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Pros and Cons of Listing your Home as an FSBO

By Thomas Mitchell

If you’re thinking about selling your home, early spring is a great time to begin the process and get your house on the market. If you are considering putting your home on the market as a for sale by owner listing, or FSBO, you should consider the good along with the bad. You’re not going to have to make a big pay out to two brokerages, and that may make it seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. You should look at the appraised value of your home and not focus as much on the tax.

Let’s look at the positives first. There’s no commission fee for selling your home. On average, sellers pay out about 15 thousand dollars in commission fees. Also when listing your home as an FSBO, you are the one in control. Nobody else can tell you what price to set your home at, or when and how you show your home off to buyers. Nor can anybody influence how you negotiate with potential buyers. Everything is on your terms. You are also more likely to know everything about your house and can remember details buyers might want to know, better than your realtor can. Realtors have other house to think about and might not be able to recite everything as well as you. Also, there are many roads to take when listing your home. You can put up an ad on Craigslist, use one of the many for sale by owner sites out there, or even just create a big colorful sign in your yard.

Now it’s time to cover some of the negatives of selling your home as an FSBO. Statistics show you will probably sell it for 15% less than you would have with a realtor. Also your home is going to be harder to find for potential buyers. There are many choices for putting your home out there but only realtors can use the multiple listing service which is a major online tool for real estate agents. A realtor will also have much more experience than you probably, and might have more ambition to sell. You are also going to have to prepare all the correct disclosures and legal documents on your own. If you don’t do this correctly you might end up liable for something in the future. It’s going to take time for you to align yourself with the whole selling process as well, and get a good handle on things. Another pitfall has to deal with improperly financed buyers looking to capitalize on your inexperience.

Don’t let the cons of listing your home as an FSBO discourage you. If you avoid traps and come prepared and knowledgeable, you can make your FSBO listing work out in your favor. Carefully consider the pros and cons, along with your own personal needs in terms of time and finances, and make the choice that works best for you.

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