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FSBOs on the Rise

Selling your home yourself might save you money, or give you headaches—or both.

With economic challenges refusing to lighten, many homeowners who either need or wish to move have gone the independent route.  More and more homeowners are trying to sell their homes without the assistance of a realtor .  

To be sure, realtors have tools and knowledge most homeowners do not and thus have a distinct advantage. But cash-strapped sellers are seeing that additional commission as too great a burden.  

The two most important seller tools are still the yard sign and the Multiple List Service (MLS).  In fact, my own study shows, as unscientific as it is, that 88 percent of real estate calls are generated simply by yard signage and internet listings. Realtors will tell you that, after direct-client referrals, signs produce the greatest number of leads for an agent.

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sellers can learn a great lesson. Having a good, professional-looking yard sign, with the option for potential buyers to be able to get information, without having to talk to anyone, will generate a vast number of potential buyer leads for a home seller. The difference between the typical seller and an agent is that the agent knows what to do with that lead.

Still, generating the interest is what drives traffic to and through the seller’s home. Some realtors provide low-cost solutions which might be effective. Still yet, even less-expensive options exist such as www.homesbyowner.com, FSBO.com and forsalebyowner.com. There may be others, but these are the top three.  

Homesbyowner.com seems to provide their service free of charge.  All such sites require users to allow their sponsors to contact homeowners regarding potential services—for example, landscaping, electrical or other services.

FSBO homeowners might want to have a home inspection done or  appraisal prior to putting a home on the market.  To my knowledge, homesbyowner.com is the only site which provides a free listing opportunity, with optional upgrade features.  Some of the other sites mentioned above have other options available, but all are good options to investigate if you are trying to sell your home on your own.

Be ready, however, to pay some commission in any real estate transaction. Even if you list and sell on your own, there are less than 10 percent of buyers who have time to do the proper research, or understand the laws which protect them.  

Hence, most byers do use a realtor to help them find their home of choice. As such, most buyers do not have the requisite 3 percent typical commission in cash available to them to pay the realtor. Most will negotiate that commission into their offer.  So expect, in most cases to pay some commission.  But still there are huge savings to be had.  That said, it is also important to note that 78% of FSBO sellers end up listing with an Agent.  The sites above can make great referrals or you might know a local Agent who can help you.

If you do decide to try selling your home without a REALTOR, be aware of the disclosure requirements regarding lead-based paint and property condition disclosures which, if not made, could land you in heaps of trouble. Again, the sites above may provide valuable information to help you remain in compliance with disclosure laws.

Remember, a real estate transaction involves huge sums of money. As such, they are incredibly involved. Make certain that you have done your research into your obligations as a seller (or buyer) and that your follow the laws exactingly. But, for those who have the ability, the FSBO route can pay off dramatically.

Mark Grier July 20, 2011 at 05:13 PM
Thanks, David, for bringing this to light. We at Homesbyowner.com are proud to partner with some of the best in the business. Most of our local affiliates provide free listing options and terrific service. We receive more than 1 million hits daily and have national exposure. And, if our sellers are unsuccessful on their own or need additional help. we make thousands of referrals to top real estate agents in the country. Thanks again for showing people another way!

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