Dear For Sale By Owner...what are you thinking?

Real Estate Agent with Jefferson Properties 0225213983

Everywhere I look these days I see a FSBO, or For Sale By Owner, for those of you not in the "biz."  The market is hot right now, at least the Richmond, VA real estate market, and everyone thinks they can DIY (Do It Yourself). I am often wondering why people take a gamble with their largest investment in life, their home. Is it because we make it look so easy, this real estate thing?  All we do is stick a sign in the yard and let the offers roll in, right?  What are people thinking?  Do they skip the professionals when it comes to their health?  Their hair?  Nails?  Of course why do they think they can sell their homes themselves?

1.  They think it's easy.  If we can stick a sign in the yard and answer a few phone calls, so can they!  They will need a lot of time on their hands to weed out the serious inquiries and unqualified buyers. Can they leave work for showings?  Are they going to host an Open House?  Do they have time to give tours of their home and point out all of its great features while a potential buyer scowls at their outdated wallpaper?  Have fun with that!

2.  They think they have "mad: skills.  Let's start with photography. I just perused a FSBO picture with photos so dim I thought it was an advertisement for a Halloween haunted house tour!  Have you seen the photo going around of the naked guy taking a picture of his the nude?  Realtors realize their own images are sometimes captured in the mirror, and bathrooms are difficult to photograph. That's why we employ professional photographers....and show up for work in clothes.  

3.  They think they are good sales and marketing people.  Maybe they are!  But do they have time to devote to the marketing of their own home?  From the listing photography, video tours, postcards, flyers, and signage to the MLS listing and internet marketing push (Facebook, Pinterest, Websites, blogging, etc), a good agent does A LOT of marketing. Most FSBO homes stay on the market longer and sell for less than those who use a Realtor.  We can reach thousands more people with our established networks and marketing engines.  It's just a fact.

4.  They think they can get a better price.  I recently talked with a man at an Open House that I was hosting.  He said the home was WAY overpriced.  He had bought and sold sooooo many houses and knows the market.  He could sell his own house and get what the "guy up the street" got for his  home. He "knew for sure" that his neighbor got big bucks for HIS house, so he felt he could do the same.  I later checked the tax record.  His neighbor exaggerated to the tune of 70K.  People lie.

5.  They think Zillow is the same as the MLS.  Say it together, everybody, ZILLOW IS NOT THE MLS.  Don't you love getting calls for the "dream home" currently on know, the one that sold THREE YEARS AGO.  That is a whole other blog post .

I could keep going with my list, but I need to get out of here and sell some houses.   Thanks for reading my blog!  I hope you'll take a moment to follow me here on Active Rain and tell me about YOUR Richmond, VA real estate needs!


Buying a home in Richmond, VA? Richmond has city living AND country views. Downtown Richmond near VCU, The Fan and Museum District, as well as surrounding areas like University of Richmond, Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Mechanicsville, Short Pump, Glen Allen, Chester, Powhatan, Goochland, and Midlothian make RVA a diverse and desirable place to call home. Describe your dream home and I'll do my best to find it!


Selling your home in Richmond, Va?  My job is to make you the most money in the shortest amount of time. I can help you sell your home with professional staging, professional photography, and internet marketing beyond your wildest dreams.  You are in the right hands for Richmond homes and Richmond real estate  You will receive consistent communication throughout and after the transaction....I'm your agent for life!


I am committed to my clients and serving their best interests.  Real estate is not my hobby, it's my passion and full time profession.  I welcome the opportunity to serve you as we locate and negotiate your "best nest" in Richmond, VA estate.

Jenn Hart, Richmond, VA, REALTOR®, 804-317-7997 

Comments (8)

Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Jenn~ I believe #4 is a big motivating factor and the fact that they don't have to pay us! That's not the best way to "save" money with the biggest investment you own.

Sep 19, 2014 05:27 AM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Jenn, I listed a home this summer with a seller who tried to go it alone first. His biggest disappointment was buyers who called were qualified to buy. Have an agent vet the buyer is so necessary, especially in a hot market.

Sep 19, 2014 02:24 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Jenn what a great post, I feel bad for FISBOS...they are missing the boat, penny wise and pound foolish, Endre

Sep 20, 2014 05:07 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is an excellent blog. FSBOs should read your post.

Have a wonderful week.

Sep 21, 2014 04:41 AM
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, Broker/Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Jenn, my company website gets about 125,000 views each month and that's because we KNOW what we are doing and devote a lot of time to it. Add to it our boards website, and all the other 40 pluse websites we send listings out t..I'm not sure a FSBO quite understands that just sticking a sign in the yard and hoping to get a call from someone driving by is quite the same. Even listing on the FSBO sites don't get you close to that exposure.

Sep 21, 2014 09:00 AM
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Hello Jenn,

Great post!  FSBO's typically end up with an agent...they want to try it themselves for many of the reasons you listed.  One that I have heard before, is they were burned by an agent they used once and didn't want to get burned again.  Those are the ones we hate to hear about.

Sep 23, 2014 06:45 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

And when the buyers take them to task for not disclosing something they should have . . . yeah, that never happens {rolling eyes}

Sep 24, 2014 11:36 AM
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

These are all great points, Jenn. 

BTW...Welcome to AR. If I can answer any questions for you, I'm just a phone call or email away. 

Oct 17, 2014 05:59 AM