For Sale By Owner? The facts about risk and reward

For sale by owner sign next to a house

If you’re trying the “For Sale By Owner” (also known as FSBO/fizbo) approach to selling and your home has been on the market for more than two weeks, it might be time to consider a new tactic. Let me tell you why.

The odds are against FSBO: According to the National Association of Realtors®, in 2018 fizbo sales accounted for just seven percent of all home sales, the lowest percent on record. In other words, 93 percent of successful home sales last year were not conducted by homeowners themselves.

After 14 days FSBO odds worsen: Seventy-three percent of FSBO homes sold in less than two weeks. Sounds great, but in many cases this is simply because fizbo homes were sold to someone the seller already knew. So if your home hasn’t sold to a friend, neighbor, co-worker or family member within the first 14 days, statistics suggest a successful FSBO sale becomes even more unlikely.

FSBO properties typically sell for less: In 2018 FSBO homes sold at a median closed price of $200,000. That’s significantly lower than the median $264,900 earned by agent-assisted sales.

Home sellers typically try FSBO because they want to maximize profits by avoiding the commission a brokerage would earn for successfully selling the home. But data suggest it doesn’t generally work out that way.

FSBO sellers commonly end up paying a commission anyway, to a buyer’s agent who brings a client. Eighty-seven percent of buyers in 2018 purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker. Makes sense… why would buyers choose to make one of life’s biggest purchases without an experienced professional serving to protect their best interests and negotiate the best price, when that service doesn’t cost buyers a dime?

Also, the stats suggest that FSBO sellers still make less money, even if they manage to avoid paying any commission.

Take the median closed price for agent assisted sales, $264,900, subtract an estimated six percent commission ($15,894, which is typically split between two brokerages), and you end up with a net of $249,006. That’s still $49,006 (20 percent) more than the typical FSBO closed price, even after factoring for commissions.

That’s a general analysis, results may vary, but keep in mind that FSBO sellers always assume full responsibility for:

  • properly pricing and effectively photographing and marketing the property
  • staging the home’s interior and exterior for maximum appeal
  • making time for every call and showing (no matter how inconvenient), for both legitimate prospects and “Lookie Lous”
  • negotiation, which often includes arranging and paying for agreed repairs, or lowering the sale price
  • coordinating home appraisal, praying the “price is right,” and dealing with it if it’s not
  • facilitating home inspection (precarious for FSBO sellers because they’re not insulated by representation)
  • the proper completion of numerous legally binding contracts and documents

The FSBO seller will also be responsible for complying with all closing regulations and requirements once an offer is accepted, as well as legal liability for any errors, misrepresentations or omissions.

In other words, evidence suggests that FSBO sellers assume a lot of extra work and legal liability, and typically make $49,000 less in median sales prices when they don’t use listing agents.

None of these observation are a knock against FSBO sellers. There are many valid reasons real estate professionals sell more homes and earn higher prices. For example:

Accurate home valuation: Home valuation is exceptionally challenging in New England, where homes built and added onto since the 1700s can neighbor ones constructed in the 21st Century. In the Lakes Region, land quality, view and value can vary dramatically between the subject property and a comparable down the street.

Valuation is even harder for homeowners, who may instinctively add sentimental value, and who have limited experience compounded by lack of access to the full range of comparable property sales data (and therefore overreliance on town tax assessments or free online value estimates from Redfin, Zillow or Homes.com, which have been proven to be wrong 36 to 84 percent of the time).

Access to technology: FSBO listings often feature amateur photos that look like they were taken with a smart phone or basic camera. At Roche Realty Group we take thousands of property photos each year and use a variety of DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras to take high dynamic range photos, which offer vastly improved image quality. Homes with professional-quality DSLR photography are more likely to sell within six months than homes with “point-and-shoot” photos.

            Additionally, we have the capacity to offer Matterport® Photography with “3D Showcase,” an immersive online 3D experience that gives buyers a true feeling for your property before they ever see it in person. It’s like “Google Street View” for your home.

            Finally, our agency possesses “drone” aerial video and photo technology. We leverage this imagery when properties have acreage that would be difficult to portray from the ground level, and/or to show select properties in context of their Lakes Region locations (visit LakesRegionHomeSeller.com/marketing-your-property for examples).

Improved internet presence: For the third year in a row, a whopping 95 percent of buyers used the internet during the home search process, and 50 percent found the home they purchased, via online search.

Most FSBO homes suffer extremely limited internet visibility. On the other hand, as a Realtor®, as soon as I enter a listing into the MLS (which is THE critical online tool), I can immediately share that listing with countless buyers on Zillow, Trulia, RealEstate.com, Realtor.com, Homes.com, Homesnap.com, Realtors Property Resource, and ListHub.

Roche Realty Group also advertises listings on about 80 real estate websites, including LuxuryHomes.com, Homes & Land, Lakehouse.com, World Property Journal, GolfHomes.com, Luxury Real Estate, and Boston.com (the Boston Globe site).

Further, RocheRealty.com is one of the Lakes Regions’ most visited websites, and nearly six hundred of our optimized key search phrases appear on page one in Google search results (for topics including Lakes Region communities and New Hampshire lakes, towns and islands).

The bottom line is that if you’re trying the For Sale By Owner sales route and your home’s been on the market for more than two weeks, it might be time to increase your odds of selling and maximizing your sales price by hiring an experienced Realtor® who can offer professional-grade valuation, imagery, print and digital marketing, and salesmanship. Give me a call. I’m here to help, and it won’t cost you anything unless the home sells.

Brent Metzger is a Realtor® with Roche Realty Group. He may be reached at (603) 229-8322 or www.LakesRegionHomeSeller.com.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on reddit
Share on pinterest
Home Maintenance - Person repairing wall in house

Home maintenance the difference between sold and stuck

Be honest… is your home in need of some repairs? Because the truthful answer to …

Read More →
Coins stacked up indicting inflation

Is our Current Inflation “Transitory?”

The Federal Reserve officials have described the current period of high inflation as “transitory.” In …

Read More →
ABBA Tribute performing at the Lakeport Opera House

Meet you at the Lakeport Opera House

Last Saturday, Nancy and I were invited to the Lakeport Opera House to take in …

Read More →
Picture of

The New Hampshire Advantage

All of us who live in New Hampshire’s beautiful Lakes Region certainly have lots to …

Read More →

Just like vacation seasons, vacation homes come and go

When you think about it, all homes are actually seasonal properties. Whether it’s a primary …

Read More →

Hunt for lower prices like a lone wolf

If you ever watched Saturday morning cartoons back in the day, you may recall Looney …

Read More →
Birds eye view of Lakes Region New Hampshire

Lakes Region Real Estate Market 6-Month Comparison

We are halfway through 2021 already, and as we head down the second-half stretch, I’ve …

Read More →
The "Village Store" in Gilford, NH

The “Village Store” in Gilford Has New Owners

Gilford— The “Village Store” in scenic Gilford Village, a Lakes Region landmark since 1836, was …

Read More →
Lakes Region NH - aerial view of Lake Winnipesaukee NH

Lakes Region Waterfront Sales Comparisons

I thought I would look at the real estate activity on the Lakes Region’s four …

Read More →
Island Living on Lake Winnipesaukee in NH - aerial view of Welch Island, Lake Winnipesaukee

Island Living on Lake Winnipesaukee

The thunder of motorcycles has arrived in the Lakes Region. After a long year of …

Read More →
summer fun in nh - swimming in the river

Summertime Adventures Around the Lakes Region

Memorial Day weekend has arrived, and all of us are excited to kick off the …

Read More →
Are we in a real estate bubble?

Are We in A Real Estate Bubble?

Back in April, the red hot search on Google™ was “when is the housing market …

Read More →

Roche Realty Group Sells Artie’s Subs & Pizza

Moultonborough, NH – Brian and Kara Dillard of Barrington, New Hampshire, have recently purchased Artie’s …

Read More →
Laconia, NH - City on the Lakes

Laconia— City on the Lakes

The 17,000 resident, “City on the Lakes,” is nestled on the shores of three of …

Read More →
Housing Bubble

What if it’s not a bubble?

It’s a mad mad mad world of real estate right now.  The frustrations of buyers …

Read More →
Alton, New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee

Alton’s Treasures — Natural Resources

Alton, New Hampshire is a scenic community with wonderful natural resources. The town envelopes the …

Read More →
Moultonborough, New Hampshire

Moultonborough, NH — Low Taxes Attract!

Moultonborough, New Hampshire, is a scenic and idyllic community on the northern shores of Lake …

Read More →
Gilford, New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee

Gilford Recognized For Its Quality of Life

Gilford, New Hampshire, has always been a popular destination and a great community to live …

Read More →
Meredith Village on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Meredith, NH—One of the Top 10 Best Small Towns on the East Coast

It’s always good to see our local towns highlighted in national publications, and recently Meredith …

Read More →

Economic Concerns for Real Estate

For the first time in decades, fiscal and monetary policy will likely remain easy during …

Read More →
The Ledges on Newfound Lake

The Ledges at Newfound Lake

     It is always with mixed emotions how we view the development of our natural areas. …

Read More →
Lakeview Golf Club in Belmont on 172 Acres Sold by Roche Realty Group

Lakeview Golf Club in Belmont on 172 Acres Sold

Belmont, NH- The beautiful 9-hole Lakeview Golf Club located at 89 Ladd Hill Road in …

Read More →
Nutmeg Inn in Meredith NH Sold

Nutmeg Inn in Meredith Sold

Meredith, NH- The historic country Nutmeg Inn located at 80 Pease Road in Meredith has …

Read More →
Housing Inventory Lacking - Lake Winnisquam, NH

New Hampshire’s Four Largest Lakes Lack Inventory

As we’re nearing the 1st quarter of sales activity in the Lakes Region, I thought …

Read More →
Lakes Region Real Estate Market - View of NH Lakes

Real Estate Tidbits in The Lakes Region

Here’s a quick update on the market and a few things I’ve observed that will …

Read More →

Roche Realty Group sells “The Anchorage at the Lake” Resort on Lake Winnisquam

Tilton, N.H. – “The Anchorage at the Lake” Resort located on Lake Winnisqaum and Route …

Read More →
New Construction in the Lakes Region

New Construction and Re-Sale Housing Dilemmas

I’ve seen a considerable amount of new construction and home remodeling taking place in my …

Read More →
Lakes Region NH

Lakes Region Market Competition is Fierce

We are now entering March, the unofficial beginning of our Spring Selling Season. We have …

Read More →
Home inspection report

Reasons Why You Should Not Waive a Home Inspection

We have a very competitive real estate market here in the Lakes Region due to …

Read More →
Photo of homes in New Hampshire's Lakes Region

NH’s Housing Inventory Needs One Thing — LISTINGS

This week I’d like to provide you with a summary of what New Hampshire’s Real …

Read More →
Wicwas Lodge and Lakeland School Property

Roche Realty Group sells the historic Wicwas Lodge / Lakeland School Property

Roche Realty Group, with offices in Meredith and Laconia, recently sold the Lakeland School property …

Read More →
Night picture of Laconia NH

Lakes Region—One of the Countries Hottest Neighborhoods in 2021

Imagine it’s Super Bowl weekend and there’s not a chicken wing or a pizza to …

Read More →
Hiking in New Hampshire

New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine Peak Attractions

In my younger years in school, I always loved geography as a subject. Living in …

Read More →
Moving day

How to hand your home over to its new owner

Remember your first home? Whether it was a freshly painted rental or your first investment …

Read More →

Roche Realty Group Reports Sales of $146.5 Million for 2020

Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group, Inc with offices in Meredith and Laconia, has …

Read More →
Lakes Region NH vs San Francisco, CA

“Lifestyle Finder” For Your Move to or From The Lakes Region

Some studies place moving to a new location as one of the top ten most …

Read More →
Lake Winnipesaukee, NH

Winnipesaukee, Newfound and Squam Lake Accolades

Winnipesaukee, Newfound and Squam Lake Accolades It’s always fun to read articles where Lake Winnipesaukee …

Read More →
Kevin Shaw - Roche Realty Group

Kevin Shaw of Roche Realty Group is Top Producer for 2020

LACONIA — Frank Roche, president of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, …

Read More →
Center Harbor, New Hampshire

Jaw Breaking Price Increase in 2020 vs. 2019

Last week I pulled up comparisons on year to date sales of waterfront homes on …

Read More →
NH Lake Sales Activity - picture of lake with mountains and homes

Lakes Region Waterfront Sales 2020 vs. 2019

We’re getting near the end of the year, and I thought I would pull up …

Read More →
condominiums on lake winnipesaukee nh

No Better Time to Sell Your Home

We’re heading into the holidays, and all the local Realtors® are busy. They are out …

Read More →
Real Estate News Headlines - Lakes Region NH

Real Estate and Market News

There’s a lot going on out there in the marketplace. So much in the news …

Read More →
Picture of NH condominium home with pool

Affordable Housing is Always in Demand

There’s a lot of talk lately about the lack of affordable housing in the Lakes …

Read More →
Kitchen renovation

Small Improvements Make a Big Difference

During this past spring and summer, a large number of homeowners throughout the Lakes Region …

Read More →
Sales Volume and Prices of Luxury Homes Raising Nationally

Sales Volume and Prices of Luxury Homes Raising Nationally

Many national headlines are talking about the booming high-end vacation home market, in addition to …

Read More →
Support Small Businesses

Are we seeing a retail apocalypse?

During this past summer, I have been talking mainly about the exploding residential real estate …

Read More →
House and cash on a balance scale

Tips for Buyers in a “Seller’s Market”

We are currently experiencing a strong seller’s market here in the Lakes Region. 2020 has …

Read More →
Randy Miller Joins Roche Realty Group

Randy Miller Joins Roche Realty Group

Frank Roche, President of Roche Realty Group, Inc. with offices in Meredith and Laconia, is …

Read More →
New Construction in the Lakes Region

Lakes Region Construction Activity Update

It has been a wild summer out here in the Real Estate industry!  I thought …

Read More →
The Opera House in Laconia NH

The Vision behind the “Opera House” Renovation: Revitalization of the Lakeport Area

There is a lot of excitement brewing in the Lakeport area! Previously shuttered for decades, …

Read More →

Leave a Comment