Taking on the task of selling your own home can be a tempting alternative to hiring a real estate agent to sell your home. After all, listing agents charge a commission for their work and that is deducted from your profits. So why not try to save money by selling your home yourself? Great question...

Here’s why: There are some major risks with going the "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO) route, from receiving a lowball offers to getting tangled up in a legal mess. Before you decide on the DIY path, here are some of the things you might encounter when you attempt to sell your own home.

Problem #1: Your listing won’t be seen by many buyers
One key thing a real estate agent will do for you is create an eye-catching flyers, postcards and social media posts for your home, with attractive, professional photos and a winning description that will draw in buyers (playing up those hardwood floors, granite countertops and backyard large enough to fit a pool). Sure, you can probably throw together your own ad, and your camera phone pictures might be okay, but there’s one thing you absolutely cannot do if you go FSBO: list your home for sale in the multiple listing service (MLS).

Real estate agents pay (a lot) to be able to put their listings in the MLS, which is then distributed far and wide to all of the agents in the Greater Tampa Bay Area, including third-party sites such as realtor.com®. That way you know your home can be seen by thousands of potential buyers and their agents. With FSBO, however, your home won’t go on the MLS; instead, it’ll go on sites that cater to FSBO listings only, which get far less traffic.

There are over 21,000 real estate agents in the Greater Tampa Bay Area who have access to the MLS and if your home matches what one of their buyers is looking for it will probably turn into a showing, and the more showings you have, the more offers you'll get!

You stick a "For Sale By Owner" sign in your front yard, and your audience will be random people driving or walking by - who may or may not even be looking to buy a home anytime soon. If someone does call your number, you have to be available to answer the call, their questions, and arrange a showing yourself. Who are they? Are they even pre-qualified to purchase your home? There are a lot of unknowns that real estate agents are trained to deal with right up front.

Problem #2 Your home could sell for a much lower price
There are couple of different scenarios that could come into play here:

Overpriced homes don't sell. Pricing a home can be far more challenging and difficult than most homeowners assume. The majority of sellers price their home based on their emotions, or what they "hope" it will sell for in some lofty best-case scenario. It's been 3 months, now 4, now 6. As such, homes with bloated prices tend to sit—and sit—on the market. Even if you eventually lower the price, buyers are likely to wonder at that point if there’s something wrong with your house since it’s sat on the market so long. You may get an occassional call, but buyers know when a place is overpriced.

But those buyers who are looking for a bargain, they are very excited to see that "For Sale By Owner" sign. Be prepared for some lowball offers. They know you are are "saving money" by not hiring a real estate agent, and they expect all of those savings to be passed on to them.

A real estate agent, by contrast, will provide an accurate home value based on a solid market analysis and comparative sales, plus serve as a buffer between you and buyers to facilitate successful negotiations and a mutually-beneficial resolution that both parties can live with. This, in turn, means you can still earn top dollar for your home—which means your agent will likely earn every penny they are paid.

Problem #3 You could run into legal trouble
From filling out property and community disclosures, the contract for the sale of residential property and how to handle escrow deposits, selling a home is fraught with legal pitfalls that only a real estate agent will know. As such, when you choose the FSBO route, you could do something that breaks the law and not even know it.

Disclosure requirements vary by state, but might include information on lead-based paint, nearby environmental hazards, flood insurance requirements, or community fees and assessments. If you know of such info but don't disclose it, you could be committing a prosecutable offense and have one highly irate buyer on your hands to boot.

Problem #4 You might end up with a buyer who can't buy after all
Even if your FSBO gets an acceptable offer, and you've managed your way through the disclosures, contracts and addenda... you’re not out of the woods quite yet. For one, buyers commonly fall through or back out for all sorts of reasons. For instance, maybe they were pre-qualified by some fly by night lender online, instead of pre-approved through a reputible local lender, you might inadvertently choose a buyer who can’t actually get a loan commitment, which means you’ll have to start back at square one, and find another buyer.

A real estate agent will be your ally in confirming a buyer is pre-approved for the correct loan amount, and then will ensure there is an airtight contract in place so the entire process will proceed smoothly.

Due to the many risks of selling a home "For Sale By Owner", many sellers eventually realize that they can’t afford to not hire a real estate agent. So make sure to weigh the FSBO trade-offs against your money, time, and peace of mind.

Have you considered selling your home "For Sale By Owner", but decided to use an AMAZING agent to sell your home instead??? Fill out the form below and I will get with you ASAP to schedule an appointment to meet with you and tour your home! * Please be sure to let me know what is the best way to contact you (do you prefer email? or text? or a good old-fashioned phone call? - either way is fine by me)

Tabi Deas
Tabi Deas
4127 W Cypress St Tampa FL 33607