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If you’re like many people interested in selling your home “by owner” – that is, without hiring a seller’s agent to help you with the process – you probably already know that all the responsibility will fall on you. You’ll have to advertise the home, coordinate showings and negotiate with prospective buyers. But check out this list of three risks you face with a FSBO, as well as what you can do to mitigate them.

3 Risks You Face With FSBO – and How to Mitigate Them

Selling your own home has many attractive points, and one of them is not having to pay a seller’s agent’s commission. That can save you about 3 percent of your home’s sales price. Though you’ll still have to pay the buyer’s agent’s fee, the 3 percent you save can be several thousand dollars – and for many people, that makes FSBO a great option. However, watch out for these three risks:

  • Advertising costs money, and you can’t use the MLS
  • You may sell for less money than you could have
  • You could run into legal issues

Here’s a closer look at each.

Risk #1 for FSBOs: Advertising Losses

When you list your home with a seller’s agent, the agent puts your home in the multiple listing service, or MLS. From there, major listing websites pull information about your home and publish it on their own websites. Additionally, all the REALTORS® who are looking for a home like yours will find it in the MLS. However, as a private seller, you can’t list your home in the MLS… and that means you have to pay for advertising on websites or in print if you want to reach a wider audience than you can reach with a yard sign.

Related: How to set the right listing price to sell your home

Risk #2 for FSBOs: Leaving Money on the Table

Many FSBOs sell for less than the “going rate.” That’s because at the beginning of the selling process, sellers often don’t do enough market research to find out what buyers are willing to pay. The bottom line is that your home is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it – and if you overprice the house, it’s going to sit on the market, unsold. It may even sit on the market for months with little or no buyer interest; when that happens, you’ll likely eventually lower your price, and you may lower it too much (or it may not matter, and because the home has been on the market for so long, it may not sell at all).

Related: 7 steps to selling your home

Risk #3 for FSBOs: Legal Issues

Real estate agents are trained to keep their clients clear of legal issues – and there are lots of potential pitfalls for people who sell their homes without an agent’s help. Disclosure requirements, fair housing and a bevy of other issues can plague FSBO sellers.

Related: Pros and cons of selling FSBO

How to Avoid Major Risks When You Sell FSBO

For many people who want to sell a home as a FSBO, the best way to avoid major issues is to consult with a REALTOR® and real estate attorney. They’ll be your professional guide to pricing your home properly, guiding you on how (and where) to list your house, and even help you avoid potential legal problems that come with selling your own home. (Fortunately, we offer these services! Just call us at 443-955-1227 or contact us online to tell us what you’d like to do.)

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If you have specific questions, fill out the form below or call us at 443-955-1227 – we’re here to help you with any aspect of your real estate transaction.