10 FSBO vs Realtor Facts and Statistics to Know in 2021

Andrew Whytock


Andrew Whytock

May 14th, 2021
Updated May 14th, 2021


Many people think they can save time and money by selling their homes themselves instead of using an agent. But did you know that FSBO sales usually take longer and bring in less money than agent-involved sales? Here are 10 things prospective FSBO sellers should know.

10 For Sale By Owner vs Realtor Facts and Statistics to Know | Clever

Selling a house is an exciting prospect, but it's also a lot of work. If you're trying to decide whether to sell your house FSBO or use a real estate agent, there are some things you need to know.

» SAVE: Sell with a top local agent for just $3,000 or 1%

1. Most FSBO sellers still have to pay commission.

That's right, the majority of FSBO sellers still have to pay 3% in real estate commission. Successful FSBO sellers save themselves a fee for their listing agent, but most still have to pay the agent who brought in a willing buyer.

If the buyer and seller come to an agreement before the property is listed and already know each other, it may make sense to hire a real estate lawyer to help with the paperwork, rather than using real estate agents. But most FSBO sellers don't know the buyer — meaning they're probably paying the buyer's agent's commission.

2. 28% of sellers chose an agent because they didn’t have the time or energy to sell FSBO

Time limitations are one important reason why some sellers choose to work with an agent. Realizing that selling FSBO would require a lot of extra time and energy, 28% of sellers decided that hiring an agent was worth it.

While this isn’t the number one reason for choosing an agent, it’s a very important consideration if you’re already busy or don’t feel prepared to do all of the leg work yourself.

3. FSBO listings attract fewer offers than agent-listed properties.

Whether it's due to the realtor's expertise in setting the right price or their access to other realtors and potential buyers, FSBO listings attract fewer viewers and fewer offers than properties listed by real estate agents. FSBO sellers often have to keep their houses on the market for longer periods of time and sell their houses for less money. Agents understand the listing process, market trends, and how to find the right price.

4. 74% of sellers would use the same agent again

According to the National Realtors’ Association (NAR), most sellers who work with an agent say that they’d use the same agent again if they had to buy another property or sell their current one. That’s a pretty high number, and it indicates that the majority of sellers are happy with the experience that they have working with a real estate agent.

This stat puts bad real estate agent stories in perspective — they’re the exception, not the rule.

5. 49% of FSBO sellers don’t use an agent because they want to save money

According to Zillow, approximately half (49%) of FSBO sellers decide not to use an agent because they assume it’ll help them save money. What they don’t realize is that they’ll have to market their home themselves and spend a good deal of their valuable time coordinating the sale.

Not only that, but FSBO homes generally sell for less than homes that are sold by agents, so what FSBO sellers save in commission they may lose in the final sale price.

6. There are 3 major issues FSBO sellers find difficult.

Three of the top problems FSBO sellers report facing are:

  • Pricing the home right

  • Completing the paperwork

  • Selling within their planned time frame

Pricing your home is one of the most important parts of selling a home. Sellers need to find the sweet spot of not losing money by pricing too low and not losing prospective buyers by pricing too high. It's also hard for people who have lived in a house to see and price it objectively.

Completing the paperwork involved with a sale is an incredibly difficult process that most FSBO sellers struggle with. Even if you price your home correctly and find a willing buyer on your own, as an FSBO seller, you'll handle all the paperwork that goes along with a sale. This includes several legally binding documents.

Selling fast is also a struggle for many FSBO sellers. Six percent of FSBO sellers say that selling within their planned time frame was their biggest struggle.

7. Your listing will reach far more potential buyers with an agent.

Not using an agent means more than just not paying real estate commission. It's much harder for FSBO sellers to get their home in front of prospective buyers. Real estate agents have access to the MLS, or Multiple Listing Service database. When your listing agent puts your home on the MLS, it exposes thousands of potential buyers to your property.

The MLS is what supplies the data to all of the online databases you're used to. It's also the database that real estate agents frequent, so they know what's available and can share their inventory.

8. Agent-involved sales are at an all-time high.

While FSBO might seem like a popular alternative to hiring an agent, FSBO sales only make up 8% of all home sales in the US. This means that most sellers are still turning to agents for their expertise and professional sales skills.

9. You can save money on commission and work with an experienced realtor.

Did you know you can work with a full-service, experienced listing agent without paying the full 6% commission?

Clever Partner Agents are all top-rated agents who are experts in their locations. Instead of the full 3% commission most real estate agents charge, Clever Partner Agents sell your home for a flat fee of just $3,000 (or 1% of the sale price if the final sale price is more than $350,000).

10. Aerial images help homes sell faster.

One final statistic: Homes with aerial images sell 68% faster than homes with standard photos. Get offers quickly by using drone photos and videos to market your house.

Clever partners with HomeJab, a company that takes photographs of real estate with drones Drone photography is becoming incredibly popular in the real estate industry. It allows prospective buyers to see videos of the home and neighborhood from above and gives a bird's eye view of everything your property has to offer.

If you work with one of our Partner Agents, it will be even easier and less expensive to get drone photography done for your listing.

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