Sale Fail! - FSBOs

Home Matters! with The Cobb Group

Serving Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and the SC Lowcountry

Fizzbo. F.S.B.O. For Sale By Owner. 

Definition: A house that is being marketed for sale without the use of a Realtor. 


Everyone may not love their Realtor but most people agree that their agent works hard for them, bringing them top dollar in the shortest amount of time. A good agent shares staging tips, takes first class photos, orchestrates a successful marketing plan & services the listing with diligence, strong communication and care. In a very strong market FSBOs work because during periods of high demand & low inventory very little is needed in the way of sales & marketing. In a weaker market FSBOs are not as successful.

We have found that most people who try to sell their home this way simply don't understand how much a Realtor can help them. Statistics show that selling your home with a Realtor will culminate a higher profit that can make up for the cost of the Realtor and more money in the bank for the seller. According to the National Association of Realtor®'s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $185,000, while the average price for a home represented by a Realtor was $245,000. That's a big difference! 

There is an art to selling a home, and a good Realtor knows what needs to be done to make this happen. Realtors are objective and view your home as a financial asset whereas sellers tend to be emotionally attached and have a hard time seeing the shortcomings of their home. A Realtor can get your home sold much faster then selling on your own.

Once under contract a homeowner’s Realtor runs the transaction like a fine oiled machine, knowing exactly what needs to be done to bring the sale to closing versus relying on your own skills to finalize contracts and legal agreements. It is your Realtor's job to make sure everything is taken care of and all of the paperwork is handled correctly. A Realtor does so much more than many realize.


Last week, I took purchasers out to see homes that included one they found on Zillow that was a FSBO. As I have been working with them for a few months, they asked if I would still represent them in the event that they wanted to purchase the FSBO. Of course! The Realtor fees are generated from the sale side of the transaction so it makes sense to have strong representation for my buyers. I called the owners of the FSBO to make an appointment to preview. I asked them if they were willing to pay a co-broke of 3%, which is the standard fee for one side of a transaction. The homeowners balked but agreed after I explained that it was my buyers preference to have an agent represent them. 

Upon arrival the owners did not seem to be prepared and did not appear to have done their due diligence about what it takes to sell a home. They had very poor photos online and did not see the value in marketing. The home was clean inside and well put together but was very cluttered. The closets & garage were bursting with stuff. Their entrance was dark & the front walk needed to be power washed. The house was overall very tired. A Realtor would have pointed out these items quickly and advised them what was most important to get repaired prior to listing. They should have left a key under the mat or waited in the car. Instead the seller followed us around and nervously shared features of the home. This had my purchasers feel uncomfortable as most buyers like the freedom to look around on their own, being able to chat and discuss as they like.

The owner reported that the home had been on the market for almost 2 weeks with little activity. This home is in a hot neighborhood, and this is the only house for sale. Hands down - this home would have already been under contract if they had used a Realtor and reduced their stress load tremendously. 

There really isn’t anything saved by not using a Realtor. At the end of the day, carrying costs adds up, time is lost and we all know that TIME IS MONEY. 

Tip: Pick your agent carefully. Use a professional to get a professional job done. Remember top dollar in the shortest amount of time takes the sting out of selling a house. Selling a home is supposed to be a stepping stone to something better and not a chore.

Allison Cobb