In a down market there are many sellers out there looking to save a buck or two by selling their home on their own. Many seller's think that if they just pay a small fee to put their home on the Multiple Listing Service they will be able to get an offer and sell their home for a lot less money than paying a real estate commission. Also in today's market there are many seller's that are upside down in their home and they will have to bring money to closing if the list it with a REALTOR. If you are a seller currently considering selling on your own I hope you will continue reading.
I personally think that a seller that is selling "FSBO" for the purpose of saving money could end up actually spending more money in the process. Let me share with you how this can happen.
Typically, in a down market prices continue to fall, so if a homeowner puts their home on the market as a "FSBO" it usually doesn't get the same exposure, showings, and traffic. Typically after several months they end up putting their home on the market with a REALTOR.
In a declining market the REALTOR is going to recommend that the seller price their home lower then what they were asking origionally, and they will have to pay the real estate commission on top of that. Therefore, it makes more sense to start our with your best foot forward from the first day. If you list your home with a REALTOR at market price and get it sold with in 30 days you will end up paying a percentage of that to the broker to get the home sold, but if the home sits for 90 days and you list it with a broker, and the market has gone down in the last 90 days you will most likely have to list it for less and still pay fees.
Next, if you don't have enough equity in your home to list with a REALTOR, but you need to sell your home there are still ways to get it listed with a full service broker. I would recommend calling a local REALTOR and discussing different options with them, and they will certainly get creative and help you reach your goals.
Finally, here are some stats from the National Association of REALTORS. In 2008 FSBOs accounted for 13% of home sales in the US. The typical FSBO home sold for $153,000 compared to $211,000 for agent-assisted home sales. Furthermore, about 80-90% of FSBO's end up getting listed with a REALTOR.