Stephanie's Blog


"Try to sell on my own to save on commission"

I owe too much.

I need enough to put down on my next house.

What a normal strategy to want to take when needing to sell a home.  If I weren't in real estate I'd likely be thinking the same thing. Ever hear of "knowing enough to know you don't know enough?" That's what hit me during my first year of selling real estate 8 years ago. It was then I realized the complications and lack of resources one faces when "trying to sell on my own to save on commission."

  • Can you be available to show your home anytime a buyer requests it?
  • Can you prequalify a buyer before he or she sucks up so much of your time while you hang on with hope that they'll eventually make an offer?
  • Most buyers are shopping online now and where is your home if it's not on as many websites as possible?
  • Most buyers work with Realtors who mostly shop the MLS market because they are sure to work with a professional on the other end who adheres to a strict code of ethics.\

Just to name a few thoughts that run through my mind. 

But I hear this all the time and can't say I don't blame them for trying.  In the end, to achieve their goals most for sale by owners end up hiring an expert who gets the job done.  The time, resources for marketing and support offered by a firm only begin to tap into the package a seller gets when enlisting a professional to sell their home. 

I recently put under contract a for sale by owner home that became an absolute nightmare. Seller overpriced because they over-remodelled and didn't put money into the home in places that support it's value (i.e.- failed septic, contaminated ancient dug well). These sellers were such do-it-yourselfers that the mickey mouse plumbing, roofing and just about every repair project they did was enough to scare the inspectors. Buyer backs out and I easily sell a listed home that is appropriately priced and that has been vetted out by a knowledgable Realtor for any potential red flags prior to listing it.

Not to say it can't be done! It can... but who will want to pay for an overpriced home just because you owe too much in the first place? The market has not kept up with the prices we all saw 4-5 years ago.

This morning I visited with a for sale by owner. The intention was that I had the listing besides them and needed to know what their home offered in the event my buyer wanted to look at theirs as well. Both homes have unique features so it's beneficial for me to have access to as many available selling properties as possible. What I discovered is, if a buyer wishes to offer on the for sale by owner home, there is a lot of work to be done to make it happen, if it can even happen at all.

Be safe, check with an agent if you begin to feel you are in over your head. Some agents specialize in working with financially distressed sellers so you shouldn't have to worry about "selling on my own to save on paying the commission." I've been down this road with several sellers this past year and it's not fun but it's a job that has to be done if it's in my hands, and I will do it respectfully.

Comment balloon 2 commentsStephanie Jacques • November 20 2009 10:29AM


I love it.  We hear this stuff all the time, and then we hear the back end horror stories.

Posted by Alexandria Virginia, Real Estate Editor (Featuring Susan Craft, CRS, REALTOR® - McEnearney Associates) almost 11 years ago

My wife and I will approach FSBO all the time; mostly they have an idea of big savings.  Our approach is to find out the real reason they are selling, their motivation and how much they want to NET and the closing.  However in today's local market's FSBO are not selling prices are down by over 50% in our area.  We seem to find that the sellers are underwater and don't know there options, selling short, deed-in-lieu, or foreclose...

 Thanks for the post and good luck, 

Posted by Richard & Janet OBrian, Listing Specialist Palmdale, Lancaster CA (Home Based Realty) almost 11 years ago

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