A for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) sale can seem, on the face of it, a great way to save a lot of money and so is quite tempting for many sellers. But is it really as good as it seems? Well, the standard agent commission is around 5% to 6%, so there’s the potential to save several thousands of dollars. There are, however, many cons to offset the potential savings – which often isn’t a savings if you consider the typically lower sale price for an FSBO listing. So let’s take a look at 5 downfalls of selling your Southern California house with an FSBO listing.
1. Lack of Time and Flexibility
Selling houses is the full-time job of an agent, but you already have a full-time job. If you go with an FSBO listing to sell your Southern California, it’s very likely you won’t have the time to do it properly.
In addition, all the claims most people have on their time – job, family duties, social responsibilities, and so on – will prevent them from having the necessary flexibility. Requests for showings from potential buyers can come at any time of the day or night and often on very short notice. Can you leave work or a family gathering at any time to meet with a buyer? Probably not.
But your agent is willing to and can do this. To find out more about the advantages of an agent’s time commitment and experience, just call (805) 257-5780.
2. Limited Marketing Reach
Marketing, especially online marketing today, is a key element in selling a house quickly and at a good price. Sure, with an FSBO listing, you can do your own marketing. But will that really be enough to get the job done?
In trying to sell your Southern California house with an FSBO listing, you most likely won’t have the marketing reach that your local agent will. “Even if you have a large personal or professional network, those people will likely have little interest in spreading the word that your house is for sale. You don’t have relationships with clients, other agents, or a real estate agency to bring the largest pool of potential buyers to your home. A smaller pool of potential buyers means less demand for your property, which can translate into waiting longer to sell your home and possibly not getting as much money as your house is worth.”
3. Inability to Vet Buyers
Another important aspect of the home-selling process is vetting (or qualifying) buyers. You don’t really want to waste your time on mere tire kickers. Most sellers don’t have the experience to do a good job of this on their own. An agent, on the other hand, can tell pretty quickly if a seeming buyer who wants to view your home is really a qualified buyer or someone who is just curious.
If you decide to sell your Southern California house with an FSBO listing, you’ll have to interrupt your life and put it on hold to show your home numerous times – and many of the buyers won’t be serious buyers. But agents “are trained to ask qualifying questions to determine the seriousness, qualification, and motivation of a prospect . . . They can move a qualified and motivated person to the point of purchase. FSBO sellers lack this training and skill set.”
4. Lack of Negotiating Skill
And what about negotiating the best price and best deal possible? Do you have the requisite skill, experience, and expertise to negotiate effectively? Most agents do possess these essential things, most likely having negotiated hundreds of deals.
Two main downfalls of an FSBO listing in this area are that sellers typically have an obstructing emotional attachment to their home and they don’t have knowledge of local market customs and conditions. With respect to the latter, “[a]gents know the pulse of the market and what’s driving demand, which gives them an advantage by knowing what terms are worth negotiating for and which are worth letting the other party win . . . Furthermore . . . agents know the local customs for selling a home, such as whether the buyer or the seller typically pays fees such as transfer taxes and closing costs.”
5. Legal Risk
Finally, are you willing to take on the legal risk usually involved in selling with an FSBO listing?
Selling a house involves a lot of paperwork, much of it legally complex documents that have to be completed correctly and often by an expert in the field. A good example of these are the seller’s disclosures. If you don’t disclose everything about the property accurately and properly, you can be held liable for negligence, fraud, and/or breach of contract.
When you go through an agent instead of using an FSBO listing, the bulk of the burden of legal risk shifts to your agent. “[Y]our agent probably knows more about disclosure laws than you do. If you fail to disclose a hazard, nuisance, or defect – and the buyer comes back to you after having moved in and found a problem – the buyer could sue you. Agents . . . have professional errors and omissions insurance to protect themselves and give the buyer recourse, so the buyer may not need to pursue the seller for damages.”
A Better Option than an FSBO Listing
Obviously, then, using an experienced local real estate agent is a better option. If you’re ready to sell your Southern California.