For sale by owner

Is going FSBO a good idea?

Challenges faced by FSBO sellers

Thinking of listing your home For Sale by Owner (FSBO)? It sounds like a great idea – and for some families with the right skills, it is. For the rest of us, though, FSBO may not be the way to go. When you hire a real estate agent, they'll handle a lot of details, freeing up your time. From listing your home in the MLS to marketing it to other agents, your transaction will be handled for you. Before you decide to go FSBO, consider these common pitfalls and make an informed decision:

Not familiar with the market: Lack of familiarity with the market can impact the FSBO seller in several ways, and can end up costing lots of extra time and money. From accidently overpricing a home (so no one comes to see it) to underpricing (so it sells quickly, but at a greatly reduced price), a lack of familiarity with local market trends can cost a FSBO seller a lot of extra cash in the long run.

More time and money needed to market: When you work with a real estate agent, you have someone who will handle your marketing. Marketing your home is more than just putting an ad in the paper. You'll need to take photos, write your listing, know what information and relevant details to include and possibly even create a website for your home. You'll spend some extra time and money just getting your home out there for potential buyers to find.

Lack of objectivity in listing and negotiating: you may adore your grandmas avocado appliances and 1970s wallpaper – but many buyers will not. When you list your own home for sale, you may overlook details that don't matter to you – but that will scare off potential buyers. By having a real estate agent list your home, you get the benefit of an objective eye when it comes to listing and staging your home.

Negotiating may be tough, too. You may end up dealing with a tough customer – and you won't have an agent to intervene. If your negotiation and sales skills are up to the job, you'll be ok, but if sales isn't your thing, consider a Realtor.

MLS is essential: Is your home included in the property search MLS? It needs to be, or it will be overlooked by most buyers and publications.