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Why For-Sale-by-Owner Sales Fail

Homeowners obviously know their homes better than anyone, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best salespersons for their properties.

Some sellers are tempted to try a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) transaction because their local community is in the midst of a sellers’ market and they think they can sell easily without help. Others try the FSBO route because they want to maximize their profits and avoid paying a commission to a Realtor.

However, statistics show that selling your home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent will garner you a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as put more money in your pocket. According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $174,900, while the average price for a home represented by an agent was $215,000, a difference of $40,100.

Why to Sell With a Realtor

Choosing to sell with a professional rather than on your own makes sense for a variety of reasons:

A Realtor has access to market data about recent sales and other homes on the market that can be used to price your home appropriately. Studies show that homes priced right when they’re first listed sell more quickly and for a higher price than those that linger on the market.

A Realtor can show your home when you aren’t available, can respond to inquiries from potential buyers and their agents, and can get valuable feedback from visitors – all things that save you time.

A Realtor can look at your home objectively and suggest ways to improve its appearance – by staging and minor repairs – so it appeals to more buyers.

Buyers typically prefer to look at a home without the seller present so they can feel more comfortable exploring the rooms and visualizing themselves in the property. At an FSBO sale, the seller must be present.

A Realtor can screen visitors to your home, which provides a measure of safety that FSBO sellers don’t have. In addition, by checking to see if the buyers are legitimate and can afford to purchase your home, a Realtor can help you avoid wasting time showing your home to unrealistic buyers.

Realtors have professional marketing expertise, contacts with other Realtors who work with buyers, and the support of a brokerage that can market your home more widely than you can as an individual.

A Realtor can help you negotiate a contract that not only garners you an appropriate price for your home, but that meets your needs for a settlement date and perhaps includes a period when you rent back your home from your buyer. In addition, a Realtor can make sure your contract is in compliance with all local regulations.

FSBOs Don’t Know How To Prepare The Home Correctly Before Listing For Sale

Properly preparing a home for sale plays a huge role in the success of selling homes, whether FSBO or not.  One of the most common reasons why FSBOs fail in real estate is because the homeowner has no idea how to properly prepare before it is listed for sale.

Listing a home for sale before it is ready can be detrimental to the chances it actually sells.  It’s very important that if you’re planning on selling your home by yourself without professional representation, you don’t list your home for sale before it’s ready!

There are many home sale preparation tips that should be followed by FSBOs.  Some of the most important pre-listing tasks that FSBOs should do before listing their home for sale include;

  • Decluttering
  • Freshly paint rooms
  • Professionally clean carpets and/or floors
  • Replace outdated light fixtures
  • Make sure your home has good curb appeal

The above home preparation tips will greatly increase the chances of a successful FSBO.  Remember, when it comes to selling a home, there is only one chance to make a first impression and by neglecting these home sale preparation tips, you could be costing yourself a sale.

FSBOs Don’t Know How To Screen Potentials Buyers

A top real estate agent overtime learns how to screen potential buyers.  One of the biggest reasons why FSBOs fail in real estate is because the homeowner has no clue what questions they should be asking or how to screen the potential buyers.

FSBOs will often waste countless hours having unqualified buyers walking through their home because they don’t know how to ensure they are pre-approved or at the very least, pre-qualified.  Many FSBOs don’t even realize there is a difference between a pre-approval and pre-qualification.  It’s important that if your planning on selling your home by yourself, you know the difference between a pre-approval and pre-qualification, but also know how to find out if the buyer is even able to purchase your home.

A strong suggestion for any FSBO is to have a connection with a local mortgage consultant or representative.  If potential buyers inquire about your home, one of the first questions should be, “have you been pre-approved for a mortgage?”  If they have not, you should insist before you’re able to have them view your home, they speak with a mortgage consultant and you’d be happy to give them a recommendation.

FSBOs Aren’t Able To Be Available To Handle Property Inquiries

Many FSBOs believe that real estate agents make boatloads of money and don’t have to work many hours to do so.  This is one of the most common real estate myths that exists.  The fact is, real estate agents spend much of their day handling inquiries on their listings from buyers and also coordinating showings for their listings.

One of the biggest reasons why FSBOs fail in real estate is because the homeowner doesn’t have the time or availability to handle inquiries on their home or time to show it.  Home buyers and buyers agents want quick responses on their inquiries, otherwise, they will often move onto the next potential property.

Many FSBOs aren’t able to answer showing requests and property inquiries.  Whether it’s because they have a full-time job or because they are simply not good at answering their phone or e-mails, not having the availability to answer these inquiries is a huge reason why FSBOs fail in real estate.

FSBOs Don’t Allow Potential Buyers To View The Home Without Pressure

Without doubt, one of the primary reasons FSBOs fail in real estate is because the homeowner doesn’t allow a potential buyer to have space as they view their home.  Most home buyers do not like to be pressured when looking at a home.

It’s suggested that if you are going to sell your home without representation from a professional, you give space to the potential home buyer.  Allowing the buyer to view your home without being sold on how great your home is will actually go a long way.  Giving a potential home buyer space allows them to be able to speak openly about the property without worrying that they will hurt the homeowners feelings.

FSBOs Don’t Know How To Negotiate With Potential Buyers Offers/Contract

While the training that is required to become a real estate agent is not extremely difficult, there are many things that are learned while taking the required courses.  One of the most important things learned throughout the licensing process pertains to real estate contracts.  Real estate contracts can be confusing which is why it is one of the top reasons FSBOs fail in real estate.

A FSBO who doesn’t have a strong understanding of a real estate contract may not know what they are agreeing and also the possibility exists they don’t know how to negotiate specific parts of the contract.  Real estate contracts are loaded with lots of clauses, timelines, and also many common contract contingencies, such as mortgages and inspections.

It’s important that if you plan on selling your home by yourself, you understand that the contract is more involved than just the price the buyer is offering.  Certainly the offer price is important, but the fact a contract has fewer contingencies should also not be ignored.

FSBOs Don’t Know How To Handle The Home Inspection Findings

Most home buyers want to have a home inspection and there are many reasons why a home buyer should have a home inspection when buying a home.  One of the most common reasons why FSBOs fail in real estate is because the homeowner does not know how to handle the home inspection phase of the real estate transaction.

The likelihood that a home inspector is going to find something wrong with any home is strong.  Certainly there are some homes that will have fewer home inspection findings, however, even newly built homes will likely have “issues.”

FSBOs often believe that there is nothing wrong with their home which is why it’s upsetting when the buyer requests items to be corrected or fixed before moving forward with the transaction.  This can often lead to the FSBO refusing to correct or fix any items, which is a great way to scare away a potential home buyer.

FSBOs Aren’t Willing To (Or Able To) Pay A Commission To A Buyers Agent

Another common reason why FSBOs are unsuccessful is because the homeowner is not willing to pay a buyers agent a commission.  A FSBO is able to save the commission they would have to pay a listing broker and some are willing to pay a buyers representative, which is a smart idea.  FSBOs who are unwilling to pay a buyers agent a commission will greatly reduce the chance of a successful sale.

Most home buyers want to have a buyers agent when buying a home.  A FSBO who is unwilling to pay even a buyers agent a commission is eliminating a significant number of potential buyers.

If you must attempt to sell your home without a professional real estate agent or broker, which is never suggested, agreeing to pay a buyers agent is a very smart decision.

FSBOs Home Is Lacking Exposure

One of the biggest reasons FSBOs fail in real estate is because the homeowner is not able to get their home in front of enough potential home buyers.  There are certainly websites that allow FSBOs to list their home for sale, however, there are also some websites that will not allow FSBOs to market their home.

A top producing Realtor should be able to give their sellers homes tons of exposure.  Whether it’s online exposure or exposure in the local real estate section of the newspaper, Realtors have the tools to provide exposure that FSBOs do not.  The use of cutting-edge technology and a comprehensive marketing plan are just a couple things that sellers should expect when they hire a Realtor to sell their home.

The FSBO Incorrectly Prices Their Home

Learning how to properly price real estate takes lots of practice and experience.  One of the biggest reasons why FSBOs fail in real estate is because the homeowner incorrectly prices their home.  There are many factors to consider when pricing a home for sale, many of which are not taken into account by a FSBO.

It’s fairly common that FSBOs price their home too high, which can significantly hinder the chances the home sells.  If you decide to attempt the sale of your home without a Realtor, you should consider having an appraisal completed on your home.  An appraisal can help verify that the price you’re thinking of listing your home for sale at, is in line with what an appraiser indicates your home is worth.

FSBOs Don’t Know How To Ensure The Deal Actually Closes

Once a purchase offer is accepted on a piece of real estate, there are many things that still need to be completed prior to the closing.  Another common reason why FSBOs fail is because the homeowner doesn’t know what to do after accepting the offer and the ball is dropped somewhere along the line.

There are specific timelines that should be followed as well as specific tasks that need to be completed by different parties.  Many times a FSBO doesn’t understand who needs to be doing what and when the tasks should be completed.

If you decide to sell your home by owner, some of the tasks that need to be completed prior to closing include;

  • Buyer obtains written mortgage commitment
  • Inspections are completed within allotted time
  • Attorney(s) approve contracts
  • Instrument survey is ordered
  • Title work is reviewed
  • Abstract is re-dated

Final Thoughts

Before you decide to sell your home by owner, remember, the chance you will be successful is less than 10%.  If you decide you want to take on the challenge, make sure you are aware of the above common reasons why FSBOs fail in real estate.  FSBOs who understand what the most common pitfalls are will greatly increase the chance that they have a successful sale.

FSBO Dangers

Most buyers today work with a buyers’ agent to represent their interests. If you choose to sell your home on your own, you’ll be negotiating with a professional and relying on your own skill to finalize a contract. Not only could you end up selling your home for less money, you could leave yourself open to potential legal problems unless you have the contract vetted by an experienced real estate attorney.

FSBO transactions can be successful, of course, but 90 percent of homeowners prefer to work with a professional rather than risk an unsatisfactory home selling experience.

Other Top For Sale By Owner (FSBOs) Resources

Why For Sale By Owners (FSBO) Fail via



Books to Read

 Rashid Bhuiyan has accomplished many sales in such a short time in which he was gains the knowledge to help his clients accomplish their goals in selling their home! With sales experience in construction material & homes. Studied Marketing in his college days. His knowledge is there to help you to make your experience more smoother & simplified!


Home Improvement that Improve ValuesHome Improvements that Improve Values


By Rashid Bhuiyan


Thinking about making additions and improvements to your home? Too many times owners spend money they wont get back when they sell. Find out what improvements to make maximize the value of your home and which ones to avoid that will never get your money back when you sell.


Rashid Bhuiyan has laid out the best upgrades for a return on your investment and the worst. The guidelines in this book will help you make the right move. If you don't have time to implement them, you can high him to implement them for you.


Please Contact Us to find out what your home is worth for free! You can Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon


How to Advertise & Promote your Home

Ways to Advertise and Promote your Home


By Rashid Bhuiyan


Looking to sell your home? This book is perfect for you. It will go through the entire marketing process and detail ways that you probably didn't know about. Most realtors only have a few techniques they use. This book will cover the many ways that it is possible to use.


This book will detail the steps and entire process Rashid Bhuiyan will go through to advertise and promote your home. He will guarantee to take more steps and give more effort then most realtors.


Please Contact Us to find out what your home is worth for free! You can Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon


How to Sell Your Home for More Money

 How to Sell Your Home for More Money


By Rashid Bhuiyan


How much can you really get for your home? Chances are it's more then you thought. I've lade out strategies for each part of your home, to attract the most viewers and maximize your profits in this book.


This book was written to help homeowners who want to sell for the most possible. Inside this book they will learn how to stage and present their home, in order to get the most profit. These strategies are proven and will have buyers envisioning themselves in your home.

Please Contact Us to find out what your home is worth for free! You can Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon

Are you a homeowner and are thinking of selling your home without Realtor representation?  Have you attempted to sell your home by owner and failed?  If you were unsuccessful, I’d love the opportunity to talk with you about your real estate plans and objectives.  Contact Us so we can decide whether there would be a mutual benefit of working together on the sale of your Staten Island, NY home.