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

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.

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.

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.

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. 36% of FSBO Sellers Believe It Will Save Them Time.

According to research by Zillow, 36% of FSBO sellers think selling without an agent will save them time. Unfortunately for them, the opposite is true.

Because FSBO sellers aren’t using an agent, they have to do everything themselves. Staging, photographs, the listing, paperwork — all of these responsibilities fall to the seller. Even if you hire experts to help with some of these things, it can still quickly eat away at your time.

If time is your concern, you’d be better off working with a listing agent. Their experience and knowledge allows them to work faster and with more precision.

3. FSBO Listings Attract Fewer Offers Than Agent-Listed Properties.

Whether it’s due to to 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. 36% of Sellers Attempt FSBO Sales Before Turning to an Agent.

According to the NAR, over one third of attempted FSBO sellers end up listing their homes with an agent.

FSBO sellers struggle to balance their normal lives and jobs with cleaning, staging, listing, and preparing paperwork — and that’s before they even start to advertise and schedule showings and open houses.

It makes sense that experts who do these things day in and day out are more successful than novices. That’s why 36% of would-be FSBO sellers eventually turn to an agent.

5. Only 11% of Sellers Don’t Use an Agent.

Just 11% of sellers sold their property FSBO, meaning a full 89% of property sellers use agents. There’s a reason so many people use realtors — they know how to sell houses and save you money every step of the way.

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, and selling within their planned time frame. It’s understandable that sellers struggle with these tasks.

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. Five percent of buyers say that selling within their planned time frame was their biggest struggle. On average, FSBO homes take 19 days longer to sell than homes listed with an agent.

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.

Agent-assisted sales are at an all-time high. Today, more home sellers than ever are choosing to work with realtors. Most sellers work with real estate agents because they know how to get the most for a piece of real estate.

9. FSBO Sales Are at a Record Low.

While sales involving real estate agents are at all-time highs, FSBO sales are at record lows. FSBO sales peaked in 2004 and have declined ever since.

According to NAR, a typical FSBO home sells for $200,000, while a typical home sold by an agent sells for $265,500. That adds up to homes sold by agents getting an average of 23% more than FSBO sales. This number reflects the expertise real estate agents bring to a sale.

10. 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).

And As an Added Bonus...

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.


Andrew Schmeerbauch

Andrew Schmeerbauch is the Director of Marketing at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you top agents to save on commission. His focus is educating home buyers and sellers on navigating the complex world of real estate with confidence and ease. Andrew has worked on projects for the United Nations and USC and has a particular passion for investing and finance. Andrew's writing has been featured in Mashvisor, L&T, Ideal REI, and Rentometer.

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