Due to the enormous amount of information on the web and technology available, most sellers believe they can approach the exhausting task of selling their home themselves. However, even with those tools, I feel that most sellers would be wise to hire an experienced and aggressive Realtor. In only a few circumstances would I ever recommend a home owner try to sell their home themselves, such as not having any equity in the property or having such a unique home that no marketing is necessary. In every other situation, when sellers hire a Realtor, studies show time and again, that they stand to sell their home for more money. In fact, some studies show that homes sold by Realtors sell for an average of 32% more than homes sold privately (NAR). Even the most conservative estimates supplied by a reputable source suggest that Realtors can generally bring a seller between 8-10% more, well above the commission charged by most agents. There are many reasons why good Realtors bring so much value and why it pays to hire just such an agent. On the flip side, hiring a bad Realtor actually decreases value and should be avoided even more than selling on your own. Here are seven reasons why hiring well will pay you back in selling price and time on the market. 1) Most home sellers are cheap! – So are a lot of Realtors, so don’t take it too personally! Marketing your house should be one of your most important jobs, and good marketing doesn’t come inexpensively. If you aren’t ready to pay for all of the marketing tools that selling a house requires, maybe you aren’t ready to sell your house FSBO. To properly prepare and present a house, you should expect to pay somewhere around $1,000, maybe more if your home is in poor shape. If this is a dollar amount that you are not prepared to pay, you may be better off hiring a Realtor who will invest their own money to properly market your home. 2) Realtor cooperation – Most Realtors don’t like working with FSBO sellers, for a number of reasons, and won’t show the properties to their clients unless specifically requested. The most obvious reason they won’t show FSBOs is that Realtors aren’t sure they will get paid, and no one likes to work for free. In addition, there are legal liabilities when working with FSBOs that aren’t present with other Realtor listed properties. If Realtors sell over 85% of all homes on the market, and the huge majority of Realtors won’t show your home, you have effectively reduced the pool of prospective buyers by a huge percentage, and are less likely to find a qualified buyer willing to pay your price in the time frame you had hoped for. 3) Availability – If your home is for sale, and no one really knows about it, is your home really for sale? How are most people going to find out about a new listing on the market? They find out through the MLS and all of its affiliates through real estate companies websites. But if your home isn’t on the MLS, how are potential buyers going to find it. You are basically limiting yourself to a sign in the front yard and by word of mouth, again, greatly reducing the pool of potential buyers. 4) Value buyers – Another problem FSBOs run into is buyers who make ridiculously low offers. These are typically people who are attracted to homes sold FSBO and normally don’t view homes listed on the MLS. They are looking for a home where they think that they can save a lot of money, and don’t want to deal with a professional, and so won’t call Realtors. However, when they find homes not listed with a Realtor, they know they found someone who isn’t paying a Realtor’s commission, and then they think that commission is now up for grabs in the purchase price. The problem is, this is the same savings that the seller is looking for! Now we have two parties, each trying to save the same money. It can’t work! As a FSBO, you are generating buyers who are looking to pay as little as possible, the exact opposite of what you really want! 5) Lack of knowledge – There is more to selling your house than marketing and finding a buyer. What happens next? You have legal obligations as a seller, and many FSBOs are not aware of the necessary paperwork and their responsibilities. This is why FSBO homeowners are more likely to be sued after the transaction than the owners of homes sold by Realtors. Realtors are required by law to achieve a level of legal competency in order to obtain their license, and must attend continuing education in order to keep their license year after year. This training allows Realtors to fully understand changing laws and issues in a way most FSBOs simply are not in a position to understand. 6) Showings – Who is going to show your house? You? During lunch? Most viewings of property occurs during the normal workday each and every week. But most home sellers work, which means that you may be in the difficult position of speaking to someone who may be interested in seeing your house, but you can’t show it at time that is convenient to them. If the client is always right, as the saying goes, and you can’t open up your house on their schedule, how do you think that affects future showings or negotiations? In addition, who is that person coming through your house? What do you know about them? Without a licensed Realtor, and a computerized lock box with electronic records, you don’t know who you are opening your house for. 7) Emotional attachment – Most homesellers, FSBO or not, think their house is worth more than it actually is. That is why most people’s initial inclination is to price their home too high. Without a good Realtor’s guidance, most FBOs price their home too high, and set themselves up for long market times and very low offers. In addition, if you are lucky enough to find a decent buyer, the act of negotiation can be costly for most FSBOs. If you are negotiating on your own behalf, directly with the buyer, they may be able to sense some weakness, or willingness, to sell, and that tell could cost you thousands of dollars. Many FSBOs get emotionally connected with the potential buyer, and this connections almost always works to the benefit of the buyer, and not the seller. There are more reasons that I have not detailed that make it more difficult to sell FSBO than hiring a Realtor, but these seven reasons ought to be enough! Make sure you hire a good Realtor, one who is willing to spend the necessary money to market your house aggressively, but make sure you hire a Realtor! It will save you thousands of dollars and months on the market, and you will be eternally thankful!