The pitfalls of For Sale By Owner and how a REALTOR adds value

Categories: Real Estate, Selling, Strategy

A friend of a friend has been trying to sell her starter home For Sale By Owner (FSBO) for several months now. I’ve seen pictures of the home on Facebook—it’s very well kept and has updated features throughout. Yet it sits and sits with nary a nibble.

For Sale By Owner doesn't work!In today’s challenging market, it’s not surprising. According to a 2010 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, FSBO homes accounted for nine percent of all homes on the market, compared to 11 percent in the 2009 survey. This is down significantly from 1997’s peak of 18 percent. The survey further indicated that unrepresented sellers had the most difficulty getting the right price, preparing the home for sale, understanding and performing paperwork, and selling within the planned length of time.

Sellers are realizing that the commission paid to professional REALTORS is worth the money for the services and value they bring to the transaction, especially in today’s market. As conventional wisdom says, oftentimes you have to spend money to make money.

These are the services a good agent (like our Indy Homes Team) will render for sellers:

  • To sell a home, it needs the broadest exposure possible to attract the right buyer. Realtors have access to the Broker Listing Cooperative, a huge database where they can advertise their homes for sale to attract interest. Buyers agents use the BLC to search out appropriate homes to show their clients, and buyers themselves often access the BLC (like the version we offer on when doing their own online research.
  • REALTORS market homes in other ways—through ads, direct mail, broker-to-broker communications and online, for example—and pay for this marketing out of their own pocket.
  • Realtors can often devote more time to showing a home than the owner can.
  • Realtors screen potential buyers to ensure that they are prequalified for a mortgage and therefore can afford the home. No wasting time with unqualified leads.
  • According to the NAR survey, homes sellers represented by agents sell their homes more quickly. This is because REALTORS have valuable experience correctly pricing homes and know how to prepare and stage a home for sale.
  • A good REALTOR is adept at negotiating for the best deal and will ensure that your sale stays on track.

Are you trying to sell your home yourself or are you considering it? Let me show you how I can help you. Contact me—I’ll prepare a free comparable market analysis and schedule an appointment to meet with you.

About the Author

Kristie Smith

Kristie Smith is the founder & leader of the Indy Homes Real Estate Team. She is a REALTOR, and is one of the most recognized and accomplished Indiana real estate agents. As Relocation Director for Keller Williams Realty, Kristie's Team specializes in relocating families moving to the Indy area, as well as Helping People on the Move locally in Indy.


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