The risks of selling your Atlanta home yourself3/9/2017
More than 89% of those selling a home in Atlanta list with a real estate agent, but some individuals choose to go it alone. Selling a home "FSBO" (for sale by owner), while entirely possible, does come with a list of hurdles and some significant risks. These sellers are motivated to save the cost of the agent's commission. In many cases, however, selling without assistance can result in a lower closing price. In fact, according to national statistics the typical FSBO home sold for $185,000 compared to $240,000 for agent-assisted home sales.
So just what are the potential downfalls of selling your home by yourself?
Preparing/Repairing Home for Sale: Very few homes are market-ready right off the bat. The rule of thumb is that sellers should spend up to 1% of the purchase price readying it for market. Realtors know buyer "hot buttons" and where money should--and should not--be spent. Some also consult with top stagers to help maximize buyer appeal even more.
Setting the Wrong Price - In the world of real estate, setting a good asking price is absolutely critical. Most FSBO sellers tend to overprice, which will cause the home to stay on the market longer, eventually resulting in significant price reductions to get the home sold. Some homeowners underprice. Their home does sell, but they'll never know how much they could have gotten with an agent representing them, bringing in multiple offers and helping negotiate through them to get the best scenario.
Lack of Negotiating Experience - One of the most important services real estate agents provide is the negotiation of a sale. Also, working without an intermediary makes it much more difficult to keep emotions out of the process, which is why nearly 90% of buyers and sellers prefer the "buffer" of being professionally represented.
Underexposure - Attracting serious buyers requires much more than being on Zillow (or even FMLS), and putting a sign in the front yard. Many of the marketing avenues that agents utilize are costly, or require resources that the average homeowner simply cannot access.
Buyer/Agent Wariness - Many buyers (and their agents) will purposely avoid FSBOs-they don't want to deal with an emotional seller who's not objective and whose home is probably overpriced due to lack of market knowledge. Buyer's agents know they'll have to work twice as hard for their commission because the seller has no representation.
"Low-ballers" - A FSBO listing tends to attract buyers who are looking for a "deal". These individuals see the listing price of a FSBO property as merely a starting point; they know the seller is not paying commission to a listing agent and will automatically discount your home by at least that 3%, but more likely more.
Failure to Disclose/Knowledge of legal contract - Failing to fully disclose any defects in your home is HUGE liability for any seller, and improper or non-disclosure is the number one source of lawsuits by buyers against FSBO sellers. Licensed real estate agents are required to stay up to date on all mandatory local, state and national disclosure requirements, as well as all legal contracts used (which change yearly!). They also have access to closing attorneys should any issues arise.
Safety/Time/Financing - FSBO homeowners take a real security risk in letting strangers into their home; and unlike buyers who have an agent, they may not even be financially qualified to purchase your home! And there is the inconvenience of the seller having to make appointments and be home for each showing.
So if you're selling a home in Atlanta for sale by owner, remember these risks, and use caution. Or better yet, consider a full-service real estate agent to get it sold more quickly, reduce liability, and put more money in your pocket!