Selling your home as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) in Austin may seem an attractive option. The idea of paying a real estate agent to sell your home might not appeal, and you may feel that you might net more from the sale if you market it yourself. Here are six reasons to go it alone as an FSBO.

1. You have access to Austin MLS data or recent sales data and you are confident about pricing your home correctly.
Pricing is perhaps the most critical aspect of getting a home sold.

Texas is a non-disclosure state so there is no public access to sales data. Pricing your home based on information from Zillow allows for a huge margin of error in Texas, as admitted on their site as shown below. A 20% margin of error doesn’t sound good to me!

Zillow Pricing Austin

2. You’re a professional negotiator. When you put a FSBO sign up in your yard you’ll find out that you get all sorts of strange offers and requests. I know. I’ve done it in the past. Twice.

Some of the people that call up are simply looking for a good deal – they assume that the seller may not know their home’s market value, that the seller is in distress, and that they have negotiating power through their knowledge.

3. You have home marketing expertise. If you know the kind of buyer who is looking for a home like yours and know how to reach them, then you may have a good advantage as a FSBO seller.

The three biggest guns in the Realtors’ arsenal are the MLS, internet marketing and Realtor to Realtor marketing. FSBO sellers can use cheap MLS listing services to put their homes in front of consumers and Realtors. There’s more to marketing a home than putting it in the MLS, putting a sign in the yard and waiting for a call though.

If you’re confident that you can market your home well, then trying the FSBO route may work.

4. You have experience of the contractual paperwork used to sell a home in Austin, Texas. If you’ve sold several homes in the past, you may be used to the paperwork and the process. If you understand option periods, earnest money and the negotiation points in a contract, you may feel confident that you can take care of it all.

The challenge with this is that the laws for homebuying and the contracts used do change. If you last sold a house 5 years ago, you might not know about the Austin Energy Audit ordnance for example.

And the standard TREC contracts may seem straightforward – you may be a real estate attorney and find them a breeze. The one thing I’ll say is that there are complexities with every transaction.

5. You already know someone who wants to buy your home. In this case, marketing isn’t required and you could get help with transaction management, pricing and negotiating.

According to the 2008 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 45% of FSBO sellers already knew the buyer for their home when they decided to sell (eleven times more than new the buyer in an agent assisted sale).

6. You like getting calls from real estate agents. Real estate schools across the country teach new agents to call FSBO sellers as they need help.

A Realtor ® looking for new clients may call people who are trying to sell their homes by themselves spurred on by the statistics that show over 80% of FSBO sellers end up getting an agent to help them sell their home. FSBOs should expect that they will get called up by multiple agents wanting to be the one who ultimately helps them if they fail.

A FSBO sale isn’t for everyone. It does work for some people. In our region, 12% of sellers did so without a real estate agent in 2008.
An Austin Realtor is an Austin Realtor ® and Certified Negotiation Expert. He helps home sellers in Austin decide if FSBO or agent assisted listing best suits their needs.

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Julie · July 24, 2009 at 9:28 am

Garreth – this is a very good, well thought post! Had me interested from the headline on. I enjoy reading you blog for Austin news. Keep up the great work.

Woodrow J. Jones · July 30, 2009 at 5:50 am

very nice! I always wanted to find something like this .
Thank you!

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