Choose the best way to sell your home at the best price


As the housing market strengthens, consumer confidence in real estate increases. Along with a stronger home sale market comes the increase of for-sale-by-owners (FSBO). The obvious upside to selling a home on your own is to increase your net. And a study conducted in 2009 may support your FSBO yearnings.

Research conducted by Hendel, Nevo, and Ortalo-Magné (2009; The Relative Performance of Real Estate Marketing Platforms: MLS versus; American Economic Review; 99:1878-98) found that homes that sold on a FSBO website sold for as much as homes that were listed in the MLS. However, homes that sold on the MLS did so with significantly fewer days on market. The authors also found that a significantly higher proportion of home buyers bought homes listed on the MLS. The research concluded that “FSBO attracts a particular type of seller…” A FSBO seller is very patient to wait for someone to pay for their higher priced home.

The research conclusion about sale price is contrary to annual surveys reported by the National Association of Realtors. For example, the National Association of Realtor’s 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reported that the average home sale price for a FSBO was $185,000, while the average home sale price for an agent assisted home sale was $240,000. Of course, the 2009 research indicated that homes that did not sell on the FSBO website were promptly sold on the MLS. Besides being limited to a specific market, excluding “failed” FSBO sales from their data set could have skewed results and could explain 2009 study’s conclusion about sale prices.

Going FSBO sounds simple; but going it alone is not for everyone. Selling a home is much more than putting a sign in the yard – especially if you are demanding top dollar. Take your efforts up a notch to increase the probability of realizing your sales goal. Among the many tasks that are essential for a successful home sale, consider a basic marketing plan. Attract more buyers with professional high quality photos. Prepare for buyers to visit your home by decluttering and making minor repairs. You should also have a contract ready in case there is no buyer agent. Even though you are selling FSBO, you still have to comply with federal, state, and local disclosure laws. Be prepared for the details of the transaction, which include: negotiating home inspection repairs; providing sale comps to appraiser; dealing with the buyer’s lender and title company.

If going FSBO is intimidating, consider hiring a real estate agent that offers à-la-carte services. The agent can assist you in many areas of your sale, only charging you for the pieces you need. You can even pay a flat fee for a MLS placement of your sale.

If you’re like many FSBO’s, you’ll realize the value of a Realtor. Real estate agents are housing and marketing experts that can assist you in setting a realistic sale price. Besides freeing up your time, experienced agents can facilitate offers and are expert negotiators. They know of latest home sale trends and are aware of any new legislation that can affect your sale.

You may find selling FSBO attractive. But selling a home is in the details that are executed throughout the transaction. The research supports the notion that hiring a Realtor can provide a more successful and satisfying home sale than doing it FSBO.

Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX All Pro in Rockville, MD. You can access more information at



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