When Should You Choose for Sale By Owner?

When selling a home most people rely on the expertise and assistance of a real estate agent, but there are many occasions when a for sale by owner option is worthy of consideration. When you choose to sell your home without the help of a real estate agent, there are both advantages and disadvantages.


A real estate agent generally charges a 5 to 8% commission on the sale of the property. That means on a $100,000 home, up to $8,000 of the sale price will go as a fee to the agent helping you sell the property. If your home has lost value because of economic issues, or if you have a low amount of equity in the home compared to the mortgage you have to pay off, this commission may force you to either overprice the home and reduce the chance of a sale or lose money on the sale altogether.

By selling the home yourself, you can save on the costs of the commission. You can either pocket the savings or reduce the price if you are under pressure to sell quickly.


Not only do you lose the expert real estate experience of an agent when you sell on your own, but you lose the power and reach of the agency for which your agent works. This means that the exposure your home would receive on the MLS, the internet and in local advertising done by the real estate agency will be missing. In order to overcome this disadvantage, you will need to spend more of your own time and money advertising and marketing your home.

For Sale by Owner Selling Tips

1. Small repairs go a long way. Before listing your home for sale, spend some time and effort sprucing up the place. Pull weeds, trim bushes, and mow the lawn. Wash the windows, make small repairs, and touch up paint. You do not need to spend a lot of money in order to make a difference in the perceived value of the home. In fact, small cosmetic repairs often pay off in higher sales than making one large repair.

2. Become a sales person yourself. Do all the things your agent would have done: create an attractive flyer and make copies that people can pick up when they drive by. Place advertisements on the internet and in your local paper. Be available to show the home at the convenience of the prospective buyer.

3. Create a selling atmosphere in the home. Your home should look lived in; because that helps prospective buyers envision it as a home and not a house. It should be free from clutter. Buy storage bins to store toys, or box up some of your extra knick knacks. Before showing the house, you can enhance the atmosphere by turning on all the lights and opening the drapes. Make sure you haven't overlooked the entryway of your home, as both the interior and exterior of the entrance has the opportunity to make a great first impression on your prospective buyers.

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