Pros & Cons: Listing Home For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

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Listing your home for sale is a stressful time. As one of the largest transactions that you’ve ever complete, you want to make sure you get it right. For some, the perceived cost and hassle of working with a real estate agent is enough to evaluate selling their home on their own. When selling your home, you naturally want to make the most money possible. While the elimination or reduction of certain costs and commissions may end up with more money in your pocket, there are other factors to consider before listing your home on your own. In fact, only 11% of all homes sold in US in 2018 were sold by home owners. Today, we’ll take a look to see which option is best for your specific situation.


  1. You May Earn More Money From the Sale – The big caveat here is may. When selling your home without the help of a real estate agent, you save yourself from having to pay the agent a percentage or commission from the sale of your home. Depending on the sale price, this could equate to thousands of dollars. However, selling your home takes a big commitment from everyone in the household and unfortunately, according to the National Association of Realtors, 90% fail and end up listing with an agent.
  2. Control What You Can Control – When listing your home by yourself, you have full autonomy to do what you want. You get to dictate pricing, showings, and the negotiation process. In this scenario, you don’t have to listen to the advice or opinions of others, but you do lose out on a potential goldmine of experience and knowledge that you would otherwise receive from a realtor.
  3. Invest Your Time & Resources – Unlike a real estate agent, who may have dozens of clients, you are your own agent. This means you don’t have to wait to contact and hear back from your agent. You can act immediately on what you want to do. However, if you’re trying to stage your home and manage showings, all while still working and packing, it may be difficult to devote enough time toward the sale of your home.


  1. Financial Benefits Don’t Live up to Expectations – While you may end up making more money by not paying a commission, understanding what your home is worth and how to accurately price your home is a challenge. You may need to enlist the assistance of a home appraiser to get an accurate idea of what your home is worth. You’ll also want to conduct research on what other homes are worth in your neighborhood. However, this is often easier said than done by homeowners. Real estate agents have access to comparables, or similar listings, that can help give you a price range to list your home. After an offer is placed on your home, you might be required to conduct a home inspection. If any repairs are found, you might be asked to remedy these issues before the buyer agrees to purchase. These findings will have to be disclosed to future buyers if not remedied – which can cost time and money.
  2. Marketing Your Home – The other aspect to consider is how you will market your home. Most real estate agents offer free access to outlets like: MLS, local newspaper and magazine articles, and word of mouth among other agents and agencies. Furthermore, agencies have other benefits such as search and display marketing online, social media reach, and more. Additionally, most FSBO websites are decades behind their agency counterparts. Unless your home is listed under the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, your home will not show on popular sites like:, Zillow, and Trulia -this means manually listing your home on FSBO websites.
  3. Know Your Buyers – Unlike real estate agents, who work directly with a buyer, you will be contacted by people wanting to view your home. This opens yourself up to a slew of problems. First, be extremely cautious about the information listed online. Both your personal information and information about the home for sale. You’ll want to be careful about valuables shown in photographs. Your and your family’s safety is also a main concern. Without knowing who the buyer is, you will be essentially allowing strangers into your home. Real estate agents have best practices in place to ensure that buyers are vetted before viewing homes. Agents act as an unbiased set of eyes, in case something goes awry with the buyer. Without an agent in place to do this, you will be the only one dealing directly with the buyer.
  4. Legal Implications – Like any transaction, there is a lot of paperwork. Understanding the rules and regulations within your specific state and municipality is paramount. If something within the documentation is incorrect, you could open yourself up to fines, or worse, legal action by the buyer or government agency. Nailing down the details within your contract might necessitate finding an attorney to draw up documents, but this will cost you and would have otherwise been provided by the real estate agency or lender.

There is no right or wrong way to list your home for sale. However, listing with a qualified REALTOR® has been proven to save time and return more money into your pocket. Based on historical data, the average home in 2018 listed FSBO sold for $200,000 compared to $280,000 with the assistance of an agent – something to consider before going it solo. Contact us today for a free consultation.