For Sale By Owner: 10 Things Most Realtors Won't Tell You
By Richard Tavetian December 03, 2019

For Sale By Owner? Save Real Estate Commissions?

Sounds like the right thing to do to save some time and money when you’re selling your home right?

“Agents are too expensive and they don’t do much.” The public perception of agents is not great. The reality is they work REALLY hard to help you.. basically for free until closing. Agents don’t get paid until closing.

When you attempt to For Sale By Owner you’ll soon realize how much a Real Estate Agent actually does for you to earn their commission.

Imagine trying to paddle upstream in a canoe without a paddle.. that’s how it feels to sell on your own.

I’ll be honest.. not every agent truly earns their commission. But not all agents are the same.

Some have experience, some little-to-no experience, some are expensive, some are cheap, some are flat-fee, some online services seem like a good deal…. it can be quite daunting when you go to sell you home. Who do you choose?

It might be an easy choice to go with the “cheapest” option but please for the sake of getting your home sold at top dollar please do not go with the cheapest option.

Would you hire the cheapest lawyer to get you out of jail?

As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”.. is very true.. especially when it comes to the sale of your home.

Honestly I’m not just saying it because I’m an agent, I’m saying it because you get quality service at a higher cost.

Think about it.. do you want to go with a Walmart Agent or First Class Agent?

If you want a Walmart agent then you’ll get Walmart quality.. which usually means lower exposure for your home, little-to-no negotiation support, and a poor pricing strategy.

And if you go with no agent at all, you’ll have a MUCH more difficult time selling your home.

Here are 10 things you need to know before you do For Sale By Owner:


1. Try an MLS Flat Fee first:

In some areas you can post to the MLS for a Flat Fee.

Google locally and see if you can get it on there.

At least by doing this you can get your home in front of other agents and buyers in the network.

2. Get Really good at Marketing, photography, and video:

You can take pictures with your phone but make sure to edit them properly to be appealing but not dishonest.

Marketing will be a pain for you if you don’t have a large network.. putting up a sign just doesn’t cut it anymore.

You’ll need to tap into your network: friends, family, sphere of influence… EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. CONSISTENTLY.

Sure you can post on Facebook but how many of your friends are truly in the market to buy your home? Likely less than 1%.

Although I always recommend a professional photographer and videographer for every home you might be able to get away with your phone and some editing.

3. Understand the Paperwork and Contracts:

Paperwork and Contracts are simple but not easy.

Knowing which contracts to use and when to use them when selling your home are extremely important from a legal perspective and can cover you in case any issues arise.

Agents are trained on this and will help guide you through it.

4. Be Prepared for a lot of Phone Calls:

After you post your home online… be prepared to receive A LOT (I mean A LOT) of phone calls from Real Estate Agents.. know that we’re not calling to bug you.. we see you need help.

Most will be “salesy” but some you may click with.. of you click with them know they can help you if you pay them for their service.

I can’t speak for all agents but I genuinely know that you’ll need help because it’s not easy to get a home sold when you only post it to your friends and family….

The reality is it will be difficult to do this on your own and the failure rate for For Sale By Owners is extremely high.

5. Learn about Staging:

Learn how to DIY Stage or hire a stager to help declutter and neutralize your home.

Neutralize not only the odors but make sure the home is neutral in the sense that anyone walks through can see themselves living there.

6. Here comes the Administrative Work:

Managing showings, buyers, offers, and contracts is not easy!

We have systems in place to schedule and manage showings efficiently for this reason.

Sure you can attempt to do this on your own but if you’re getting dozens of showings every week it starts to become a full time job.

7. Understand Market Pricing:

You’re going to be pricing the home blindly.

If you don’t run true comps on your home you won’t know how to price your home for the market.

Sure your neighbors house just sold down the block for $450k but that doesn’t mean your home is a true comparable property and what about the other 10 homes that are actual comparable?

They should also be analyzed to ensure you home is priced correctly for top dollar.

8. You’ll need to learn how to negotiate:

Negotiations on your home without an expert will be challenging for you.

When you have a Listing Agent working on behalf of you you have a sidekick that, if they’re good, will know how to work the other agent, Buyer’s Agent, and get the most money for your home.

9. Managing Feedback without emotions in the way:

It will be hard to get and take objective feedback of your home unless you have a mediator.

Listing Agents will help you understand what people are saying objectively about your home so you can adjust to the market and get your home sold faster.

If you sell on your own it can be easy to take offense about an “odd odor” or “the kitchen is dated”, or “the bedroom paint is too much”.

Gathering, managing, and listening to prospective buyers’ feedback is key because they’re ultimately your customers.

10. You’ll still need to pay a commission:

Most for sale by owners are still required to pay the Buyer’s Agent side of a transaction albeit less than having a Listing Agent but you’re still required to pay a commission without representation.

This is why Real Estate Agents offer a service to help you.

Just like an Accountant or Lawyer provides a professional service, a Real Estate Agent provides a professional service.

We are professionals with different personalities, systems, skills, and expertise to help you get your home sold fast at the best price the market allows for.

We know you can do it on your own but it will take 100x longer and it will be 100x harder without the help of a professional.

Honestly I don’t want you to fail.. but the sad truth is most For Sale By Owners do because they don’t have a professional to help them.

This is what we get paid to do. We help you sell your home.

Sure you may want to save on commissions but what you may not realize is by trying to save on commissions you miss out on the services that could otherwise save you more money, time, and help get you top dollar for your home.

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