For sale by owner: The pitfalls of cutting out the broker

Only 8% of home sellers didn't use an agent last year

It’s not easy going it alone.

Only 8 percent of U.S. home sellers in 2017 didn’t use a broker, according to a survey of 7,866 home buyers released by the National Association of Realtors in October. Homes that were listed last year with a real-estate agent had a median sales price of $250,000, while those sold by owners had a median price of $190,000, the Wall Street Journal reported based on the NAR survey.

Owners listing their own homes often don’t have access to the Multiple Listing Service.

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“Even if they create a website for their property, how are they pushing that out to potential buyers using search-engine optimization or other tools?” David Dweck, Florida-based a real estate agent with Signature Real Estate. “How are they using social media properly unless they are marketing-savvy, which most aren’t and don’t have the time for?”

Websites like Fizber.com post for-sale-by-owner listings for free, and offer paid services like video tours and listing the home on MLS. The latter, however, requires paying a 3 percent commission to the selling agent.

Experts say that owners should hire an appraiser to help accurately price the property and a real estate attorney to guide them through the sale process. Buyers offering cash should also be required to provide bank or investment statements to show they have enough funds. [WSJ] — Kathryn Brenzel