Real Estate Investing
- FSBO or Agent, Which Is Best For You?

Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing - FSBO or Agent, Which is Best for You?

With the growth of the Internet, the prospect of 'going' FSBO - For Sale By Owner - as a method for selling your home is more attractive than ever.

One of the largest expenses involved in selling a property is the payment of an agent's commission - often in the 6% range. But agents do earn their money, by providing expertise on the market and sales process, by advertising widely and by assisting in the negotiation and closing phases of a sale.

Still, 6% of $200,000 is $12,000 and many find the prospect of keeping that money for themselves irresistible. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to use an agent or 'go' FSBO.

In order to sell a property quickly and profitably, you have to know the market. If your listed price is even 1% off the average you will either sit on the property for a long time or fail to make as much as you could have on the sale.

Beyond the need to get an accurate, professional appraisal - required whether FSBO'ing or using an agent ó agents can provide 'comps' listing the recent sale price of comparable properties. They also know the market and can often tell you whether your price is reasonable.

However, with the increasing availability of similar information on the Internet, FSBO is becoming a more realistic option. If you can access and analyze the data, FSBO may be for you.

Agents put your property in a database called an MLS, a Multiple Listing Service, to which other agents as well as potential buyers - through the agent - have access. MLS data is more difficult for the average person to gain access to and in some states you need a license to obtain the data. Almost in every case, one is required to be a member of the MLS service and pay a fee.

This is only the first step toward advertising your property far and wide to potential buyers. But, again, with the growth of Internet sites advertising homes for sale, along with other traditional options, you may find you no longer need the service once provided almost exclusively by agents.

Some individuals are natural negotiators and some have learned through long experience how to attract buyers and get the best deal. Some, though, will always be on the losing end of a proposition. Only you can decide how effective you can be in negotiating a fair, acceptable price and whether that process is enjoyable or torture.

Once you've listed the property, advertised it widely enough to attract buyers and negotiated a price one will accept, the most difficult part of the process begins. Every state and country has a long and complex list of laws about how a real estate transaction has to be carried out.

Deposits have to be made of the right amounts and at the right times in an escrow account, and insurance regulations have to be met. Title history is investigated and a hundred other details completed before ownership can be transferred and profits (if any) gained. If you don't have the knowledge or temperament for this sort of thing, FSBO is not for you.

But, on the bright side, there are dozens of books, Internet sites, and low-cost 'seller assistance' businesses that can guide you through the process, often at a much lower cost than agent commissions.


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