7 Risks of For Sale By Owner

To begin with, I didn't write this article, but I agree with all the points she made. This is a great seller's market but there are things you should consider before going the FSBO route.


Published by Inman Connect February 02, 2021 It may be winter, but the temperature of many real estate markets around the country is 100 degrees, with a heat index that feels more like 120. Homes are selling as fast as you can fry an egg on the sidewalk on a ultra-hot day. The stakes are high, decisions are swift, and there is immense pressure on everyone in a transaction — which is why sellers need a real estate agent by their side

With the pandemic housing boom, multiple upon multiple offers, bidding wars and people selling their homes on their time and terms, working with an agent may be the furthest thing from a potential seller’s mind.

The mere utterance to a neighbor that they are thinking of selling may result in a flurry of “whisper down the lane” kind of activity that can appear to make selling on their own a dangerously easy process.

“Dangerously” and “easy” are two words that don’t exactly go hand in hand. Both carry risk that is typically unknown. Now more then ever, sellers need skilled agents by their side. Here are seven things sellers risk when they try to go it alone — and what agents can warn them about.

1. Availability and accessibility for showings

The old-school argument against selling your home yourself was that it would be a hit-and-miss experience if you didn’t have a way for agents to easily show your property based on their and the buyer’s schedule, not yours. No lockbox, no access, and let’s throw a dart with trying to coordinate schedules to haphazardly try another day. Not now. A listing that has some degree of salability — whether that’s due to price point, location, view, condition or some combination of those things — is likely to have more showing requests than there are hours in the day.

How do sellers plan on managing the onslaught of showing requests? Do they have a showing management system? Can they keep track of numerous agents blowing up their phones with calls and text scheduling times? Do they really know that the people calling them are truly agents and not someone with other motives at play?

With an overwhelming amount of showing requests, sellers may be inclined to just leave their front door unlocked and tell everyone to show up between certain times. Not such a good idea. There is an art to scheduling and managing showing appointments. A skilled listing agent knows how to manage this dance while being respectful of everyone involved.

When you handle appointments the right way, you can allow buyers to have their dedicated time to look at the home and thoughtfully consider if it’s right for them. When you handle them the wrong way, you can have people stepping all over each other and quickly getting turned off from the process.

What’s more, sellers need to think: Do you really want multiple buyers and agents discussing your home in front of each other? It’s possible they may all agree the home isn’t worth what you are asking.

2. Safety protocols

Speaking of showings, depending on what state, county or region within that state the property is located, there may be variations of some sort of stay-at-home order. Regardless of whether there is or isn’t a shelter-in-place situation, we are still in the middle of a pandemic.

As a seller, you have to ask yourself if having a free-for-all when it comes to showings is truly a wise idea. Can you manage those coming through your home when it comes to responsible interactions with scheduling? (Think: minimizing overlapping appointments, social distancing, wearing masks, people touching things, sanitizing surfaces, etc.)

If the home is in a cold-weather climate, having 10 people come look on Sunday afternoon and step into your toasty warm house may not be a good idea. Even if your state is looser on restrictions or has no restrictions at all, it doesn’t take much for several strangers to gather in one place for the potential of COVID-19 to spread.

Agents are educated and trained on implementing COVID-19 safety protocols. They serve as gatekeepers to the seller’s home to ensure safe and responsible showing activity and that those physically coming through the home are truly the decision makers versus an entourage of family and friends or nosy neighbors who are looking for something to do.