For Sale By Owner VS. Real Estate Agent: What’s the Best Way?

fsbo vs. real estate agent

For Sale By Owner vs. Real Estate Agent

Home-selling is a tricky and complex endeavor. From pricing your property’s value to managing your closing costs, these processes involved a lot of work, experience, and oftentimes money. However, most homeowners today market their valued property on their own. Although this doesn’t seem a bad option, there are cons you need to consider. Also, the same with hiring a professional agent, it all comes with drawbacks no matter how okay you think of it. “fsbo vs. real estate agent” a feud an ordinary seller can’t figure out. Yet ultimately, it all boils down with one choice, a choice that should help you what’s best for your home.

If you’re still in doubt whether choosing to sell as For Sale by Owner or a real estate agent, here we weigh the pros and cons of both options. And how can you as a seller take advantage of these different factors that could come in play in making the best home deal.


Did you know Houzeo’s Gold Plan provides relevant Federal and State Seller Disclosures?

3 min Video: How to List Your Home on the MLS by Owner

2 min Video: How to Request Changes to Your MLS Listing

Real Estate Agent Pros

Access to large networks

One great advantage for a real estate agent (worth mentioning) is the wide pool of connections or extensive market exposure they have. A licensed agent can assist in widening your market through local MLS and different online listing portals (Zillow, Craiglist, Redfin, etc.) and even social media channels that could reach your targeted buyers. In other words, agents can quickly spread the word since they are well-equipped with lots of credible contact information and trusted people.

Market and pricing expertise

Hiring an experienced agent is equivalent to bringing a skilled ally to a battlefield—in which in this case, a market field. You can rely on their specialized skills in negotiation, delivering unbiased opinions, and can help you understand clearly about the market trends. Since home-selling is basically a legal transaction, you need someone’s expertise to handle transactions with the buyer’s agent, real estate attorney, home appraiser, home inspector, and of course, to the buyer itself.

Apt Knowledge of the Paperwork

When it comes to the purchase and sales process, real estate agents have the proper tools and familiarity to take care of all your property disclosures, documents, and contracts to avoid serious legal trouble in the future. Imagine all the burden you have to go through when you’ll do it yourself. If you have some questions about the document, you can just immediately contact your agent for clarification.

Understand that time is of the essence

It takes full time to manage property showings, stage, and get an offer on your property. That’s why FSBO sellers most of the time can’t handle the pressure—and would often give up. Remember, the longer your home stays on the market, the harder for it to sell. Buyers tend to question why it’s still not sold—and would surmise the home has flaws or hidden issues. Although you have some basic negotiation skills, negotiating a home sale is a different story. Agents know that timing paired with knowledge can drive great advantage. And in turn, can sell your home faster.

Offer objective decision

More often than not, emotions can fire up and ruin transactions if you’re not extremely careful. The majority of sellers hold onto their feelings—solely basing their decisions into emotions. When in fact, emotions can be pretty tricky and would often fool you you’ve made the right choice. For instance, overpricing your house because you feel it’s worth more than what the market says otherwise is a horrible move. An agent can handle emotional pressures and will decide rationally with the best data to get the best of your property.

fsbo vs. real estate agent

Real Estate Agent Cons

You spend thousands for commissions

The average full-service real estate commission could cost around 4 -6% of your home’s sales price. That’s 6% of the total price of your home sale which could be avoided if you think it through well. However, there are affordable options like hiring a discount broker to reduce commission costs. After all, we usually hop to where we can’t hurt our pocket, right?

You’re not the only client

Most real estate agents operate with a lot of clients. Even though they have the expertise you needed, you can’t expect them to fully focus on your property. Missed deadlines and unreturned calls could hurt your transaction. As such, you need to make sure you hire a reliable and professional agent that is willing to meet your expectations.

You are in a legally binding contract

Most real estate agents operate with a lot of clients. Even though they have the expertise you needed, you can’t expect them to fully focus on your property. Missed deadlines and unreturned calls could hurt your transaction. As such, you need to make sure you hire a reliable and professional agent that is willing to meet your expectations.

Looking for a reliable agent is tough

Most home sellers don’t realize they have picked a wrong agent until several conflicts come at play. With the help of an agent, the home-selling process could turn into a great experience. But unfortunately, some aren’t just lucky enough to find someone that fits their goals and vision. Remember, agents, are people too, no matter how well-knowledgeable they can be, they can do stupid mistakes.

They could lead conflict with the goals

Since you’ve decided to hire an agent, that means you’ve to depend on someone else’s availability. If your chosen agent has busy hours, you don’t have any choice but to wait. Also, a moment will come that you’re going to have a conflict with his/her decision. Having another decision-maker in your goals can either make your home hard to sell or can help to make it sell easier. Either way, the decision should lead to the success of the home sale. 

For Sale by Owner Pros

Avoid paying hefty commissions

A full-realtor service commission can cost up to 4 to 6% percent of the home’s purchase price. These are the fees paid to your real estate agent which can be a big blow to what you can get. Usually, both parties—the buyer and seller—have to split the commission to their own hired real estate agent. Selling as FSBO means you don’t need to pay a large commission and instead focus on spending money on others else.

You’re your boss

When you hire a real estate agent, most likely, you are not the major decision-maker. But as an FSBO, you’ll have complete creative control over your marketing strategy. And decide what’s the best route you can follow. Also, you know more about the neighborhood than the agent which is a big plus in marketing your home. You can fully share what’s it’s like to be part of the community.

Full control of the listing price

So, without any real estate agent to assist you, you’ll handle the listing price yourself. When deciding, don’t let your emotions control you. Instead, do some thorough research and see how your property is valued compared to other similar homes near your area. However, you can definitely hire a home appraiser to do the estimation for you—for $300-$500 you can find a decent appraiser.

Manage your schedule and showings

You can set your schedule for your showing of when’s your availability. You don’t have to rely on an agent to do a showing for you. In other words, you can set your own home showing to your liking—and have more time to keep the house appealing and presentable.

More motivated to sell

Since it’s your home that you’re going to sell, you have more will to work hard and spend more time. Your long-time investment is at stake and doing just below average can snowball into a failed transaction. There’s plenty of ways to market your home to your potential buyers. FSBO sellers can use social media channels to market their houses online. Also, you can list your home on MLS for a flat fee and take advantage of cutting edge technology with real savings and no hidden fees.

fsbo vs. real estate agent

For Sale by Owner Cons

Emotions can ruin transactions

When you value something—like your home—, it’s hard to let go of those memories. You are attached to your house emotionally and that’s something that can hinder you to decide rationally. You are invested in this home, emotionally too. And that’s why agents make sure to balance things out to make sure the transaction is made properly—without biased decisions and fleeting emotions.  

Listed homes can be possibly priced wrong

Listing your home on the market as FSBO can be unreliable when it comes to pricing. The market price is only based on an online valuation tool that could be inaccurate. Home price estimation can be tricky since they estimate on several factors like the recently sold neighborhood homes, location, etc. Furthermore, this process could lead to keeping your home in the market longer, and that’s a bad sign.   

Home showings are exhausting

When choosing FSBO, you need to be responsible for a long list of items, including marketing, renovating, researching, and more importantly, setting up showings or attending one. But not only that, you have to take care of scammers like sharks and gawkers who are of no intention of purchasing your home.

If you have a job and couldn’t make it into the showings due to conflicts in schedules, well that can be a huge problem. Being unrealistic in selling your home could create minor problems that lead to major problems. 

Doing your own paperwork could go wrong

There’s a pile of intricate paperwork you’re going to complete and process. From legal documentation to several disclosures, you are going to have a hard time if you only know less. Most sellers even admitted that a lack of knowledge of legal papers makes the FSBO route even steeper and complicated. That’s why realtor’s extensive experience is an advantage when it comes to doing paperwork. “How much are closing costs for seller?”, a question that’s already expected in this route. Since several regulations and state statutes should be dealt with precaution.

For instance, several legal disclosures need an addendum. Most properties built before 1978 needs to completed a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure to help protect the buyer from any harmful hazards prior to purchase (based on the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992). As a seller, you are also responsible for Property Disclosure Statement and other legal certifications required based on the state where you belong.

For Sale By Owner VS Real Estate Agent: Overview

So, what’s the best way to sell?

The best decision for you is the one that could work best for you.  If you don’t want to worry and aren’t really into those complex processes of home-selling transactions, you can hire a real estate agent. But if you’re willing to save more thousands of commissions and would love to sell your home with your own sweat and blood, then choose For Sale By Owner. Just make sure you do good research and make the best unbiased decision during the transaction.

But why not make your DIY home-selling journey into the next level? Here’s how Houzeo can be a good alternative FSBO option for you.

Houzeo can offer a simpler and smoother option to sell your beloved home. It’s a great option for those who want to list their homes to reliable platforms—Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Homes, and 100s more! It’s a great alternative so you don’t have to work it alone and drown with so many complex processes.

  • Time-saving features and tools to make your listing easier. All documents and processes can be done with just a few clicks.
  • Our real estate broker can help you provide with seller disclosures, and help you walk through each step. To showcase your property to the market.
  • Worried that you have no buyer’s agent? Then, you don’t have to pay any commission at all—it’s that simple.


Did you know Houzeo’s Gold Plan provides relevant Federal and State Seller Disclosures?


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