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The FSBO Experience

By Chris Piraino

As an alternative to having a real estate agent, For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) websites have recently become a popular option for people looking to save that extra money that comes with not having to pay an agent. A downside of this is, of course, not having an experienced real estate agent to handle any negotiations, contract writing, and other such business for you. Compiled here are two FSBO experiences from sellers, good and bad.

"We sold our house in Maryland FSBO in late spring/early summer. We bought a couple For Sale and Open House signs from Home Depot, put them at the main intersections in our neighborhood. We had 2 open houses and had 3 or 4 offers within 10 days. We were selling a nice starter home in a desirable area where there aren't many starter homes at all. I think that helped us a lot. We drew up a simple contract and had a lawyer look it over. The woman that bought our house didn't use a realtor either and had her title company work with our lawyer and arrange all the inspections, etc. It was remarkably easier than I thought it would be."

- Tuscon, AZ

"Going into this process, we knew that we didn't have the "reach" that brokers have to market apartments, but we figured we didn't need to reach everyone who was looking for an apartment: We just needed one buyer who saw that we had a great studio in an amazing location. What we didn't count on was having our neighbors rejected by the board and other offers that didn't ever solidify. Then, in the middle of July, a similar apartment in our building was listed at $20,000 more than ours and flew off the market in two weeks. That was when it was clear that something had to change. We were convinced that it wasn't that our apartment was lacking or the price was too high. Feeling like we were in limbo, my husband and I took our apartment off the market in August to re-evaluate and consider our options. The broker factor seemed like the only thing left."

- Kathy

These two testimonials show how differently things can go when doing FSBO, from finding a buyer extremely quickly, to having trouble even getting an offer. An important factor to remember when doing FSBO is that many brokers will not be interested in your FSBO home for the simple reason that they will end up doing all of the work for the buyer and for you because you do not have your own agent. Like the first testimonial, the easiest way is for a FSBO seller to find a buyer without an agent of their own and work with lawyers and title companies. A broker has an enormous range of contacts in order to sell your house, and that path should not be discounted, especially if you need to sell quickly or do not have experience in negotiation and the real estate business.

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