The idea of saving money is so appealing to some home sellers that they’ll jump into an area where they likely have little experience, potentially putting themselves at risk for losing time, money, and a legal battle if the process goes awry. A good realtor is able to communicate their value to a potential client, helping the seller realize that listing a home as for sale by owner (FSBO) is not only time consuming, but can make them the target of scams and bring in a lower asking price than with a qualified realtor.

Piles Of Paperwork

For clients thinking selling a home is a quick listing with a few photos with good lighting, the 2015 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers introduces the idea of intimidating paperwork. The study shows that the number one challenge for FSBO users is understanding the paperwork necessary in selling property. A sales contract, property disclosures, occupancy agreements, and other land records are all required in the sale.

FSBO Properties Sell For Less

If saving money on realtor fees is the goal, FSBO users should take note of the drastically lower offers being made to home owners attempting to sell their own house. The NAR report mentioned above explains that in 2015, the median FSBO property sold for approximately 16% less than the median home listed with an agent.

The money lost is even greater if the FSBO seller sells the home to a friend or relative at 39% less than the median home sold through a realtor.


FSBO scams happen to buyers and sellers. For example, when a potential buyer hands over an earnest money check to a FSBO seller, there may not be a written contract in place, leaving the would-be buyer out a few thousand dollars if the seller changes his mind.

Common scams include fake paperwork, out-of-state buyer deposits (scammer sends too much in a bad check and then requests a refund), requesting personal information, or purchases made through a third-party fake attorney or fraudulent mortgage lender.

Complete Liability

Even if the seller isn’t purposefully trying to deceive a buyer, a seemingly small mistake can hurt you in court. For example, when a homeowner lists “hardwood floors” in the home, but the buyer finds that the floors are just a wood veneer could lead to some serious consequences. That language could potentially cost the seller, as the difference in product would change the value of the home.

Inspections Are Tricky

Knowing what to expect during a home inspection is crucial to understanding what you do and do not have to change as the seller. A realtor is educated on the inspection process, frequently deals with buyer demands, and can inform the seller on changes that must be made compared to those that can be left for the buyer.

Lack Of Marketing

An experienced realtor has a detailed, specific marketing plan for each listing in their portfolio. A FSBO seller relies strongly on a sign and word of mouth. The NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports that 42% of FSBO sellers depend on a yard sign, 32% relied on friends and family, and 15% used social media.

On Market Longer

Properties listed through FSBOs spend more time on the real estate market. Buyers know that the longer the house sits, the less a seller will likely accept to complete the sale. On average, 18% of FSBO listings were unable to sell within their chosen time period in 2015.

Partnering with a qualified, experienced realtor is the best way to sell your home in Austin, Texas. Remove the time, stress and paperwork from your shoulders and allow the team at Resident Realty Austin to market your home and bring in top dollar.