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If you’re like many people, you’ve seen homes listed as “For Sale by Owner.” In the real estate industry, experts refer to those homes as FSBO (pronounced fizz-bo). The owners of these homes aren’t represented by a seller’s agent, but there’s far more to it than that. This guide explains FSBO homes and what to do if you’re considering selling your own house.

FSBO, Explained

For sale by owner means that the owner of the home is managing all the aspects of the sale. The homeowner hasn’t hired a real estate agent to represent them in the transaction, and is therefore in charge of everything from advertising the home to negotiating the price with prospective buyers.

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

Why Do Some Sellers List Homes as FSBO?

Some sellers want to save money, and the way to do that when you’re selling a house is to avoid paying a listing agent’s commission. Often, FSBO sellers still have to pay a buyer’s agent’s commission – but because they don’t retain the services of a seller’s agent, they can save about 3 percent of the home’s sales price. (Real estate commissions are, on average, about 6 percent of a home’s sales price. Half of that goes to the buyer’s agent and broker, and the other half goes to the seller’s agent and broker.)

Related: 7 steps to prepare your home for sale

Possible Problems With FSBOs

Sellers often think selling a home is a bit easier than it actually is, though many are able to pull it off without a hitch. Some of the problems sellers encounter with FSBOs include:

  • The inability to post the home on the multiple listing service, or MLS. You can’t post a home to the MLS without an agent, which makes advertising it to a wide audience a lot more difficult.
  • High advertising costs. When a real estate agent lists a home, their broker often pays for it to be advertised in real estate magazines, on popular home-search websites, and multiple other venues – but without a large agency footing the bill for that service, many FSBO sellers find that the costs prevent them from advertising the home everywhere they’d like to.
  • Legal issues. Many FSBO sellers aren’t real estate professionals, so they’re not up-to-date on the most current laws and regulations when it comes to real estate transactions. However, many FSBO sellers choose to work with a real estate attorney who can help them avoid legal pitfalls.

Related: Pros and cons of selling FSBO

Can You Buy a FSBO With a Real Estate Agent?

If you’re a buyer, you can – and absolutely should – work with a buyer’s agent to buy a FSBO. Having a knowledgeable professional in your corner can help protect you throughout the transaction. If a FSBO seller isn’t willing to pay the agent’s commission, you have two choices: Keep looking for another home or pay the commission yourself.

Are You Buying or Selling a Home in Baltimore County or Howard County?

If you’re ready to buy or sell a home in Baltimore County or Howard County, we can help. Check out these listings:

If you’re thinking about selling your home, we can help you sell it quickly – and at the best possible price. You can:

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.