I’m a do-it-yourself type of person. Through much of my career I have been more inclined to learn to do something, rather than hire someone to do the job for me. No formal studying, just read a lot of books, asked a lot of questions, and tested my skills through trial and error. But I know my limitations, where my knowledge stops and the true expert needs to take over. Knowing your limitations is key in doing-it-yourself.
There are a lot of people out there like me. Those who would rather take on a fresh learning curve and give it go, instead of handing the task off to someone else. There’s a challenge and big reward in the idea that I can figure this out myself.
With that said, I fully understand why someone would want to sell their own home as a “For Sale By Owner” or “FSBO”. It doesn’t initially appear to be that difficult, there are plenty of “For Sales by Owner” books to read, and not paying a broker’s commission is a huge incentive for tackling the learning curve. But this is an area where it is critical to know your limitations.
As a licensed real estate agent, I don’t mess around with real estate deals, trying different things and seeing if I can figure it out on my own. I’m dealing with the largest purchase most people ever make in their lives. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line, and there is always a possibility things can go wrong or become complicated. The learning curve is steep and at times complex.
Every real estate office has a broker whose job is to watch and review all of the agent’s transactions. They are the support system – the expert – for the agents in every transaction. The broker is there for good reason. There are numerous opportunities for things to go awry, especially considering all of the laws and regulations that affect the transaction. Real estate agents are required to carry errors and omissions insurance to cover problems that arise when a transaction goes sideways.
Aside from the potential legal ramifications, the “For Sale by Owner” needs to understand that the agent who comes in with a buyer is not necessarily on their side. A buyer’s agent has a duty to get the best deal possible for their client. They are not there to help the inexperienced seller. Without the assistance of a knowledgeable real estate agent, the homeowner selling their own property can be at a great disadvantage and can easily lose thousands of dollars making uninformed decisions.
There are plenty of things you can “do it yourself”, but selling your own home shouldn’t be one of them. In fact, this process can be quite difficult. Statistics show that 80% of all properties listed initially as “For Sale By Owner”, are ultimately sold by a licensed real estate agent. My advice in selling your own home is to keep expanding your knowledge and talents with that do-it-yourself spirit – just don’t do it with your most expensive asset.