Realtor says: don't sell your home yourself

home for sale signSelling a home in today's market is a challenge, but going it alone as a "For Sale By Owner", adds a whole new set of issues to the equation. I began looking into the FSBO market after a good friend asked my opinion on several online sites that offer service to for sale by owners. After looking closer at many online solutions, I decided that I couldn't give valid input without getting a Realtor's take on the FSBO market.

While the Internet is busy leveling the playing field in many industries, selling your own home isn't quite as easy as selling your old comic books on eBay. There are disadvantages and risks to going it on your own. In order to find out about the hazards and issues associated with selling your own home I spoke with a Kari Nisler Hafeli of Marcie & Associates Realty, Inc. in Ohio.

The first thing Kari stressed was that selling homes is her full time job, and that having a professional with years of experience and knowledge is a big plus. Even more important is the exposure that you gain from using the Multiple Listing Service, a tool that agents use to list and find homes. When you use a Realtor your home is listed on the MLS for all to see. Although it's possible to contract to have your FSBO home appear in the MLS, it does cost money.

Kari also noted several areas where homeowners tend to fall into traps when selling their own home specifically relating to money. First of all most homeowners can't accurately value their own homes, and a Realtor can help them figure out a price realistically and objectively. Another area that a Realtor can help with is avoiding unqualified buyers. She shared a recent example of an individual who was selling his own house and wasted time and money when 2 full price offers fell through as the prospective buyers hadn't been pre-approved. As an agent, she requires that potential buyers be pre-approved in order to save everyone time and money.

She also stressed to me that when you begin selling your own home you are dealing with real law. Even if you download a packet of forms from the Internet you may not fill them out correctly which can leave you vulnerable in the event that something goes wrong. If you find yourself in need of assistance with any of the legal documents, you'll need to hire a lawyer, further digging into the savings associated with selling your own home.

Thanks to the insight from my local Realtor it is abundantly clear that selling your own home isn't as simple as post, click, Profit! Selling your own home will require you to take a hard look at what your home and your time are worth, if you can't do that then getting a Realtor may be your best bet.

Many of the accounts of FSBO that I have found online don't only involve a weekend open house but mid-day showings and late night phone calls for information. While you may feel that these warnings are simply from an agent looking to protect her commission, these potential pitfalls are worth taking to heart. If you're still prepared to tackle selling your own home then be sure to check out WalletPop's review of the best FSBO sites online.


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