FSBO or Realtor Fees?

So, you’re thinking about selling your home, but you don’t want to pay a Realtor fee to a listing agent.  These fees usually range from about 2-5% of the selling price of the home.  This fee is always negotiable (in other words, there is no set fee amount).  But, even if you manage to pay as little as 2%, this amount is a considerable expense when you have to add it in to all of the other costs associated with selling a home.


To avoid paying this fee, many sellers try to sell their homes themselves as a For Sale By Owner (or FSBO).  Doing a FSBO makes a lot of sense in some situations.  For example, if one or both of the sellers are attorneys or have a lot of experience working with legal contracts, they’ll often choose to go it alone in selling their home.

FSBOs are also frequently seen in strong sellers markets, where (to be perfectly honest) almost anyone can sell a home due to the high demand from buyers.  Although most of the real estate markets around the country have turned into buyers markets in the last year or two, you’ll still find some sellers markets that are going strong.  In these sellers markets, why wouldn’t a seller try to sell his or her home for a few months on their own?  In the good chance that the home does in fact sell, those sellers can save thousands of dollars.

So, when is it not a good idea to sell your home as a FSBO?  If you need to sell your home quickly, it would be best to hire a Realtor to list your home.  In these cases, you don’t have the luxury of waiting around for a buyer, and you need to make sure your home is properly listed on the MLS and is given as much exposure to buyers (and to real estate agents) as possible.  And, only a Realtor can get a home sold in a given time frame – statistically speaking.

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It’s also a good idea to hire a Realtor if you’re not familiar with the home selling process.  There is a lot of information on the internet and in books about selling homes.  But, if you feel like your head starts to spin when you start thinking about attorneys, appraisers, addendums, and disclosures, it would probably be worth the money to hire a professional who has a lot of experience in home sales.  If, for example, you word a contingency incorrectly, it could cost more money for you in the long run than if you had hired a Realtor to negotiate the contract for you.


In short, the debate over whether to hire a Realtor and pay fees or to do a FSBO completely depends on the sellers’ situations.  If the sellers have experience with selling real estate or are fortunate enough to live in sellers market, why not give FSBO a try?  On the other hand, if you desperately need to sell your home, or if you feel uncomfortable taking on the challenge of selling your home, talk to a Realtor to learn your options and to find out what he or she can do to sell your home.