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Frustrated FSBO? Here’s When It’s Time to Hire an Agent

In today’s seller’s market, you may have tried your hand at selling your home yourself, reasoning that with low inventory and high demand there would be a line of sellers waiting for the chance to make an offer. Now you may be watching other homes sell in hours at far above the asking price while your home continues to languish during a historically hot market.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) most recent statistics, approximately 8 percent of home sales are For Sale By Owner (FSBO) transactions. What makes the difference between a successful By Owner home sale and a long and frustrating one? Here are the things to consider when determining whether it’s time to give up your FSBO experiment and bring in a real estate agent to sell your home.

When you don’t have a buyer in mind

According to NAR, 39 percent of successful For Sale By Owner transactions occurred when the buyer and seller already had an agreement in place. Sometimes this was due to a homeowner selling directly to a friend or family member. Other times the successful sale occurred when a buyer approached the seller directly with an offer.

If you don’t have someone in place already, you may face a long and difficult search for a qualified buyer. You’ll need to get up to speed on market-ready pricing, publicity, and promotions—skills a trusted real estate agent is well-qualified to provide on day one.

red for sale sign

When you’re getting no interest at all

If you’ve put your home on the market and you’re not getting a nibble, the problem may be your price. While you may think you know what your home is worth based on conversations with neighbors and overall local sales statistics, individual home valuation can present a number of challenges. A real estate agent can evaluate comparable properties and recent sales as well as market conditions to formulate a more accurate home valuation that gets potential buyers through the door.

When you’re getting nothing but looky-loos

If you’ve promoted your property and are getting plenty of viewings, but no offers, you may need to rethink a number of factors. The home may be priced wrong or may have outdated style elements that are turning off today’s buyers. A real estate agent can help you prepare your home for the market through much-needed repairs, expert staging, and accurate pricing to help convert casual viewers into potential buyers.

woman sitting on phone with notebook

When you’re unsure about the paperwork involved

A real estate transaction is an intensive process involving a great number of legal documents and legally binding agreements. A misunderstanding or error in the marketing of the property or the preparation of a contract or contingency can result in thousands of dollars of liability for the homeowner.

In addition, scammers often target FSBO sellers for financial fraud and identity theft. Secure, expert transaction management is one of the most important reasons for working with a real estate agent or broker.

row of homes

When you’re seeing other homes in the neighborhood sell fast

If there are other homes in your neighborhood for sale, and they’re going fast while yours sits still, it may be time to bring in a real estate professional. That’s because the increased visibility offered by a professional marketing strategy can help you successfully compete against those other options and expert pricing can ensure that you limit the number of days your listing spends on the market.

When it’s a seller’s market

You may think that a seller’s market is a perfect time to go it alone and take advantage of increased demand. However, the potential for multiple offers and an above-asking price offer is greatly enhanced by the services of a real estate agent or broker. An agent’s or broker’s professional network, buyer list, expert negotiation strategies, and knowledge of up-to-date pricing can keep you from making an expensive mistake when you go it alone.

couple looking at home with real estate agent

When you’re spending too much time trying to sell your home

Market research, promotional development, pricing strategy, scheduling showings—all while also personally reviewing paperwork and consulting with a real estate attorney—may mean that your FSBO home sale is turning into a full-time job. Consider what your time is worth and determine whether or not it’s time to call in a professional to streamline the process. You may find that professional services pay for themselves not only through the value they add but also through the time they give back to you.

When you’re losing out on buyer opportunities

When you’re planning to sell, and then buy in a competitive seller’s environment, every day you spend on the market means a day you are losing on the buyer side. If you are seeing dream home after dream home come on the market then sell almost immediately while you are still waiting for an interested buyer, it may be time to bring in a real estate agent.

By helping you get your home sold in a timely manner, your real estate agent can free you up to take advantage of buying opportunities in your new neighborhood. In addition, your agent can help negotiate a delayed closing or rent back period in order to make it possible for you to make a smoother transition to your new home.

While a FSBO transaction can work for some homeowners, it’s not for everyone. If you’re frustrated by your FSBO experience, talk to your real estate agent or broker for a no-obligation review of your individual situation. Find out how a well-qualified real estate professional can add value to your home sale experience and help you reach your goals more quickly and efficiently.

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Kimmer Plunk

Based in Memphis and serving clients in West Tennessee and Northwest Mississippi. Serving others is a reward of its own and part of what makes me happy, and I've been doing that for 30 years through various activities including Girl Scouts, PTO, various board positions, unhoused ministry, and professional (award-winning) teaching. I treat others the way that I want to be treated including being readily available, listening to your desires, answering your questions thoroughly, and walking you through the home purchase process. My ultimate goal is to see that you find the home of your dreams and experience the least amount of stress during the process.

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