Is “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) For You?

In almost all cases, the people I have talked to who tried to sell their home themselves, via For Sale by Owner (FSBO), did it to save commissions. In a few rare situations, the seller was using the FSBO approach because he/she didn’t trust any realtors. But is it always true you save commissions by trying to sell your home yourself? Do you always get the best price?

Let me use a real life (and personal) situation. Around 1994, we wanted to sell our house and move to the country. I was not in the real estate or auction business at the time. I wanted to max out the most money we would get therefore we listed the home ourselves in the newspaper(s) and put out signage. (Online marketing via the internet was unknown at that time.)

I really didn’t know the true value of my home, only the tax value and what I needed to net out to purchase the property we wanted to buy. Our home at that was in a rural area with no home around us that compared in size, age and acreage. I did call some agents who gave me a range of values by phone. They never came out to inspect or see the home.

Did I get any traffic? You bet I did. But most of them were the wrong kind of “traffic.” Some were very suspicious and I certainly didn’t want the house shown when I wasn’t there as I had a wife and four children at home. I was concerned about someone coming into the home when I was there. Trying to schedule a time when I was planning to be there was a pain.

I was asked questions that I had no idea what the answer was. I had attempted to use a contract I had bought at an office supply store. Potential buyers were asking me legal questions about the contract of which I didn’t know the answer.

We had a well and septic system. I was asked when the last time my water was tested and when was the last time the septic tank was cleaned out. We had been there almost twenty years and never had the tank cleaned out and only had the water tested when we first moved in.

I remember one guy telling me all the things that were wrong with my home and that he would do us a favor by taking over the payments. I owed about $40,000 and had the property listed for almost  $100,000. The few offers we did get were well below what I was asking. I think some were just testing the water to see how serious or desperate we were. Some were just tire kickers.

I called an old friend whom I forgot was a realtor. His name was David Berry. Dave came out to the house, did a walk through and then we sat down at the kitchen table. He pulled out some comps. Dave told me I had been trying to sell the house too cheap. My jaw dropped as I told him everybody wanted to pay much less than what I was asking. Dave said he had seen this before as people were trying to take advantage of a FSBO seller.

To make a long story short, I listed the home with Dave and it sold two weeks at a price way above     what I was asking. The MLS exposure was a big help. Even with the commissions, I netted out thousands of dollars above what I was originally asking for the home.

All of that was in 1994. I realize today there are both national and local FSBO organizations that do a better job today in helping sellers sell their home but I don’t believe the results are any better. Using a professional realtor (or auctioneer) will save you a lot of headaches and get your home sold at market value in the fastest was. The fastest way of course is to consider an auction. (Yes, I am bias 😊.) Give us a call at 252-257-4822 and let’s discuss what is the best way to get your home sold at the highest price and in the fastest way.

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