Housing recovery lures FSBOs


LAURA N. OATLEY – Buyers are pitted against investors scrambling to snatch up flash sales that sell in 24 hours.

Pocket listings also never see the light of a single day on the multiple listing service (MLS).

Multiple offers descend on market after market, sweeping the nation with ever higher home prices.

Inventories are at record lows.

Why shouldn’t you go FSBO (for sale by owner)? You could save a boat load of cash.

Probably because you’ve been swept away by all the good news and haven’t really taken the time to learn what it really takes to sell a home.

For starters, in the time it takes you to sell your home as a FSBO, you’ll have to exhibit the skills of a real estate agent who has spent a career developing selling skills.

That is, if you expect to get top dollar, let alone actually sell the home.

Only 13 percent of all FSBO transactions were actually completed without some help from a real estate agent.

It’s understandable to want to avoid paying a commission, but what will it cost you not to use a real estate agent? Let’s take a look.

List price

Just because the Joneses sold their home for big bucks and your home has features of the same comparable homes, doesn’t mean you can ask for the same price.

The Joneses could have agreed to pay closing costs. They could have deducted the cost for a new roof that didn’t want to fix before the sale.

Not knowing the value of your home can put you at a disadvantage. Not being aware of some of the details of other sales can worsen your position.

A real estate agent knows how to access that information when setting an asking price for your home.


Properties listed on the MLS have an advantage over properties that are not listed. Everyone looking for a home can find homes listed on the MLS, one of real estate agents primary marketing tools.

Among the 13 percent of all fully FSBO transactions, 39 percent were between parties who knew each other in advance.

The MLS is the first place home buyers go to search for available properties and the first place agents go to look for properties on the behalf of their clients.

How will potential home buyers know your home is on the market if you’re not taking advantage of the MLS? If you use an FSBO listing service, Craigslist or other online tool you’ll get some exposure, but not the kind available from the MLS.

Only licensed, member real estate agents have listing access to the MLS.

Agents also have access to the latest digital and video marketing tools, online and off. Do you? Can you produce professional virtual tours, photographs, marketing content?

Agent expertise

Real estate agents develop top-notch conversational skills and that makes them great networkers and negotiators. Negotiations are heavy on listening. The listen for potential leads from buyers and sellers. They are continually on the lookout for you.

Some 83 percent of all properties that start off as FSBO eventually list and sell with an agent.

Real estate agents also take your leg work out of the deal. The schedule you keep and the schedule a potential buyer keeps likely isn’t the same. A real estate agent frees you from worrying over making it to the school play or being interrupted during dinner.

Your personal security is also exposed when you put your house up for sale without a real estate agent.

Agents pre-screen each interested party and ferret out those who aren’t serious – on their time, not yours. You’ll never have to worry about someone in your home alone. The agent will always guide tours.

If you want to sell your home quickly and as painlessly as possible, using a real estate agent not only takes care of the dirty work but you can always rest assured that they are working for you and your family not for themselves.

Laura N. Oatley, is owner, partner and listing specialist with the Oatley Team at Keller Williams Realty Louisville East in Louisville, KY. Since her second of ten years in the business, Oatley has been in the top 1 percent sales bracket among members of the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors.

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