Selling without a traditional listing agent is a four-letter thought to most traditional real estate agents. And those four letters are FSBO. That stands for “for sale by owner.” But FSBO isn’t what you think it is – and listing agents want you to misunderstand what FSBO is and what it isn’t.

  1. maskFirst, just to clarify: USRealty is not a FSBO service. By definition, FSBO listings don’t use any Realtor, agent or broker services. That’s the ‘by owner’ part.

    But USRealty is a national listing service run by licensed brokers and with memberships in 100 multiple listing services. Therefore, USRealty is an alternative listing service, and our customers sell with the assistance of our brokers, and so are not FSBO.

    If you are thinking of selling soon, and you are thinking of trying out an alternative service, you are probably interviewing local agents. They are going to advise against selling FSBO and they will use statistics that show that FSBO results in a lower price and will take longer.

    Here’s what those agents won’t say:

    • They won’t define FSBO because there is a whole spectrum of ‘a la carte’ services like that offer lower commissions and fees, and good service. It’s not just a choice between a full service agent and no agent, or full-on FSBO. There are lot of choices in between, including USRealty.
    • The studies that seem to show that FSBO properties get less money actually found that FSBO sellers are already selling lower-priced properties. True FSBO is more accepted in some rural communities. FSBO houses sell for less because they are lower-value properties…not because owners weren’t able to get a fair market value. They do get fair market value…a value that tends to be on the lower side in their markets.
    • Agents do not get more money for the houses they list, thus paying for their own commissions. Once you sign a contract with a traditional agent, you are stuck with that commission structure. If the house doesn’t sell right away, the only thing the agent can change is the price…and that hits you harder than it does the agent.

    If listing with a local agent seems to be the best way to go, give yourself a quick and clean out by signing a contract for an eight week listing. If the agent balks, ask what the strategy would be in the third month of the contract if the house has not sold. If the agent can’t price the house correctly to begin with, the only solution after eight weeks will be to ‘correct’ the price – to what it should have been to begin with.

    Check the cancellation policy in the contract and only list with an agent if you can exit the contract if the agent can’t deliver as promised.