FSBO vs Sale by Agent..(For Sale by Agent)


By Rhea-Simone Auguste

©MoonLight Rental Ltd.

If you are thinking about selling your property, it may be a tempting idea to bypass use of an agency and sell your home solo. In fact, there are many For Sale By Owner {FSBO) properties on the market. However, the reality is if you lack the experience needed to close a real estate sale – your property may end up stuck on the market for months with no real offers. It may seem pricey but having an agent especially during a buyer’s market can make the difference between “For Sale” and “Sold”.

A good agent can help weed out the curious callers

FSBO sellers may have to sift through hundreds of calls – some from curious buyers who cannot afford your asking price, others from your neighbours who may want to know what improvements you’ve made so they can match their property price to yours.  A seasoned agent can easily identify these calls and can sift through the leads to find you more qualified buyers. Instead of a hundred people coming to your house to view without even making an offer, an agent may narrow the traffic so only genuinely interested buyers make it inside your home.

A good agent networks with other good agents

A good agent usually has strong networking skills and inside their network, they would have a list of agents they work alongside in their company and in other real estate companies.  Agents usually have ready clients interested in purchasing property in specific areas. If your area is on a wanted list, your buyer may come from your agent or another agent’s network.

Your agent absorbs the advertising costs

This one is a big factor and a lot of people don’t realize this. The average FSBO sellers in Trinidad and Tobago may have to spend a small fortune on advertising their property using typical print media. While this may be an effective solution for some FSBO sellers, many end up with a big bill and no real buyers. An agent absorbs the cost of all advertising for your property. It is in their interest to make sure your property is marketed attractively not just in print but now online and if necessary, on TV as well.  Advertising is expensive so when you factor in how much your agent will be paid from the sale of the property, bear in mind they may have spent as much as 35% of their commission in ads for your property.

Your agent handles viewings so you don’t have to interface with buyers

Buyers come armed with lots of questions ranging from practical to perplexing. An agent helps streamline the question process to ensure the focus remains on the value of the property being sold. A professional agent will know how to subdue the fears of a prospective buyer, assuring the buyer of the true property strengths and its key selling points. They know not to make the sale too personal or reveal private information about the sellers. Some FSBO sellers reveal too much when interfacing with clients eg. “I got my cousin to do the kitchen cupboards and he didn’t charge me much,” or “We have to sell this place fast because my wife and I are divorcing and she wants the cash now,” (both real examples, by the way).  In doing so, they may unwittingly open themselves to having to negotiate well beneath their original asking price.

Your agent will have the legal forms and paperwork hassle

Getting a property sold requires lots of paperwork. Purchase agreements must be made and banks require a lot of documents from sellers. Instead of having to drop documents to the bank for the buyer and pay legal fees for drafting purchase agreements, a seller using an agent can relax knowing their agent will handle the follow-up with the buyer to ensure a successful close.

To some, the process of selling a property may seem simple.  In reality, it is a challenging task especially when it is a buyer’s market or when the economy is stagnant. Having an agent handle the toughest parts means you get to focus on the most important parts of the process.