Some people think they can save money by selling their house themselves.  It's a little-known fact that only 12% of "For-Sale-By-Owners" are actually successful in selling their houses.  Of this group, over half end-up in court following the close of escrow.  The other 88% either list their properties with a real estate professional or remove it from the market after losing money and a lot of time.


Selling a house is a very complex process as you can see from the list of things an agent does to sell your property.  Even attorneys who are used to contracts and legal matters usually list their properties with a real estate agent.


The commission you pay a real estate agent to sell your house is usually deductible from the proceeds (consult your financial and/or tax advisor for the exact effect on your situation).  The precious time you spend on selling your own property is not deductible.


However, if you want to sell your property you should have the following characteristics to successfully sell your own house:


  •      Knowledge of contract law.
  •      Ability to negotiate with adverse parties.
  •      Knowledge of marketing and advertising.
  •      Available to show your property whenever buyers desire.
  •      Financial background to help buyers qualify for a loan.
  •      Extremely attentive to small details.




Even if you offer a commission to an agent who brings a buyer some agents won't work with a FSBO because they know they will have to do the work done by the listing agent in addition to their own.  It's usually easier to find another property where a listing agent represents the seller.


Keep in mind that because you have less ability to market your property you will have less access to buyers.  This can result in a lower net sales prices than if you had used the services of a real estate professional. 


If you are seriously considering selling your own house be sure to use a "For-Sale-By-Owner Guide".