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For Sale By Owner | 5 Reasons To Avoid Selling Yourself | Austin, TX

For Sale By Owner | 5 Reasons To Avoid Selling Yourself | Austin, TX

F.S.B.O. is viewed as B.S. by many potential homebuyers.

Yes, yes ... it's a real estate agent proclaiming that it is a BAD IDEA to try to sell your home without an agent.

After your eyes stop rolling, please read on. I make some very strong points here.

Example ... you live in a major subdivision where the builders are still building (even after all these years) and there are lots of homes for sale. But maybe you don't like it here. Maybe you're thinking about moving away and starting fresh with a new job and a new lease on life.

Got to sell the home first, though. Don't want to be a landlord, and who could blame you.

There seems to be a lot of traffic in your neighborhood, so maybe you think you can sell your home all by yourself. Don't need to spend all that money on a REALTOR®.

Heck, you know more about your house than anybody else. Really care about it! You are sure you can show off its wonderful unique qualities to an eager buyer. (Never mind that there are about 20 homes with the same floor-plan for sale right now)

But WAIT! I am here to tell you that you should not go it alone! Here are 5 great reasons to hire a real estate agent (preferably a REALTOR®) to help you sell your home:

1) Skittish Buyers: When the market is hot, sometimes people get lucky with a For Sale By Owner home because the demand is so high that some buyers will jump through hoops to find a home. But qualified buyers usually see buying a home from an unrepresented seller as a risk. And most buyers will not take that kind risk.

2) Emotional Rescue: Have you ever gotten into a confrontation with a neighbor about an alleged misdeed or breach of HOA rules? Can you imagine how unpleasant that might be? Well, that is quite possibly how a negotiation might go between two parties who are too emotionally invested in the outcome. When each side has a licensed negotiator working for them, there are checks, balances, and level heads to help keep things friendly and moving forward.

Sellers can suffer due to rose-colored glasses.3) 20/20 Blindness: You may very well have perfect vision, but chances are you have a nice set of rose-colored glasses you put on each time you look at your home. Unfortunately, those come from a custom prescription, and potential buyers don't have the same pair. A real estate agent can look at your home and suggest things you can do to make it sell faster for a better price.

4) A Lawsuit May Not Suit You: Suffice it to say that a home is probably the biggest investment your potential buyers will ever make. And there are many rules and regulations that are designed to protect the buyer, as well as the seller. There are very specific things a seller can't say or do when selling a property. And the courts don't accept ignorance of law as a defense. Real estate law is serious business. Guidance from a real estate professional can really help you stay out of hot water.

5) Market pricing: In a typical F.S.B.O. (For Sale By Owner), you are going to have trouble getting accurate figures on "sold" prices for the recently-sold homes in your area. An agent has access to all the final sales data you will need. (Grabbing a bunch of fliers from other homes for sale in your neighborhood and making an educated guess with the asking prices is NOT a good way to decide a sales price for your home)

I am Agent Aaron, and I am happy to offer my services to you. Call me at 512-845-4204 for a no-obligation phone consultation for any real estate questions you may have. And thanks for reading!

— — — 

Agent Aaron Vaughn | REALTOR©


Call or text @ 512-845-4204


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Comment balloon 45 commentsAaron Vaughn, REALTOR© 512-845-4204 • September 02 2010 01:15AM


Little harsh on #5 - not that I do not appreciate what we - Real Estate Agents - do for selling the home, but just thought I'd share my opinion on this.

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) almost 10 years ago

Hi Aaron - this is so funny - earlier tonight that show was on where they drive people around in a taxi and ask them questions - I think maybe they win money or something if they get enough of them right - anyway, one was - something like - brokers get less commission for the clue - and they had to answer what is F S B O? The people in the taxi didn't know, so they get to pull over on the street and ask some random person if they know what it means. Just so happened they did.

I love #4!!

Posted by Angela Penkin (RE/MAX Plus) almost 10 years ago

Praful: Point taken — and not even ignored! Must be your lucky day. (Adjustment made)

Angela: Thanks very much!

Posted by Aaron Vaughn, REALTOR© 512-845-4204, My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

Great points, Aaron. I can think of probably 20 more, but not as clever as you composed here. I especially like #4. :)

Posted by Kathy Smiley, Westlake Village, CA - "Making YOU Smile!" (Rodeo Realty ~ Fine Estates Westlake Village) almost 10 years ago

AWESOME points, Aaron!  We see the rare FSBO here but, they're just not successful and the liability simply would not be worth the risk just to avoid using a professional.

I recently read, I think it was from NAR, a statistic that stated that only 2% of FSBOs actually sell.  Those odds and the liability should be good enough reason for anyone not to try to FSBO--especially if they want to sell within a 5-year timeframe!!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 10 years ago

  Under the guise of saving money....if it worked sooo welll...wouldn't everyone do it ? FSBO's excuse danger because of course...they have/know an attorney....oh yeah, after the fact....very helpful...!

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 10 years ago

"Leave them alone and they'll come home."

I never understood why agents chase and hound FSBOs when we know, from history, that, sooner or later, they'll be reaching out to the real estate industry for help. 

In the mean time, I just might show and sell their home if it meets the needs of a buyer I represent.  I love FSBOs.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 10 years ago


When people try to sell their own homes it is always a case of penny wise - pound foolish. The money they are trying to save is usually used up in delays, price reductions and time lost on the market because they don't really know how to price the home or how to actually sell it. 


Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) almost 10 years ago


I have seen FSBO pricing errors that resulted in selling their property too low, misrepresentations and incomplete, erroneous, & fraudulent disclosures or lack thereof.

Posted by George Bennett, Inactive Principal Broker, GRI (Inactive) almost 10 years ago

Aaron, when selling a home with a REALTOR® it is an emotional experience. Selling by FSBO can be both an emotional and very stressful experience.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 10 years ago

Hi Aaron - LOVE #4 too - very clever; I just posted something similar to your #4 on FSBOs...something's in the air - too funny.  Julie

Posted by Julia Maher, Connecticut Home Stager (Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes) almost 10 years ago

All good points. I especially like number 4. That is one of the biggest "apparent" jobs we do. Then there are all the other things we do.....

Posted by Kathy Denworth, Realtor in the Florida Keys, Islamorada, Key Largo (Century 21 Schwartz Realty) almost 10 years ago

I like the 20/20 blindness one best. You learn a lot of neat verbiage on AR to use in your own market!

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge almost 10 years ago

Aaron - This is a really great list!  It's hard to understand why some folks want to go it alone (I save some money) BUT for all the headaches and possible heartaches, it is not worth it!  Especially in today's market, having someone help you navigate the selling process is super important!! Thank you for posting this!

Posted by Jeanna Martinez (RE/MAX Access) almost 10 years ago

Very good post on this topic, I especially like #3 because it's something many FSBO's don't think about. I understand why someone sells by owner but don't like working with them.

Posted by Dan and Amy Schuman, Luxury Home Specialists (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 10 years ago

Aaron, great seeing you on the front page here. I agree with all your points and frankly, trying to sell in a neighborhood where the builders are your biggest competition is very difficult to overcome! Also number 5 is not that far off base, lawsuits happen more often than fols might imagine!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

FSBO's always need reminding of all the pitfalls involved! I love the part about 20/20 blindness and the custom prescription! I'll definitely use that!

Posted by Caroline Gosselin (Prominent Properties Sotheby's International Realty) almost 10 years ago

Aaron - good points and well presented.  I love th epoodle btw.  The underwater FSBO is everywhere in this part of the state - people in a panic, desperate to sell an overpriced home - prescription for disaster - thanks for your post!

Posted by Peggy Noel, Bouchard, ABR, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Commonwealth) almost 10 years ago

Aaron, FSBOs are appealing as a concept to some people, because thier believe is - once you strike out the agent, you get yourself a great deal. As George mentions in #10 - some sellers price their properties too low. So, potential buyers hope for this to happen (but in reality FSBOs are usually overpriced...)

But what some sellers forget about, is creating exposure, and it doesn't happen sometimes...

Posted by Anna Tolstoy (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 10 years ago

I think most FSBO's have an unrealistic perception of the market, after all, they're not selling a washer or a stero set. This is a tough market right now and they need all the expertise they can get to get their property sold.

Posted by Bernadine Hunter, SFR, ACRE, "Finding Solution to Your Real Estate Needs" (Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realty) almost 10 years ago

Aaron - you've done an excellent job here, outlining the major reasons to not go it alone. It's amazing how many sellers I have talked with lean on Zillow as their source of value information. Pretty risky if you ask me, especially in our area. And that's just one example.

We also have a lot of required forms in our CA transactions, and a seller on their own won't know about these nor how to handle them. Nor with the buyers.

We don't see many FSBOs around here, at least if they are it's not obvious, which is another problem for them. I have seen a couple where the home has been out there for over a year. Hmmm.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) almost 10 years ago

Excellent post!  As you mentioned, in this market you need a REALTOR more than ever.  Compared to 2005 - 2006, I know that I probably work 5 (or even 10) times harder to sell a home.  I also liked #4 -- even the most detail-oriented seller needs to have a professional evaluate their home.

Congrats on the feature! 

Posted by Kerry Lucasse, Your Urban Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant (eXp Realty - Urban Nest Real Estate Group) almost 10 years ago


#4 is priceless!

Posted by Coleen Donovan, Frisco Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Frisco) almost 10 years ago

There is so much involved, like disclosure laws, anti discrimination laws, that can get an owner in trouble. Getting, using, and understanding the standard local Association of Realtors contract is a must, and the average home owner has no knowledge at all about contracts.

Posted by Bill Travis, Broker/Owner (Captain Bill Realty, LLC) almost 10 years ago

I have watched so many homes languish on the market with the "for sale by owner" sign in the front yard but there is always that one lucky seller who all the others hang their hopes on.  If you are not a mechanic, would you try to fix your own car?  Buyers are also wary of purchasing directly from an owner so they enlist a realtor and the seller pays a commission anyway.

Posted by Marnie Matarese, Showing you the best of Sarasota! (DWELL REAL ESTATE) almost 10 years ago


I've had a busy morning, so it took me awhile to sign in. Now I see I have a featured post AND two of my called shots made it!

Nice way to start the day online ...

Thanks to all the comments; I will respond to specific comments after lunch.

Posted by Aaron Vaughn, REALTOR© 512-845-4204, My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

Aaron, congratulations on a well-earned "feature" post!  Excellent information for those who think they don't need our services!  ~ Susan

Posted by Susan Laxson CRS (Premier Properties of the Desert) almost 10 years ago

When speaking to FSBO's I always leave them a brief outline on Real Esate and Basic Property Law that includes web address's to sites like the Department of Justice, HUD, state real estate law and the Cornell Law site.  Hey, I'm just trying to be helpful!


Posted by Karl Hess, on The Jersey Shore (Keller Williams Shore Properties) almost 10 years ago

Excellent topic.  Normally I find that when dealing with FSBOs showing up with a BPO is often helpful and offering some limited free advice.

Posted by Michael Lee, Your Credit & Housing Solution Provider (Home Sweet Home ) almost 10 years ago

nice list Aaron

thanks for sharing....

6. Letting strangers into your house... you've got the FBI database at your fingertips, correct?

Posted by Vince McEveety (Gilleran Griffin Realty) almost 10 years ago

Great post Aaron. Let those FSBO's come running to our door!

Posted by Duane Murphy, Broker- Owner-Real Estate - (Expert Real Estate Partners LLC) almost 10 years ago

These are excellent reasons to not go it alone. 

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) almost 10 years ago

Excellent reminder to FSBO's. Unfortunately, there are no shortage of FSBO-firms who are telling them "You can do it...just give us a few $hundred$ to help you. Has NAR (or anyone else) ever done the statistical work showing FSBO-started, REALTOR-finished ratios? It would be very interesting, and a number we could toss to those wannabees.

Posted by Curt Hess, Luxury Home Consultant, Team Leader & CEO (ExecuHome Realty) almost 10 years ago

#3 is a great point, having a "licensed negotiator" on each side who are not emotionally attached to the property, will smooth the whole home selling/buying process.

Vince McEveety’s comment makes a really good point: letting complete strangers into a home is not smart and can be dangerous. Us as agents are responsible for who is let into a home and there is record of who goes into the home.

Posted by Andrew Stutz (Rock Solid Real Estate Co.) almost 10 years ago

Aaron, thank you for the good ammunition to use when trying to list these fsbos. What a tough sector to work!

Posted by Mark Montross, Listing and Buyer Specialist (Catamount Realty Group) almost 10 years ago

Agent Aaron - and getting prices of solds from court records and other published sources provide no indication of what concessions might have been made or other terms which may have affected the price.

Curt Hess - I think you might find your answer in NAR's annual profile of home buyers and sellers.

Posted by Mike Saunders (Lanier Partners) almost 10 years ago

Hi Aaron,  Your " 20-20 " point helps understand why so many sellers stay one step behind the market and chase the market downward.

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) almost 10 years ago

The other issue is loan trauma and qualifying the buyers so you don't have big problems down the road.  Nothing is worse than taking a home off the market after going under contract and assuming that the home is sold - only to have the buyers unable to secure a loan. It can waste weeks if not months of time.  Now granted, these days it has happened to all of us at one point or another.  But its rare.  Most FSBO's don't know how to qualify a buyer. I would think that having the deal fall apart during the contract phase would be a major issue for many FSBO sales.

Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) almost 10 years ago

It's a good list, and the proof is in the pudding since most FSBOs give up and list when they realize selling their home alone isn't a tea party. 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) almost 10 years ago
Nice article, Aaron! Trying to navigate the Real Estate jungle without a guide is like.... well... trying to navigate a jungle without a guide!
Posted by StepStone Realty, Freedom to Succeed (StepStone Realty, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Thanks to everybody who stopped by here!

I appreciate the additional suggestions for the list, especially the one about strangers in the home. That's a biggy!

This is not a post I expected to be featured at all. Guess you just never know what to expect around here. =)

Posted by Aaron Vaughn, REALTOR© 512-845-4204, My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

I like your new blog header!  FSBO's are a hard sell, especially in this market.  There's a lot, and if they need to sell short . . . yikes!  In Oregon a FSBO is required to make the same disclosures and know what to do in a sale.  They can't say "Oh, I didn't know I had to do that."  If they sell on their own, they're required to follow all the rules in a transactions as an licensed agent would.

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) almost 10 years ago

Your post is both clever and accurate.  In today's world of real estate, FSBOs are a tough road!

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) almost 10 years ago


3-5 years after the deal, the lawsuits show up. If that is the case, I would get appropriate expertise going in and.... peace of mind on the back end too....isnt that what money is for?

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) almost 10 years ago

Utilizing a Realtor to sell your home is a much easier experience. It is well worth the money!

Posted by Ryan Case, 877-828-0710 (SCA Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

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