The Unspoken For-Sale-By-Owner Problem

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lake Homes Realty

As we've grown our brokerage operations across the country, I've had the opportunity to spend significant time with hundreds of real estate agents, and talk with a large number of home owners and buyers from different markets.

This provides a very large collection of patterns of behavior, and in turn, has opened my eyes to challenges in real estate that are often unspoken.

One of these challenges I've been thinking about for several years is this:

In this age of easy access to information, why has For-Sale-By-Owner not gained more market share from traditional real estate brokerages?

After all, what was once only known by real estate professionals is now easily accessed online. We've become accustomed to doing so many things ourselves, why has this not changed much?

I have come to believe that in addition to the FSBO issues commonly discussed by real estate agents, there is a bigger problem for home owners selling on their own.

The owner and the buyer both know there is not going to be an agent commission and they BOTH believe they deserve that money instead of the other.

This creates a price separation gap that is larger than normal, with a strong emotional commitment by each party to commit to their view of an appropriate price.

For those with more interest in this idea, I explore it in greater detail (really longer than I thought suitable for ActiveRain) in my recent article, "The For-Sale-By-Owner Problem No One Talks About." 

However, my interest here is this: what are the thoughts of other real estate professionals on this issue?

I know the many other, often stated issues, including MLS access, access to comparables, pricing, negotiations, contract knowledge, and a host of other tasks important to home sales. Those tasks/challenges are still there.

My thoughts are about "the next level" of unspoken obstacles.

Whether For-Sale-By-Owner or brokerage represented transactions, what problems are hidden by the most commonly discussed problems?

That is, what are we so stuck on talking about or solving that we don't see the other challenges before us?

Why do we often presume that a set of known challenges are the only challenges? 

And where does this mindset prevent us from being able to truly solve problems (in all types of business and life challenges).

We cannot solve problems if we are unaware of their existence. So, I guess this is a bit like group therapy for consumers. Recognition and admission is the first steps to recovery (or in this case, a closing). "Here is a problem you didn't know, so now you can work to address it."

What other unspoken obstacles still lurk, still kill deals, and are awaiting discovery?

I believe that understanding and solving more than the common issues is a key to success, and find this to be opportunity awaiting us all.


Posted by

Glenn S. Phillips is the CEO of Lake Homes Realty, the multi-state, full-service, lake-focused real estate brokerage powered by

 Lake Homes Realty -



Comments (0)