8 Reasons NOT to Sell Your Home Yourself in 2021

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties DC AB15253

Why Selling Your House on Your Own in 2021 Is a Mistake

Why Selling Your House on Your Own in 2021 Is a Mistake | MyKCM

There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times, like what we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert you trust to help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), it’s critical to consider the following items.

1. Your Safety Is a Priority

Your safety should always come first, and that’s more crucial than ever given the current health situation in our country. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings but your health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours, real estate professionals are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your potential buyers.

2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer

Recent studies from NAR have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 43% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumps to 97%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house.

3. There Are Too Many Negotiations

Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.

4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage

Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment. You need someone who’s working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.

5. FSBOing Is Becoming More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint

The documentation involved in the selling process is growing dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners think they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save on the commission.

study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”

The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place, potentially driving the price higher, too.

7. Those Discount Listing Companies Provide Few Services

You might think that you can get the benefits of real estate agent representation without paying a big commission by hiring one of those discount brokers. 

Unfortunately, the words "You get what you pay for" are relevant here.  The discount broker will put your home in the MLS, but it will still leave you to hold open houses, negotiate and vet your buyer.  Closing the deal is still hard with a buyer who expects to save money on the commission or the buyer who enjoys taking advantage of sellers going it alone.  Many discount brokers charge their clients an additional fee for each change to the MLS and the input of each open house.  While that service may not add up to a full listing commission, many sellers feel nickled and dimed by the experience and are frustrated by having to wait to get changes made to the MLS.

8.  My Favorite Reason of All - Why Pay the Buyer Agent and Be Unrepresented Yourself

If you are willing to pay the buyer's agent to represent the buyer - and NEGOTIATE AGAINST YOU - why will you not provide the same representation for yourself?  Most sellers are willing to pay a buyer agent so you are not saving a whole commission but only half of one - and that half is just as important as the half going to the buyer agent.  That half that you are saving is the half to protect you.  Aren't you worth half a commission when you are selling the most important and significant asset you own?


Bottom Line

Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction by yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, let’s connect to discuss your options.

Comments (13)

Brad Thomsen
Big Bear Realty - Edmonds, WA
Real Estate Services

Hi Lise Howe 

Very good point on why it's not too good going FSBO

Have a Great 2021

Happy Selling!

Jan 10, 2021 07:10 PM
Zivak Realty Group
Zivak Realty Group - Nashville, TN
Local Nashville Real Estate Broker

Hello Lise Howe 


Happy Selling and Happy New year. 




Jan 11, 2021 12:36 AM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Lise.

All good points, but you and I both know there are still those who will give it a try.  Later to regret that decision

Jan 11, 2021 12:43 AM
Brian England
Vacasa - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

These are great reasons, especially in 2021.  The market out here is crazy and even though someone could list their home by themselves and still receive multiple offers and feel like they are doing good, I am confident that they would still leave money on the table and not even know they did.

Jan 11, 2021 04:47 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Brian England = I agree completely. It is tempting to go the FSBO route but I do think that we ultimately save the seller money, time and stres.

Jan 11, 2021 05:02 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

James Dray - there is a reason that most FSBOs ultimately work with a Realtor.

Jan 11, 2021 05:03 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Brad Thomsen - thanks so much for your kind comments and I wish you a great 2021

Jan 11, 2021 05:04 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Zivak Realty Group - thanks for stopping by - I always appreciate hearing from you!

Jan 11, 2021 05:04 AM
Zivak Realty Group

Sure, we can get in touch over direct number as well as you can visit our website. 

Feb 04, 2021 10:37 PM
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

Hi Lise,
Great list of reasons FSBOs should hire a professional. I especially love that "safety" is first!

Jan 11, 2021 06:08 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

If they still don't understand why they need to work with a professional when selling their home, these reasons should set them straight. 

Jan 11, 2021 06:56 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Carol Williams - there truly are so many reasons to hire a professional realtor! 

Jan 11, 2021 07:53 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Kathy Streib - thanks so much for your kind comments - I hope you have a great week

Jan 11, 2021 07:53 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

All EXCELLENT reasons and I'm with you, Lise - why on earth go unrepresented when the other (listing) agent is going to make bank on the sale. Hire your own and have someone protecting YOU for the same exact cost! 

Jan 12, 2021 06:51 AM

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