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  • Nancy Zambell

Top 7 Mistakes of FSBO’s (for sale by owners)

Like the rest of the country, the real estate industry in Cumberland County is plagued by a lack of home inventory. Right now, there are 295 homes for sale in our county. In ‘normal’ times, that number would be north of 1,000.


And while we are no longer in the crazy sellers’ market of a couple of years ago—where every home had 10 or more offers at the same time—it’s still somewhat of a sellers’ market. However, the lack of inventory as well as high interest rates (at least higher than the last few years) have softened the market, leading to price decreases in some cases, and a real slowdown in price increases.


Since inventory is low, many sellers believe they can easily sell their homes without the use of a Realtor, thereby saving on real estate commissions. However, that usually does not happen. Statistics (according to Collateral Analytics) show that FSBO’s generally receive 30% less for their homes than when they sell via a Realtor. There are several reasons why that occurs:


1. While many FSBOs start their homes priced higher than the comparable sales in their

area would support, they end up reducing the price several times. And by the time they

sell, they are underpriced.


2. Some 46% of FSBO owners don’t market their homes, other than sticking a sign in the

yard. Whereas, if you use a Realtor, your home will be marketed not only to people who

drive by, but on the local MLS, Zillow, Realtor.com, and scores of other real estate

marketing platforms, exposing your home to thousands more buyers than you can

potentially reach on your own.

Additionally, there are several other challenges with listing your home for sale by owner,

including:


3. Pricing. Many FSBO’s will look at one of the large real estate marketing sites to

determine their asking price. But many of those sites are not accurate, mostly because

they don’t really know your local area. A Realtor will assist you with evaluating not only

homes currently listed but those that have recently sold, to help you determine a

reasonable selling price.


4. Liability. In our litigious society, even innocent mistakes can result in a lawsuit. For

example, a seller listing his floors as ‘wood’ on a flyer, when they are actually ‘laminate’.

You may not be aware, but a seller in Tennessee is required to present potential buyers

with a Property Disclosure Document, describing the condition of your property and

items included for sale. When you list your property with a Realtor, he or she will assist

you with all the required legal documents that you and your buyers must sign. A FSBO is

often not aware of these documents that may help to protect him from litigation.


5. Screening buyers. Smart Realtors will send their buyers to a bank or mortgage company to be pre-qualified prior to showing them properties. That ensures that neither are wasting their time looking at properties that are not within the buyers’ price range. And it also screens out folks that may not have the financial wherewithal or credit rating to purchase a home at the present time.


6. Handling inspections. Your Realtor can help guide you through the inspection process,

informing you of the items that the inspector generally inspects, what you will most

likely be responsible to correct, and helping you avoid costly repairs that you may not

need to do to complete the sale.


7. Potential for scams. The real estate market is rife with scams: criminals marketing homes they don’t own, tricking people into giving them bank information they shouldn’t have, and even people entering your home with plans to do you harm.


In the end, statistics say that only 11% of FSBO’s actually do sell their home themselves. So, when you are considering selling your home, please consider using a Realtor to save you time and money.

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