Realtor fees.  Some have created internet websites that offer a FSBO the opportunity to look very professional when selling their home.

These sites are popping up almost daily and are growing in popularity, largely in response to the rising costs of housing, and the associated realtors fees and commissions incurred when selling a home.  It’s the new wave of home selling without the benefit of a realtor, but as noted there are risks associated with selling FSBO, and often unexpected costs, too!

Despite that, people wanting to sell their homes FSBO are no longer limited to sticking a homemade sign in their front yard, and/or just running an ad in their local newspaper. For a fee they can get as much internet instructions to sell FSBO that they need.

Still, be wary and aware of the risk of taking advice from any internet website; not all are ethical and honest.  My rule of thumb is never to buy anything over the Internet if I can’t reach somebody to talk about the product before I but it. 

If you have difficulty reaching an online business to talk to a rep before ordering their product, or services imagine the frustration you’ll suffer when you try to reach them for support after buying it.

Here is a typical outline of services that many websites promote online, but sellers beware.

  • Pay For Services – In this scenario you pay for a package of services.  There are different packages at different costs.  Remember to read the fine print and payment is usually accepted via credit card.
  • Picture Submittal Service – Limitations exist on the amount of pictures that you will be able to submit. Additional fees are required if you feel that more are required to show off your home to its best potential. Also, if your not to handy with a camera, or don’t have the requested type of camera for the picture, a submittal fee is charged if you need them to take the pictures for you.
  • Yard Sign Service – In many packages a professional looking yard sign is available, but for an extra rental fee. Understand too that any unintentional damage to the sign will cost you for replacement.

    Need, or want more than one sign.  Expect to pay extra for them.  Also, be careful about where you post your sign, as you’ll be responsible for any damage done to underground utility services; such as electrical, gas or telephone lines.  It’s your responsibility to find the existing lines and your financial responsibility if they’re damaged.
  • Contracts – These forms are often available for you to print with an additional fee.
  • Real Estate Flyer Box – For an additional fee a separate informational sign may be rented, or a tube attached to your rented for sale sign. Again, any damage to the individual sign or tube will be your finical responsibility.

These are just a few of the many services and options available to a FSBO.  When done right you can potentially save tens to thousands of dollars in Realtor fees.  When not well thought and carried out it can become a nightmare.    

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