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FSBO? Why You Should Say No to Selling Your House Yourself

For Sale By Owner SignThe boom in the housing market has got a lot of people thinking about selling their home. Are you one of them? With prices high and demand at a peak, you may be tempted to forego working with an agent and just sell your home yourself. You think, “If there are lines of people outside open houses, multiple offers, and homes going under offer within days, why would I need an agent to sell my home? How hard can it be in a seller’s market?” We take a look at exactly what value your agent brings to the party and bust some of the myths surrounding For Sale By Owner (FSBO) transactions.


Let’s start with the big one. One of the main reasons owners decide to sell their homes themselves is to save money - believing that in a high-demand market they can sell their home easily and that not having to pay an agent’s commission will mean more money in their pocket at the end of the day. This is one of the biggest misconceptions around FSBO transactions. We took a look at single-family home sales in our towns since the beginning of the year* and what we found may surprise you.

  • Homes sold by owners reaped 7% less than those sold using an agent (dispelling the idea that a 2 ½ - 5% commission would somehow mean more money in a seller’s pocket at the end of the transaction)


  • Homes listed with a realtor typically sold for 2% over the asking price as a result of marketing bringing competing offers to the table


  • Homes sold more quickly, too - the average Days to Offer for homes listed with a realtor is 28, compared to 31 for FSBO homes and …


  • Digging deeper, homes listed with Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty sold for 4% over list price, and had an accepted offer within just 14 days 



Owners tend to overestimate the value of their home, which is understandable as it holds a lot of emotional as well as monetary value. However, accurate pricing is critical to securing a quick sale - aim too high and your home could sit on the market for longer than average, which can in turn lead to less interest in the home and lower offers.

Your agent has access to information that will enable them to price your home competitively to comparable sold properties in the area, making your home an attractive proposition. Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty agents also work collaboratively with their colleagues, often inviting other agents to view the home and give an Opinion of Value. This ensures that the price you agree upon is one that the market can sustain.

Also bear in mind that savvy buyers (and their agents) will know that, as a FSBO, you are not paying a commission to a seller’s agent. They may take that into account and make a lower offer than they otherwise might assuming you’d be willing to accept less.



Many sellers will underestimate the time taken to get your home ready for sale. If you want to get the best price for your home, you need to present it in the best possible light. That means a long to-do list:


  • You’ll need to clear out clutter, stage, and tackle some of those small repair jobs to make the home present well


  • You’ll need to take pictures, which typically requires hiring a professional photographer to ensure your home can compete against all the other homes on the market


  • You’ll need to coordinate showings, which can be extremely time-consuming, especially if you are also working a full-time job and are not available when the buyers are


  • And, once an offer is accepted, you’ll need to coordinate and provide appraisals, smoke certificates, water readings and more.


All these tasks would be taken care of by your agent, whose job it is to oversee the process from beginning to sold. They can advise on small repairs (hiring contractors if necessary), stage your home themselves, arrange (and pay for) photography, attend showings and / or host Open Houses, coordinate with appraisers, chase down permits and complete all final checks and readings before closing.



Marketing matters, and the right marketing brings the biggest benefits. Without full exposure to as many potential buyers as possible, you are unlikely to achieve the true market value for your home. Do you know how to make sure your home is marketed to the widest possible audience? Having a “For Sale” sign in your yard and posting on Facebook is not going to cut it.

Realtors have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for their area, which they use to quickly see which new homes are available and match their buyer’s criteria. If you are not listed in MLS, you will need to find another way to let other Realtors® know about your home. MLS also feeds details to all the major home-search websites, such as Zillow, Realtor, Trulia and Redfin.

Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty agents also have their listings on the award-winning, which ranks highly on Google Search. According to a recent NAR survey, 93% of buyers used the internet to search for their next home and, for 44% of them, this was the first thing they did (before talking to a realtor). If your home is not easily found online, you are going to miss out on a huge swath of potential buyers.

Our agents can also provide marketing activities and materials that would cost you a small fortune to do yourself. With access to a large marketing department, our agents can tap into a much broader social media network (with specific interest in real estate) and include your home in print and digital advertising regularly done by Barrett.



As already mentioned, to get the best value for your home you need to show it in its best light. That means professional photography, videography, staging, brochures - all of which eats into your profits. Most, if not all, of these costs are typically covered by your agent - and Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty agents bear the upfront cost of these marketing expenditures and more.



As part of their ongoing license requirements, realtors undergo training to ensure they are up to date and in compliance with all legislation regarding selling homes, including fair housing law and true representation of the home. A professional Realtor® ensures that your home is accurately described and takes responsibility for liaising with the buyers over any terms of the offer. As the owner, without an agent, that responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders and mistakes could be costly - far more costly than the commission you would pay to your agent.

Another downside of FSBO is buyer’s agents may be reluctant to show your home, knowing that they will not be working with a real estate professional on the sale. Not only does it make their job more difficult, they know it could expose their clients to a problematic transaction - a risk they may not want to take. 

To do your home justice and secure the best price and terms, trust the sale of your biggest asset to a professional. Contact one of our experienced agents today and let them show you how Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty will work for you.


*Source: MLSPin Single Family Homes Listed as Entry Only vs Homes Listed with a Registered Agent / Office in Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Westford, Winchester from 01/01/21 to 05/28/21



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