FSBO – A Recipe for Summertime Blues
Summer is a popular time for selling a home. It’s also a very good time for DIY projects, so it is not surprising that some sellers consider tackling their own sale. For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is tempting for an apparent reason – you don’t have to pay a Realtor to sell your home.
But the money you may save – and it is not always guaranteed you will save money – comes at a steep price. There are a lot of drawbacks to FSBO, challenges you should be aware of before you decide to move forward without the help of a professional real estate agent.
Selling for sale by owner can be challenging at any time of the year but especially so in the summer when you may be trying to enjoy your life. There are not many people who feel excited about needing to be home at 7 p.m at night waiting for a buyer to show up.
While the thought of saving a commission can be super tempting, be sure you understand the downsides of selling for sale by owner in the summertime! What you should really do is weigh the advantages and disadvantages of selling for sale by owner before making a rash decision.
Is saving some money really worth the expense and aggravation? Will you save as much as you thought? Could a real estate agent get you more money just because of the dramatic increase in traffic? These are all important questions you should be asking yourself when thinking about selling FSBO.
Summer is one of the more popular seasons for selling a home. Buyers have more time on their hands to shop, the days are long, and the kids are out of school. But the flip side of selling in summer is that the competition can often be fierce. With so many other homes on the market, it can be hard to make your home stand out.
One of the significant benefits of hiring a Realtor is that you get access to the skills and resources of a good marketer. An experienced Realtor knows how to pull in buyers no matter how intense the competition. Doing your own marketing, you are going to struggle to match even an inexperienced Realtor – which can be a problem when you are competing with so many other sellers.
Over the years I’ve often given advice to for sale by owners who have asked. In fact, there is a guide on how to successfully sell for sale by owner that is filled with a wealth of information. Use these for sale by owner selling tips to increase your odds of success.
Not long ago, I had an eventual client in Holliston Massachusetts. They were selling their home for sale by owner, and I ended up providing them quite a bit of guidance. Unfortunately for them, they missed the spring market which was absolutely crazy. By the time they put their home on the market traffic had died down considerably. In real estate timing is everything.
Without being able to get quality showings they were unable to find any success. The ended up listing the home with me, and it sold weeks later.
Showings at all Hours
As mentioned previously, you have to be ready to show your home whenever a buyer is interested. Usually, it is your agent who does the showings, but with FSBO you are the one that has to walk through your home and explain all the reasons why it is worth buying.
Unfortunately, showings during the summer are particularly challenging, because the sun is up late into the evening. If you are serious about selling, you are going to have to be prepared to show your home for the next few months typically anywhere from 8 am to 9 pm, day after day.
Sometimes the showing requests can come at the last minute totally spoiling your plans for the evening. This is a significant drawback of selling a home for sale by owner in the summer.
Bonus tip: Do not hang all over the buyers while they are trying to look at your home. Don’t try to be a salesman. Stay out of the buyer’s way but in earshot if they have questions.
You are not going to talk the buyer into purchasing your home if they have no interest. The buyer doesn’t need you to be pointing out every little detail in your home. They have two eyeballs just like you do.
Having to Host Open Houses
Without having regularly scheduled showings like you would get with a real estate agent, you may have to resort to hosting open houses. There are a few problems with holding an open house:
- The first is that you will need to give up hours of your day on a weekend when you would probably prefer to be doing something else.
- With an open house, you will have to deal with people in your home that don’t belong like your neighbors, the unqualified and potential thieves. While many real estate agents hold open houses, they do this not because it sells your home but to prospect for new business. Open houses are a great way for real estate agents to shake hands and meet new people. You, on the other hand, are not in the real estate business and have one goal in mind – selling your home!
Selling your home may take several months, which means you are probably not going to be able to take a vacation this summer. FSBO essentially means you have a second job for as long as it takes to sell your home, leaving little time for other activities.
You may not take vacations anyway, but if you do – or if you have children who will want to do things during the summer – it is worth considering whether the little savings you get from FSBO is worth missing possibly the entire summer.
What many people fail to realize is that the showings are not your only responsibility when selling for sale by owner.
Once your home goes under contract, you are also going to need to let the buyer and their home inspector into the home. If the buyer is getting a mortgage, there will also be a need to let the appraiser into the home for inspection as well.
You can also expect that the buyer will have various other visits as well whether it is to show other family members, let contractors in for improvements or just measure for drapes.
When selling a home, there are all types of events in which a real estate agent would normally be there for you.
While there are outliers that manage to sell their own home quickly and for a great price, in most cases FSBO does not yield the financial rewards that people expect. There are multiple reasons for the lack of savings.
An experienced Realtor is skilled at selling homes – at marketing, pricing, negotiating, networking, etc. You are unlikely to be as good at most of these things as a quality agent would be.
A skilled real estate agent will know how to price your home correctly, how to get the word out, how to attract the buyers that are liable to say yes, and how to negotiate for maximum profit. So while you may not pay a Realtor a commission, chances are you will also fail to sell the home as quickly, or for as good a price, as a Realtor would.
Pricing Your Home Too High
The #1 reason why for sale by owners don’t sell their homes is the wrong asking price. It ‘s okay to assume that your home is worth more than it is. You have an emotional attachment to the home, and you place a lot of value on it. A good Realtor will be willing to tell it to you straight, pricing your home competitively based on the current market.
Without the help of a Realtor, it ‘s hard to price your own home. With FSBO, you may be tempted to price your home high and see what happens. You assume that you can just change the price later if no one bites – and you can. Unfortunately, the damage will have already been done that ‘s hard to fix. So many sellers fail to realize that pricing a home wrong has negative consequences!
When a home is priced too high, it sits on the market for a while. Realtors and buyers notice a home that sits unsold. The longer the house remains unsold, the more buyers begin to assume that there is something wrong with it.
Once you notice it is not selling, you lower the price to something more reasonable, something in line with what other similar homes are selling for. But if buyers have decided that something is wrong with your home, they will not want to buy it if it costs the same as similar homes. They will only become interested once you drop the price even further.
Many times homes that are priced too high, that sit and that develop a stigma, sell for less than they would have if they had been priced correctly, to begin with. The wrong price is one of the top reasons why a home does not sell.
Summertime For Sale By Owner Selling Tips
Selling a home without a real estate agent can be a lot of hard work. You can, however, increase your odds of selling in an expeditious fashion by following some summertime home selling tips.
Here is a summary of how to sell your home in the summer:
- Clean up your home inside and out. One of the least expensive home improvements is making your property spic and span!
- Make sure your home has little to no clutter. You want the buyer to be able to see clearly what they can make of your home.
- Work on your landscaping. More than any other time of the year the summer is important to make sure your yard looks awesome. A lush green lawn does wonders.
- Make sure the interior of your home is cool and is not going to drive the buyer away. Using air conditioning and fans to make the showing experience a pleasant one.
- Provide information on schools if you live in a great school district. Lots of relocation moves happen in the summer and schools play a big role in the decision process.
- Get a qualified opinion on the right list price whether it is from an appraiser or top local real estate agent.
- Do not turn down showings. A missed showing is a lost opportunity.
- Make sure the buyer who eventually makes an offer does not have a home to sell.
- Verify by getting a pre-approval letter that the buyer is qualified to purchase your home.
FSBO is More Work Than You Probably Realize
Selling a home is hard work. Realtors often work 50 and 60 hours a week. They do a lot of legwork and networking, they take calls at all hours from potential buyers, and they navigate the complex regulatory requirements of real estate.
With FSBO, you do not necessarily become a Realtor, but you do take on a ton of work and put yourself in a position where you must be on call from morning to night.
You also have to learn while doing – teaching yourself the many skills that Realtors go to school for and learn under the tutelage of other, more experienced Realtors. It is a lot to take on.
Additional Helpful Home Selling Resources
- Summer curb appeal advice via Luke Skar
- What to know about selling a home in the summer via Kyle Hiscock.
- Making my property more appealing to buyers via Anita Clark.
Use these additional articles to ensure you make sound decisions when selling your home.
About the Author: The above Real Estate information on the the drawbacks of for sale by owner in the summer was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 30+ Years.
Are you thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.