Should You Sell Your House Yourself? FSBO?


Is a ‘For Sale By Owner’ the Right Approach?

Photo of house in disrepair

Would you know how to sell your own house?

Today’s housing market is very tricky, including right here in Hawaii. There are lots of mixed signals out there. Is it going up with a shrinking inventory? Or is it going to stay flat or even go back down? It’s hard say. Undoubtedly the winner of the 2012 Presidential Election will have some influence on that answer.

However, no matter what the economy and housing market are doing, there will always be people who want or need to sell their house and wonder what the best way is of doing so. Some will go the traditional route with a licensed realtor while others will consider a FSBO (for sale by owner). The decision is not an easy one.

Why Home Sellers Choose a FSBO

Let’s first look at why a home seller might choose to sell their house on their own. The primary reason we find is that people want to save 6% in agent commissions. In Hawaii, where the median sale price of single family homes hovers around $600,000 and was recently project to hit upwards of a million dollars, the fees can easily break $36,000 and even be well above that amount. That’s over half a year’s salary for many people!

Now this is not say that real estate agents don’t earn their fees and provide great value — there are plenty of downright fantastic agents out there. You’ll never hear me say otherwise. If you need a referral or two, just let me know and I’ll hook you up. However, every little bit counts, times are hard for many families, and it’s not inconceivable to understand if someone wants or even needs to save that money. If you have little equity in your house, you may not have a choice.

Another reason people may choose a for sale by owner approach is to control the publicity of their home sale. Let’s face it — not everyone wants the general public to know their house is for sale. Now this may initially seem counterintuitive — after all, the more people that know of your house for sale, the wider your potential buyer pool. But if you’re in a potential foreclosure or otherwise troubling situation, you may want to keep your home sale private from your neighbors until it’s time to move.

Last, but certainly not least, not every home seller wants open houses or an endless march of strangers, many not even qualified to purchase, walking through their front door. Homeowners choosing a FSBO want more control over who comes into their house. I remember visiting a FSBO in Kaimuki recently and the owner stated this very concern. Now if you work with an agent they will certainly abide by your wishes, but restricting them in this manner does hinder their abilities as marketers to help you.

Wrap Up – Choose Your Best Option

Of course, you’ll find other reasons for the FSBO approach. But, of course, homeowners who want to sell their house themselves should also understand the responsibilities of this method, such as understanding legal documents and responsibilities, basics of effecting marketing and knowing how to reach their target buying audience. Not everyone has these skills or abilities. In fact, most don’t.

There are times and places where your best option is to work with a qualified real estate agent — again, ask me for a referral.

There are times when you may want to try to sell your house yourself.

And there are times when you should talk to actual buyers — like us (click here) — who can work with you in a variety of ways to both save you thousands in fees and the time and effort of a long sale. We can buy your house in Hawaii quickly in a variety of situations. Talk to us and we’ll do our best to help.

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