By Jim Smith
In a July 20, 2015, posting on Inman News' blog, Atlanta Realtor Cheryl Jensen gave ten reasons why homeowners fail when they try to sell their home without hiring a listing agent. A survey by the National Association of Realtors concluded that less than 10% of FSBOs actually sell.
Reason #1 is "Too many people to negotiate with." Not just the buyer, but also the buyer's agent, inspectors, appraisers and (if it's a short sale) with the seller's own lender.
Reason #2 is "Homeowners do not know how to prepare a home for sale." This goes beyond decluttering. Some agents, including from Golden Real Estate, provide a professional staging consultation.
Reason #3 is "Owners do not know how to screen potential buyers." Does the buyer have a lender letter? Is it a pre-qualification or a pre-approval? Is this buyer serious or just looking?
Reason #4 is "Owners fail to handle buyer inquiries." This includes requests for showings. You can buy your own lockbox, but is that "agent" licensed and bonded or is he a burglar casing your house? Handling showings alone is a big reason to hire an agent who has a showing service to screen requests and schedule showings. Agents can buy insurance that covers sellers against losses during showings or open houses.
Reason #5 is "Owners don't understand the concept of golden time." The first week that a home is on the market is the "golden" time, and you don't want to blow it by being unprepared or overpriced. The majority of owners who try for-sale-by-owner end up listing with an agent, but by then the golden time has passed. Your home is now a "stale" listing.
Reason #6 is "Owners fail to understand contract procedures." Contracts to buy and sell real estate are so complicated today that the layman needs a professional who won't be overwhelmed by all the different deadlines and terms.
Reason #7 is "Owners don't know how to handle inspection findings." Some sellers are in denial about issues identified during an inspection and their emotions interfere with their ability to negotiate these issues. An agent can coach the owner through the laundry list of demands without being overwhelmed and in turn talk the owner off his emotional cliff.
Reason #8 is "Owners incorrectly price their homes." There is definitely a sweet spot in pricing your home so that you get multiple offers and actually sell the house for above listing price. Owners tend to overvalue their home and end up getting no offer even after lowering the price.
Reason #9 is "FSBO homes lack exposure." Isn't that the truth? You need to expose your home to the widest possible audience to get those multiple offers -- or any offers at all! Even with the FSBO websites, you can't come close to getting the exposure a licensed agent can get for your house.
Reason #10 is "FSBOs fail in the closing process." With all the deadlines to remember and details to handle, contracts can stall or fall if details are not handled. Agents deal with these issues day in and day out. They can help make that contract close.