6 Reasons NOT To Sell Your House By Owner (FSBO)

Yes, you can sell a house without a Realtor®, but that doesn’t mean you should. Selling a house is a complex transaction with major financial impacts for home sellers. Homeowners selling a home without a Realtor® can make serious mistakes negatively affecting how much the sale nets. I can tell you as a real estate … Continued

Yes, you can sell a house without a Realtor®, but that doesn’t mean you should. Selling a house is a complex transaction with major financial impacts for home sellers. Homeowners selling a home without a Realtor® can make serious mistakes negatively affecting how much the sale nets. I can tell you as a real estate agent these mistakes can cost you more than what you can save by not paying real estate commission fees. Let’s take a look at the six reasons why selling a home without a Realtor® is a bad idea.

1. Lower Sale Price

Consensus data indicates FSBO home sellers sell for less compared to homes sold with a real estate agent. I will ignore the specifics of this data because I can not verify its accuracy. Instead, I would prefer to focus on what I have seen as an active real estate agent. I have been hired by many wanna-be FSBO sellers who gave up on the process, and I have heard their stories. Patterns have presented themselves.

1.  Selling Without A Realtor® Invites Low Offers

Buyers offer FSBO sellers lower prices because they know the seller is not paying a real estate agent. This starts the negotiations at a lower price than what is more typical for homes being sold with a real estate agent.

2.  Selling A Home Without A Realtor® Minimizes Your Exposure

FSBOs do not have the resources to properly expose the home to the entire active buyer audience. FSBOs are not added to an MLS database. Therefore, the property is not included in the data feed to many real estate websites. Most notably, this includes websites owned by local real estate brokerages and real estate agents. This is who is actively working with local, active buyers. This means many active buyers will remain unaware your home is for sale. So, how does this negatively affect your home sale price?

Leaving out active buyers costs you money. Your goal is to find the most perfect match for your home. And the perfect match is the buyer who wants it the most, for it is he or she who will pay the most. However, by leaving out so many potential buyers there is a lesser chance you ever find the most interested buyer who would pay the most for the home.

3.  Price Corrections Can Cost You

FSBO sellers commonly overprice their homes. Then, they commonly overreact and make too large of price reductions. This is done out of fear repeated price drops will encourage low offers.

In truth, pricing a home and price adjustments are a serious part of home selling strategy especially when one is trying to sell a home its maximum price. The typical FSBO home seller just does not have access to the comparable sold and active for sale home data compared to a real estate agent.

2. Slower Sale Process

Selling a home without a Realtor takes a lot of time and the homes sell more slowly compared to those where the seller has hired a Realtor

Again, I’ll refrain from rambling off unverified statistics. I do this because I know the data out there is incorrect. I can tell you with confidence FSBO homes take longer to sell. The reasons for this are below.

1. Reduced Online Exposure

Again, without placing your home in the MLS it will not be distributed to the entirety of the real estate websites active homebuyers use. Therefore, you are only ever in front of a fraction of the buyers. Due to this fact, it will take longer to find the buyers most interested in your home.

2. Drawn Out Negotiations

Home sale negotiations should move quickly and get finer or more granular with each volley. Inexperienced parties are more likely to let negotiations run into stalmates or spend too much time on less important items.

3. Avoid A Mulligan By Accepting An Offer With Low Probability Of Closing

At the time you accept a buyer’s offer, but for unforeseen tragic events (i.e., buyer loses job, home is destroyed, etc.) a real estate agent can provide a reasonably accurate probability the offer will close. Inexperienced FSBO home sellers are more likely to accept any offer which a real estate would describe as risky. Worse, as a FSBO seller you could accept an offer which is actually impossible to close. This will cost you weeks of time chasing something that will never be. Once the terminal defect is discovered you will need to start all over.

4. Avoid Delays By Knowing What To Do Next

The day my buyer or seller has an accepted offer there is an entire string of events I put into action. This is to keep the transaction moving forward. This is due to my expertise as an experienced real estate agent. FSBO sellers on the other hand could let their deal stall. There are many activities which must be completed in these complex transactions. Failing to know what to do next can cause you to lose days or weeks of time.

3. Understanding Cause And Effect

Real estate agents approach a home sale proactively. This means we think a few steps ahead. Basically, what are the consequences or benefits of a decision today and how does that affect the seller’s plans? Less experienced FSBOs are less likely to make proactive decisions to protect their future plans. They often fail to consider the future effect of a current decision.

4. Real Estate Agents Know The Rules

There are a tremendous amount of state and federal laws and regulations regarding home sales and lending. Real estates agents know these rules and regulations. Due to this, real estate agents can keep parties from making unallowed agreements about terms.

An example would be a seller agreeing to provide a buyer using an insured conventional loan a 4% closing cost concession or credit. Guess what? Once the buyer turns submits the purchase agreement to his or her lender it will get denied. That is because the maximum closing cost concession allowed on an insured conventional loan is 3%. Now, you and the buyer are renegotiating the purchase.

Real estate agents know the example I provided here as well as the hundreds of other rules, regulations, and laws which affect home sale.

5. Addressing Problems

When problems occur, homebuyers and sellers are terrible at resolving the issue. Both sides quickly light a short fuse, become over-the-top emotional, and think the sky is falling. This is often due to the fact neither side really knows how to solve the problem.

Real estate agents are remarkably talented at making adjustments to deals because its actually quite a common occurrence. Agents are better suited to help everyone understand the issue, come up with a resolution, and get all parties to buy-in to the solution.

6. Taking The Time To Do It All

When selling without a Realtor®, it’s all on you to get it all done. All of it. The prepping, the marketing, the showings, the offer, keeping the offer alive. Ask yourself carefully do you really have the time to be 100% involved in every aspect and every little decision of the deal.


Yes, you can sell a house without a Realtor®. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

FSBO sellers do not have access to the resources or the expertise a real estate agent has. A home sale is a complex transaction with reliance on multiple third parties. Agents put in an enormous effort to keep everything moving towards the closing table. Inexperienced FSBO sellers frequently get in the way of the deal and make a misstep costing them money or even causes the deal to be terminated.

Real estate agents are not perfect. But, they wake up every day to build their experience at helping people buy and sell homes. This is no different than the expertise you have in your profession. Selling a home yourself in order to save money on a real estate commission is not worth it. Alternatively, contact

Quadwalls Connected Agents offer low real estate commission fees with their full-feature home selling services. Our goal is to sell your home quickly at the highest price and with as little inconvenience to you as possible. Contact us to learn more about our full-feature home selling services.

FAQ When You Sell A House By Owner

Why Is FSBO A Bad Idea?

FSBO sellers do not have access to the resources, and they do not possess suitable real estate transaction experience. A home is an incredibly valuable asset. The results of a home sale have a huge impact on many people’s financial well-being. Additionally, home sales are complex transactions. Real estate commission fees are an expense, but what you save by not paying those homes you can be easily lost by misunderstanding a home sale you try to do yourself.

What Is The Most Common Reason For A Property Not To Be Sold?

The most common reason a property is not sold is because it is overpriced. But there is more to the story.

Unsuccessful FSBOs occur due to a cascading failure. A cascading failure is a series of events one after the other which add to the momentum and increase the likelihood a major negative event will occur. Here is a far too common cascading failure

FSBO Overprices Home >> FSBO Advertises Home To A Small Buyer Audience >> FSBO Poorly Handles What Few Leads Come In >> Result: The home does not sell.

Do Realtors Avoid For Sale By Owner Homes?

I really think this is based on each Realtor’s personal experience. Some agents will not be excited to work with a FSBO seller for several reasons despite the fact their buyer may want to purchase the home. Reasons include:

  • Abrasive, demanding seller
  • Seller’s inexperience is jeopardizing the deal
  • Seller intentionally or unintentionally makes demands which are either unethical or fraudulent
  • Seller leans on real estate agent, so the agent is doing double the work for the same or reduced pay. This could also inadvertently create an agency relationship between the seller and the buyer’s real estate agent.

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