Why Most For Sale By Owners (FSBO) Fail

One of the biggest motivators in our spending decisions is finding a good deal. Everyone likes to save money, and this certainly translates into real estate. Even as a Realtor myself, I’m not going to argue that commissions are cheap. Why would you pay 6% of the sale of your home to sell it if you don’t have to? Homes for sale in Centreville VA have an average price of about $330,000. Six percent is almost $20,000. If you could save some or all of that money, I’m sure you would leap at the chance.

There are several problems with taking the FSBO route, which I will outline. In general, selling a home in Centreville VA on your own is not an easy task. Nine out of ten FSBOs will eventually be sold by an agent, rather than by the owner. Read on to find out why.


As I outlined in my last post (Pricing Homes to SELL), price is the number one consideration to buying anything, including real estate. You could have the world’s best marketing campaign, but if your price is too high, you won’t sell your house in Centreville VA. It is important to look not only at comparable homes for sale in Centreville VA, but also homes that recently sold. Finding accurate sold values may be difficult without a Realtor’s help, but it can be done, and must be done to find the best price to get your home sold.


The most difficult part of going FSBO is getting exposure for your home for sale. Many FSBOs follow the 3 P’s of Real Estate (just like many agents, unfortunately): Put a sign in the yard, Place it on a FSBO site, and Pray it sells. This is not enough!

If you Google common search terms that buyers in the area might use, such as Homes for Sale in Centreville VA, FSBO sites are never on the first page. Sites that are not on the first page of Google are overlooked by users. It’s that simple. What you will find on the first page of Google are sites like Zillow and Realtor.com and Realtor-owned pages, which populate directly from the local MLS. As you may know, the MLS is populated by Realtors only. I think you see where I’m going with this.

Beyond that, a great Realtor will have a whole arsenal of online marketing tools to get your home out in front of ready, willing, and able buyers. Most FSBOs don’t have the time or knowledge to make this happen. Click here to see some of the things available to you if you sell your home with Goss Realty Group, for a comparison.

Bargain Hunters

FSBOs that sell do not sell for their maximum value most of the time. Why does this happen? Let’s look at a scenario that helps us relate. One day, you buy a watch from a store on a whim. You love it, but you aren’t really a watch person and never wear it. It’s still a new watch, and you still have the packaging and materials. You decide to sell it at your yard sale. Would you expect to get the full amount you paid at the store?

Whether you do or not, the buyers certainly aren’t going to pay full retail price at a yard sale, just like they won’t pay full retail price for a FSBO home. Investors love FSBOs for just that reason, and agents will capitalize on a FSBO who doesn’t know the market well enough to negotiate a good price for themselves.

Accessibility and Buyer Qualification 

FSBOs who work full time will have a big problem with making their home accessible to potential buyers. While a Realtor will place a lockbox on the home that only allows other agents in good standing (and their clients) into the home, the best equivalent that a FSBO has is a combination lock, which poses many more security risks, and doesn’t guarantee that the person entering your home is qualified to buy. Realtors will not waste their time with a buyer who does not have a pre-qualification letter, so you can bet that they will be bringing the serious buyers into your home. To avoid major security risks, many FSBOs insist on being home when a buyer comes through, which greatly limits accessibility to buyers on a timeline.

If you can sell your home for a great price despite all the odds, fantastic! I’d love to talk to you about joining Keller Williams. But in all seriousness, if you are a Northern Virginia FSBO and want the help of a Realtor, please contact Goss Realty Group today so that we can show you how you won’t be losing money by paying commission.


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