The Business of Selling a Home

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

The Business of Selling a Home

Originally, I was going to title this post, "What is a For Sale By Owner Gaining Losing By Not Hiring an Agent?"  The answer I imagine coming from the lips of a FSBO would be nothing.  Having talked to many a FSBO, I can say that most honestly believe they are gaining by not having to pay a listing agent.  It is short sighted logic and focuses on what listing agents charge vs. what they bring to the table.

The business of selling a home is essentially that of running a small business.  You set up shop and have one thing to sell.  Maybe that one thing is 123 Main Street.  Getting Main Street on the market is a task that professional, experienced real estate agents have down to a science.  Take me, for instance, a full-time agent serving Gainesville, Bristow and Haymarket since 2005.  My years of experience benfit my sellers in advice on listing prep and staging.  That stuff is critical, especially if you want to cash out a high sales price.  I have relationships with professional photographers that take the prep and staging and make it come to life for buyers.  

Think of this aspect of real estate in the parallel terms of a small businesses looking to make a splash in the market.  Those businesses that succeed above and beyond hire ad agencies.  Professionals that craft the message and know where to deliver it to get the best results.  Real estate agents are no different to sellers than ad agencies are to small businesses.  The dollars spent on hiring the professional pay off in the marketing alone.  After all, you can't get the absolute highest price without being exposed to the entire market, with your crafted message.  That staging and listing prep are crafting the message.  Hitting the entire market is what I do every time I reach out to my network of agents about a coming soon listing, or by writing a blog post about a home.  Presenting the home in a Facebook Live video or even just the choice of words used in the description all make a difference.  In the end, it all matters if you want to make a positive impact on buyers.  And since real estate agents are often out there rubbing elbows with buyers, we know what they are looking for and their turn offs and turn ons.

Negotiation is another area where the business of selling a home is revealed.  When talking about negotiations, think about super talented young atheletes out of college that are looking to get signed to professional sports teams.  If those young atheletes only thought about the price of an agent representing them and how much it cost, they would miss out on what professional representation could GAIN them in their dealings with those sports teams.  It is really no different in real estate.

Professional real estate agents know a good offer when they see one.  And they always see opportunities to make good offers better.  That's the art of negotiation.  If you have never sold a home in your life, or even have sold only one previously, you will never have the same amount of experience in contract negotiations as a professional agent who represents two dozen clients or more a year.  You wouldn't know the potential pitfalls of offers that an agent would catch.  Your fear of losing the deal you worked months to get may override a decision to counter an offer, be it in a sales price, or inspection repairs.  

Sadly, while the decision to be FSBO is one usually motivated in saving a listing commission, most FSBO sellers will never know what they are missing in having an agent well versed in marketing and negotiations, making sure their client gets the best contract terms available.  There is no fear of losing a deal because we rinse and repeat selling homes dozens of times a year.  We know there's another buyer around the corner. 

The business of selling a home is, in fact, business.  And if you don't know what you are doing, it can be a costly experiment to think you saving yourself money by listing it yourself.  Do yourself a favor and talk to a professional agent and see the amount of thought and effort that goes into the marketing and negotiations.  You will understand why your FSBO sign is gathering dust in your yard and the neighbors down the street that hired an experienced agent are already under contract.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. vickie gleason 02/12/2019 02:11 PM
  2. Ron Barnes 02/16/2019 06:28 AM
Home Selling
Virginia Prince William County Haymarket
Art of Professional Salesmanship
Bartender, Make it a Double
Late Night Professionals Club
Old Farts Club
fsbo vs hiring an agent

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Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

it is all business driven by social dynamics here and there this Real Estate is

Feb 09, 2019 05:44 AM #18
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

It is amazing that that FSBO thinks they are saving money not paying a commission (if they offer, for instance, 3% to a buyer's agent they are only saving 3%). All they see is what they saved, not what they could have gotten with more exposure.  Then, let's talk about negotiations.  A FSBO negotiating with a professional necigiatoer...we know the sad outcome.

Feb 09, 2019 06:17 AM #19
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Thanks for sharing this Chris Ann Cleland. Relating real estate transactions to being a business is a wonderful comparison. Unfortunately, the increasingly available on-line information falsely empowers some to think they can do 'it' better. As was commented earlier, your post would be a great flier to a FSBO.


Feb 09, 2019 09:07 AM #20
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Excellent post, Chris Ann.  The intangible costs of trying to sell a home as a FSBO can far outweigh those tangible costs, which need to be consider an "investment" not a cost.  Sadly, many homesellers don't realize it until it's too late.  Well deserved Feature!!!

Feb 09, 2019 12:36 PM #21
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
WestUSA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

I love it, good post my friend. You said it so well: "the business of selling a home". The ring is so true.

Feb 11, 2019 08:21 AM #22
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
WestUSA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

As well, Chris Ann, add to FSBO - the required disclosures, the rules of the law, the risk mitigation, buyer behavior, demographics, marketing tools.....

Feb 11, 2019 08:24 AM #23
Vickie Teel
Allison James Estates & Homes - Punta Gorda, FL
Sharing Florida sunshine one homeowner at a time!

Well said Chris Ann Cleland !  Great info. and as Sheila Anderson said would make a good FSBO handout.  

Feb 11, 2019 06:17 PM #24
Karla Jusko
Exit Homestead Realty Professionals - Vineland, NJ
Serving Southern New Jersey

Thank you for this well written and detailed post on the perils of going at it alone in the real estate market!

Feb 11, 2019 06:19 PM #25
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

Geat post Chris Ann! What astounds me is that so few FSBO sellers actually consider the potential legal jeopardy of not having done ALL the necessary disclosures.  Part of our job as a listing agent is to make sure, to the best of our knowledge, that sellers are not placing themselves in a position that could land them in a lawsuit!

Feb 11, 2019 10:17 PM #26
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I inspect a couple of FSBOs a week, but really have no idea as to the ups or downs of the deal.  But you are right, the FSBO is popular.

Feb 12, 2019 03:11 AM #27
Beverly Cannon Jones
PARKS - Hendersonville, TN
Real Estate Agent Serving Nashville, TN



This is a great article!  It gave me some thoughts that I can put in my own listing presentation.  Thank you for sharing!!!

Have a great day!

Feb 12, 2019 06:19 AM #28
Ron Trzcinski, 410-935-5844
Century 21, The Real Estate Centre, 410-665-0200 Office - Nottingham, MD

Chris Ann,

Thank you for posting.  I like your analogy to the professional sport's agent.


Feb 12, 2019 08:52 AM #29
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Hopefully you can present this information to your local FSBOs and get some of their listings.    Especially when they hear we are practically the only profession that only gets paid for our experience when the sale is complete.

Feb 12, 2019 10:50 AM #30
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Chris, congratulations on a well written and informative post.

No matter the status of the consumer, the agent that understands how to present their added value will get more business.

The seller that can understand the value add by using a professional, knowledgeable agent will get the most for their property in the shortest period of time and can relax while doing so.

Feb 12, 2019 11:43 AM #31
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Some FSBOS work out, some don't.  What I see often is a buyers agent who deals with the fsbo and ends up doing the work of two agents!

Feb 12, 2019 01:04 PM #32
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It's pretty close to that.  I can tell it's a FSBO because I pull up to a house with no sign and the seller meets me at the door.

Feb 12, 2019 04:19 PM #33
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Chris Ann:

I really like the analogy you used and any would-be FSBo who reads this and considers all the issues you raised honestly will make the only right decision - hire the right real estate professional - a consultant - for your real estate business!


Feb 12, 2019 10:40 PM #34
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I didn't pay attention to numbers until this post, but I did one yesterday and have one today.  The seller called me to make sure I know what I'm doing...

And I asked him to leave us alone during the inspection!

Feb 14, 2019 03:10 AM #35
Ron Barnes
Associate Broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties - Jasper, GA
"Most agents claim they're #1 - I THINK YOU'RE #1!

Well thought out and spoken. Compelling arguements for using an agent. I like the part about not knowing what you saved if you don't know what you left on the table!

Feb 16, 2019 06:38 AM #36
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent post as always!  I'm pretty sure that some don't understand the depth of what it takes to get the job done!   Ditton on Ron's comments above!

Feb 16, 2019 05:06 PM #37
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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