By Wes Hoover

Here are 9 things FSBO companies don’t want consumers to know.

1. They charge upfront (in most cases thousands). Agents don’t.

When it comes down to it, listing with an agent shouldn’t cost you a cent. I know you probably read that a few times. Agents don’t charge upfront, we only charge when results are provided. This gives you an advantage in more than one way. On the other hand I have heard of individuals paying upwards of $2,000 upfront just for a sign and a spot on a website, only to end up having their house listed and sold by an agent.

2. They aren’t held to any code of ethics.

Real estate agents across Canada are held to a strict code of ethics by CREA. They take the liability if something goes wrong. They are also held to higher standards in advertising and they have duties to you as a client.

3. Just because you’re a real estate professional does not mean you’re rich or overpaid.

This has been the fuel for many slanderous ad campaigns released by popular for sale by owner websites over the years. The truth of the matter is, if it was that easy and they got paid a “small fortune” to sell a house, everyone would get into the business. Selling homes is hard work. Agents often find themselves working for free and hoping to receive a commission.

Consider this situation: A buyer has his agent show him 30 houses over the course a month. The agent spends hours of his time to assist the buyer. The buyer decides not to buy. The agent has worked for free and lost money on expenses. This is a common situation.

4. They can’t put your home on the MLS system.

This system was built by Realtors for Realtors. No one is allowed to list a property on it unless they have a license to trade in real estate. These websites will just refer you to an agent (how ironic), often one from the other side of the country, to put your home on the MLS and nothing else. In most cases the listing won’t even be on your local MLS board, making it sometimes hard to find.

5. They actually petition agents to sell their houses.

After years of bashing the profession, certain for sale by owner websites are now calling on agents to come to their rescue, so they can take credit for selling homes. Tell me another business model where you ask your competition to do the work for you. This is really an admission of one thing – serious buyers go to an agent. Why? Because it will cost you nothing to buy through an agent.

6. They don’t have a real estate license.

This is something a lot of people do not realize. These so called “private sale” websites are just that. They are not licensed to trade in real estate or to give you real estate advice. They can’t even advise you on how to price your property because doing this would fall under an agency relationship and would be considered trading in real estate. That requires a license. These parameters are set in place to protect you, the consumer.

7. You pay them so you can do all the work.

Since these companies are not licensed to trade in real estate they are not permitted to represent you in a real estate transaction. This means they can’t answer buyer inquiries for you, show your home, host open houses, handle paper work, mediate negotiations, advise you on market conditions…and the list goes on and on.

8. Privates sales carry a stigma and uncertainties that make buyers uncomfortable.

Ever gone to view a private sale as a buyer? Then you know it can be extremely uncomfortable and limiting to view someone’s house with them in it. It can be even more uncomfortable to negotiate with them. On top of all this, private sales beg the question, why didn’t they use an agent? Is there something wrong with the house? If they are trying to cut costs now, did they cut costs/corners with repairs?

9. Agents don’t hate for sale by owners.

These companies would have you believe that agents think FSBOs are ignorant. This isn’t the case. We get why you would want to go this route. It can be done, but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Like many DIY projects you are putting yourself at risk. In this case you are taking a risk with the biggest investment of your life. It will not be an easy process.

Wes Hoover webIn the end, in today’s buyers’ markets you need an agent who will work tirelessly for you to get your home noticed above the thousands of others on the market.  Just remember that limited service will always equal limited results and if it seems too good to be true, it is more times than not.

Wes Hoover is a sales rep with Moncton Area Homes Team, HomeLife Premier Property Group. 506-962-2522; Email; website


  • Pros and Cons of Selling Your Own Home

    If you want to sell your home in Hawaii and walk away with the most money, should you go it alone?

    “For Sale By Owner“ also known as a FSBO – is real estate lingo meaning For Sale By Owner. Its pronounced “Fizzbow” When the time comes, should you become a FSBO and try to sell your own home?

    Improving Market Conditions

    The Real Estate market in Hawaii is changing. Prices peaked in Hawaii real estate a few years ago and many observers see glimmers of hope on the horizon. Buyers want to take advantage of shockingly low interest rates. In theory, if you sell directly to a buyer, you might be able to net more and increase your bottom line. If so, why would you want to pay the high commissions and reduce your net proceeds? In fact, selling yourself can be a risky game for amateurs in today’s complicated world.

    How Hard Could It Be?

    It sounds simple. Buyers see your ad, contact you and take a look at your home. Someone will quickly fall in love with your place and make a great offer. They will get a mortgage and the deal closes no problem. Is this realistic? Yes and no. It can and occasionally does work like this, but that is not typical.

    If you get past the initial negotiations over price and terms, that’s the first hurdle. But even after going into escrow nearly every sale has at least one “Issue”. It could be a problem with the title to the property or an easement. Maybe there is something inconsistent in the purchase contract, a home inspection issue, financing problem, or a difficult tenant.

    Experienced REALTORS know how to avoid most problems in advance, and how to resolve them when they come up. How will your skills stack up to the professionals? If you are representing yourself, and the buyer has their own agent (as most do), will you be able to hold your own against an agent whose job is to get the most for the buyer?

    Take the Challenge

    Take the fun quiz below to find out if you have the skills to become a FSBO. Perhaps you will learn that you need to brush up a bit on your marketing, negotiating, and contract knowledge before getting into the trenches.

    Now let’s see if you have what it takes to sell your own home:

    The FSBO Challenge- True or False

    ___ 1. I have lots of time and am easy to reach. I have a flexible schedule to devote to the planning, preparation, and showing of my home whenever it is convenient to a buyer.

    ___ 2. I know how to screen prospects and I’m OK with letting strangers into my home for Open Houses and showings without sacrificing my security.

    ___ 3. I will stay out of their way when they view my home, and I won’t take it personally if they criticize it

    ___ 4. I know where and how to advertise for results. I have marketing experience to apply to my home sale through the MLS, Internet, newspaper, color flyers, professional quality photos, and more – and a budget to spend on these items.

    ___ 5. I can price my home competitively, not subjectively, and I have studied the current real estate trends and the home sales in my neighborhood.

    ___ 6. I understand that buyers typically have their own buyer’s agent representing them at no cost to them. I know that they may not feel comfortable negotiating directly with me as owner.

    ___ 7. I realize that “courtesy to buyer’s agent” doesn’t mean I smile and serve cookies. It means that I am expected to pay around 3% to the buyers agent for their work.

    ___ 8. I can comfortably negotiate with buyers on price and terms, without becoming emotionally involved or eroding my position. I know how to compromise to achieve my goal.

    ___ 9. I am an attorney or am willing to hire one to help me understand the Purchase Offer, which is frequently revised and can be 15 – 40 pages long. I am prepared to make counter offers, addenda, and amendments as needed, and I have the technology to create and send digital documents as needed.

    _____10. I am comfortable going through the steps needed to qualify a buyer for the mortgage (if applicable), and how to verify the buyer’s cash funds

    _____11. I know how to comply with the latest Federal and State requirements. This includes seller’s disclosures, toxic substances (asbestos, lead, mold, etc.), building permits, tenants rights, as well as condo and subdivision documents. I know what I can and can’t say and do regarding “Megan’s Law” and Federal and State Fair Housing laws.

    _____12. I am prepared to arrange for inspections and appraisals, and I understand the role of the other professionals involved in the sale such as home inspectors, appraisers, escrow and title officers, contactors, flea treatment companies, and more.

    _____13. After spending the time, trouble, and cash to market my home, I’m convinced that my “bottom line” will be greater than if I just paid a Realtor to handle the sale.

    Score Yourself:
    The number of TRUE answers will indicate your chance of being a successful For Sale By Owner

    1-4 = Stick to lemonade stands. You couldn’t sell popcorn at the theater much less your own home!

    5-7 = If you like gambling in Vegas, give it a try. Your odds are about the same.

    8-10 = You have some of the skills needed. Keep your favorite Realtor’s number handy.

    11-13 = Go For It, and Good Luck!

    Flunked the Test?

    The National Association of REALTORS says that nationwide, over 90% of sellers use an agent. In Hawaii thanks to complex laws, an abundance of hungry attorneys, and challenging forms, the percentage is probably higher.

    Passed with flying colors?? I might be a little biased, but you might still want to hire an expert. This little quiz is just the tip of the iceberg of hazards that can arise even with careful planning and the best of intentions.

    It costs you nothing to talk to a real estate professional about selling your home before you decide what path to take. Remember that even if you decide to list your home, your Realtor only gets paid if and when they close the deal for you. You risk nothing. And if you think that hiring a professional is too expensive, consider what is at stake with selling your most valuable possession.

    If you are determined to go it alone after careful study and preparation, best of luck. I wish you smooth sailing and a fat check at closing.

    For further questions or you wish a no-cost consultation with an experienced professional, please email me directly at or go to

    Every sale has it’s own unique challenges, and I learned from each one how to improve the process and the outcome.

    Realty Hawaii Group
    (808) 747-9670

  • Travis Sawrie

    Great insight! As we saw with’s CEO hiring an agent, even FSBO company employees understand the value of hiring a Realtor! If someone can successfully sell their home by themselves, I respect that because it’s beating the odds. But it’s not common.

    Home sellers wanting to save money should search “compare top listing” agents, and you can find services that connect you with top local agents that help you save money at the same time.

  • Alan M.

    A box of breakfast cereal will usually sell for market value – assuming that it sells within a certain time frame. However, like anything that can go stale, it would need to get marked down at some point, to move it. To suggest that Real Estate will sell for market value regardless of how it’s marketed, is tantamount to repudiating marketing, as an industry, it its own right. The only reason that someone would spout such nonsense, is because it suits their business agenda.
    A fee, is always a fee, whether it is $100.00 dollars, or $100,000.00 dollars. Value added dollars, are not a fee. If a real estate professional suggests a list price that is too low, or takes too long to sell a property, a value added commission level will become a fee – even if it hadn’t been described as a fee, initially. This discussion is really about how much a seller nets, and when people try to make it about fees, one should question what’s the purpose of the distraction.
    A long time ago, before I became a licensed practitioner, I attempted to sell one of my own homes privately. I soon learned that it was pointless to try and sell this way, but when you haven’t been a part of this industry you can’t be expected to understand it. Actually, many industry insiders don’t have a sophisticated understanding of how our industry works, and yet others may be offering disinformation because it’s expeditious to their business model.
    Jerry Bresser has a good sense of how our industry works, and it’s important that people like him step up. However, at times, some higher profile trainers have been harmful towards promoting this industry. I recently watched an American trainer, in an online video, ask some new recruits if they thought that any one of them could sell a home for more money than another agent. The newbies gave the answer they sensed was being solicited: “no”.
    In my experience, there’s no one thing that causes a home sale to be successful, but you only need to screw up one thing, for it to be unsuccessful. The way a competent real estate professional sells a home for more money than a competitor, is by doing the job right! As long as we disagree amongst ourselves about our potential value added, we shouldn’t be surprised about some consumers being tempted to sell privately.

  • Owners who sell by them selves and FSBO agencies who encourage “selfies” aren’t insured to protect the Buyers or themselves. Why? Neither entering the trade relationship are registered to trade or are part of a professional organization that establishes rules, regs, codes, accountability and education. The result may be financial and legal consequences. The risks increase in variety and magnitude to be a FSBO, calculated or otherwise? They do have a “right” but are they duly advised prior to exercising that right? And whose responsibility is that? Due diligence belongs to the individual who conducts the activity.

  • Consumer Advocate

    Fear Mongering
    Wes you state: “Like many DIY projects you are putting yourself at risk. In this case you are taking a risk with the biggest investment of your life. It will not be an easy process.”

    Fear is often used to manipulate consumers into making decisions that may not be in their best interests. FSBO is a viable option for consumers to sell their property. Unless Realtors do something about their huge commissions, and improve their level of service more and more consumers will choose this selling option in the future.

    With the help of Realtors there are lots of ways that consumers can reduce their RISK in selling by way of Private Sale or FSBO MLS.

    • Jerry Bresser

      Consumer Advocate: check out NAR annual statistics. They show more than a 10% difference in median selling prices of by-owner v agent-assisted sales. Is it ‘fear mongering’ to advise the by-owner?

      • Consumer Advocate


        Jerry, I’m not sure about the 10% +- since the study was done by NAR using their statistics / #’s. I am convinced that using a professional Realtor is a wise move for most consumers when selling their home. This is why 80-90% of sellers will continue using a Realtor to sell their properties in the future. However, selling fsbo / privately will always be a viable option for some consumers.

        There are a # of real estate companies that are offering flat fee services to consumers. Trying to compete offering low low fees is not the answer in my opinion. Most consumers want to deal with an HONEST, PROFESSIONAL, EXPERIENCED REAL ESTATE AGENT OFFERING REAL SERVICES FOR A FAIR FEE. I am convinced that if the number of Realtors in Canada were reduced by say 50%, that the consumers would be better served by the real estate industry. The enemy is not FSBO companies that offer services to assist the FSBO to sell privately, but the 50,000+- part time Realtors in the business. There is simply not enough business for ALL the 100,000 +- Realtor members to make a decent living. The part time Realtor can list and sell properties, but many would not even qualify for a mortgage to purchase their own home based on their RE earnings.

        Perhaps someone will come up with a new real estate model that will better serve the future needs of both Realtors and consumers. At the moment the existing RE model is not working in their best interests.

  • Hard Working Realtor

    Wes has some very good points but there is always another side to the coin…or spin if you prefer.
    1. They charge upfront (in most cases thousands). Agents don’t.
    True and false. You are obviously referring to FSBO companies, but seldom do they charge thousands as Wes might imply. More often its a fee in the hundreds to simply access the MLS System and get pictures that are often better than most Realtors provide. However, there are now full service Realtors offering their services for a fee.

    2. They aren’t held to any code of ethics.
    True, FSBO companies are not held to a code of ethics but the brokerage they list the home through is and that brokerage is responsible for the information loaded onto the MLS System. The mere posting however, allows Realtors and brokers to free themselves of the liability often associated with a traditional listing.

    3. Just because you’re a real estate professional does not mean you’re rich or overpaid.

    I don’t think there’s an implication that all Realtors are rich. Rather the implication is that the services provided do not reflect the fees charged. And the argument that Realtors do on average 4-6 deals a year or don’t sell many of the homes that they list does not justify to the public those fees.

    Your scenario of a buyer agent showing 30 houses over the course a month and not getting paid doesn’t justify high fees either. As a seller I don’t care that you’re willing to risk your time and energy on someone not committed or prepared to pay for that time.

    4. They can’t put your home on the MLS system.

    True there needs to be more disclosure here because the public is truly being misled. You should have to list your home through the local board. Period.
    But what is false is that FSBO companies who now own licensed brokerage can put their customers on the MLS and they are doing it as mere postings.

    5. They actually petition agents to sell their houses.
    True. But so does every other Realtor out there petition other agents to sell their home. In fact, the majority of homes listed are sold by other Realtors from other brokerages.

    6. They don’t have a real estate license.
    True. But FSBO companies are hiring licensed Realtors. However, the best and most experienced Realtors will never work in that environment.

    7. You pay them so you can do all the work.
    True but most sellers understand this and are prepared to take the risk.

    8. Private sales carry a stigma and uncertainties that make buyers uncomfortable.
    Very true. Most buyers are very uncomfortable with sellers being present an that’s why we see that segment not being as popular as it once was.

    9. Agents don’t hate for sale by owners.
    True. But there are some very capable of doing it on their own just as there are some great DIY projects.

    In the end, most consumers want to use Realtors they just cannot justify the high fees. And in many cases Realtors have failed consumers and it’s our industry that has contributed greatly to the success of FSBO companies.
    There is always another side to the coin!

  • Brian Martindale

    Hi Wes:
    You make some excellent points. I would add a few words, however, a qualifier, to be exact, to the first sentence in your last paragraph. “In today’s buyers’ markets you need an (experienced, well qualified, well intentioned and professionally acting advocate-style Realtor) who will work…for you…” Just any old registrant with a license will not do.

  • Humbled

    great article!!! …

  • MarkoJ

    I don’t own a FSBO company but I do offer mere postings (flat fee listings) in Victoria, B.C. in addition to my full service offerings. Last year I was involved in 38 sold listings (14 mere postings, 24 full service) and I represented 38 buyers as well so I am well versed on how the system works for a multitude of angles.

    1. The average SFH in Victoria is $600,000 and the listing portion of the commission may be 3.0%100k+1.5%balance or $10,500. On my mere postings the fee is $800 up front and a $700 success fee on the back end. The list to sales ratio on my mere postings is the market average of approximately 50%. If you do the math the upfront $800 is a risk well worth taking for a seller who is looking to save and is willing to take on some of the work.

    I don’t have time today to rebut the other 8 arguments you made but these types of articles don’t help our profession in my opinion. For example, you note “Just remember that limited service will always equal limited results and if it seems too good to be true, it is more times than not,” without any reference or conclusive evidence.

    “In this case you are taking a risk with the biggest investment of your life,” scare tactic 101.

    “Selling homes is hard work,” and other jobs are easy?

    “Consider this situation: A buyer has his agent show him 30 houses over the course a month. The agent spends hours of his time to assist the buyer. The buyer decides not to buy. The agent has worked for free and lost money on expenses. This is a common situation.”

    I’ve also had buyers buy after showing them 3 homes. I’ve also listed properties that have sold in 1 day.

    Etc., etc.

    • Jerry Bresser

      MarkoJ: What percentage of your mere listings are sold direct to buyer (no buyer commission paid) and what percentage are sold where an agent represents the buyer and a buyers side commission is asked for and granted by the seller who needs to get the home sold?
      Additionally, are you prepared to show and prove that such sales give the seller the fullest and highest selling price?
      Most sellers or agents do not examine the final result but my general experience, based on reports from agents I train and coach, is that by-owners completing sales directly to buyers or via mere postings lose more in the selling price than they gain in commission saved.

      • Hard Working Realtor

        Jerry are you able to prove sellers are getting their highest and best price when using a Realtor? That would be a great question to pose to the agents making that claim? Fact is its tough to answer with any real accuracy. I can say that I have seen FSBO exceed Realtor sales because they have uneducated buyers coming to them making uneducated or emptional decisions and are sometimes pressured to to make a bad decision by the seller.

        There will be times youre proven wrong and times youre proven right. In an active sellers market youre likely to be proven wrong. Sellers can easily compare what their home sold versus thier neighbour in a fair timeframe and if they didnt have to pay commissions then they win. Period.

      • MarkoJ

        Properties sell at market value. My mere postings sell at market value, my full service listings sell at market value. This is the reality, every agent claims they are a “top negotiator,” so really the 1225 “top negotiators,” that we have in Victoria, B.C. cancel each other out and properties sell at market value.
        The difference between my mere postings and full service listings is not about the highest selling price, as properties sell at market value, it is more about how much of the work the consumer would like to take on? If they want to take on work and they are comfortable doing it there is an opportunity to save.
        I would be plain out lying if I said my full service listings net more on average, they don’t.
        Let me give you this example. 10th floor unit in a building listed for $299,900 with a full service realtor. Identical 11th floor unit in same building listed for $294,900 via mere posting. Both on MLS. The reality is in this day and age the 11th floor unit has a better chance of selling and a better chance of netting more. Plan and simple.

  • leo

    Great article. So true.
    In all cases, the FSBO is not told the truth by the FSBO Company on what it involves in negotiating, trading and closing the Real Estate transaction. In all cases, not told that the FSBO is not qualified to understand the Real Estate Clauses and would in addition require the aid of a Solicitor at an additional cost(s). In all cases, not told that the potential Buyer would not use a realtor because they are looking for a steel of a deal and target the less experienced or desperate Sellers.

    I can go on, but you get the point and we know the truth.

    They weave the web to their advantage to receive the up front
    compensation and good by Seller. They use slander language and
    comments towards licenced realtors and yet they are allowed to use
    and be part of our system.

    Can you just imagine if I used that type of language towards any
    fellow realtors?

    I’m not at all worried about this type of FSBO activity. As you
    all well know, they are still depending on licensed Real Estate
    Agents to show and sell their homes, it’s like dealing with a selling
    Broker wanting you to show his listing and not compensate for your

    I blame the higher authorities for allowing this type of two tear
    system to exist and not holding the FSBO companies at the same level
    of standards.

    We have been on an upswing market for a while now making Real
    Estate seem simple to transact and it has allowed for these types of
    companies to survive. Changing markets will come, and the consumer
    will soon realize the true need of a Realtor to the point where they will offer over and above the standard commission. I’ve been there!

  • Downtown_Agent

    Terrific write up. You could have mentioned that the people who handle all their legal battles (lawyers) never try to sell themselves

  • Absolutely fantastic article! Wes, I’d be interested in reading anything else you’ve written.

    On a side note, ever since the market peaked in 2008-2009, I’ve noticed less and less FSBOs, including ones by the seller themselves or through the FSBO companies that charge $700+ to simply put the sign on your property and add a few photos to their website with the seller’s name and phone number. I can think of just one on my way to my office which is about 20 minutes way from my home.

    In fact, in early 2010, I decided to contact all the FSBOs on a certain website, and over 2/3 of the same properties were listed after by an agent, but had never been removed from the FSBO website. There didn’t appear to be any follow up from this particular FSBO company in determining if the sellers had sold their property, if they required any updates to their listing, or if they were content with the service.

    All the best from VIctoria BC!

  • Paul from Fraser valley bc

    Not entirely accurate in my experience.

  • Norman

    Your article is out of date by about two years.I do not what planet you are from but FSBO’S are allowed on the MLS and the companies that promote the them are doing so by having a licensed realtor work for them. The FSBO’S not directly represented. It is called a posting and they can offer a selling realtor whatever they want….even a dollar. Their listing has full exposure on MLS. The points you make had relevance 5 years ago but not now.

    • berwick

      its explained in the article if you read it in its entirety…great article…these scams should never have been allowed in the first place by the caving of CREA to Melanie Atkin….sheeeesh!! We are our own worse enemy

    • Wes Watson

      Well that wouldn’t be a FSBO now would it. That would be listed with a RE company. So the article is up to date.

    • Chad McBain

      I think if you re-read the post it will become more clear he was making reference to “for sale by owner” not listed properties mere postings or otherwise.

  • RossK

    1) False. Over 30,000 Listings on as of this morning charged upfront fees by Agents.
    2) True but when the Code of Ethics stops you from telling the public the truth, you probably have a bigger problem.
    3) True or False
    4) False, just like an Agent hires a Virtual Tour Company they simply contract a mere poster.
    5) False, because they are not the FSBOs properties or listing as that is illegal in all provinces.
    6) True no licensed to trade but false on pricing as again they contract this service out so they really can price any home with a legally accepted work around.
    7) False, other than actually handling the paperwork (which they wisely shift off to a lawyer) and monies, there are legal workarounds to delivering all the services you mentioned.
    8) False unless you can supply proof that your claims are correct as a Licensed to Trade Practitioner, you can’t say that.
    9) True-Buyer Brokers love FSBOs and take advantage of them as they are required to do by contract law. This includes Mere Posting Listings as well that are listed with a Licensed to Trade Practitioner.

    Finally several Provincial Legislators have stated in PRINT that Mere Postings are actually FSBOs so when making reference to FSBOs LTTPs should all clarify they are referring to FSBOs not represented under an agency relationship with a REALTOR.

  • Sean Paul

    Really nice article only written from a realtor point of view.Why pay thousand of dollars to a Realtor when you do not have to.Realtors are over payed for what they do.MLS was totally holding the home sellers as a hostage but not anymore.Internet will replace most of the Realtors in matter of timeor have a flat fee of $995.00
    This is my opinion only…

    • Jerry Bresser

      Sean Paul: I cannot say that you cannot go to a casino and leave with more money than you took in, but I can say the odds are against it. Likewise, I cannot say that you cannot sell your home privately (which includes using a mere posting service) and net more in you pocket after consideration of direct and indirect expenses, but I can say the odds are against you.
      Think it out: How long could a casino stay open for business if the majority of people walked out with more money than they came in with? In the same vein, if you could sell your home/condo privately as quickly and for the same gross amount as theaverage agent, you would be so excited you would tell everyone in earshot every time the subject came up at work, at home, at a party, wherever. And you would tell it with such assurance, conviction and enthusiasm … “I sold my home for full value by myself and saved over $20,000 in real estate commissions!!!” … that your friends, family, co-workers, when it was time to sell their homes would say, “Sean Paul sold privately and quickly and saved $20,000 in commission, let’s try that ourselves.” And when they sold as fast as needed at full price, they would tell their friends, family and co-workers.
      NAR reports, year after year, for all of the 50 years that I have studied their reports, that 90%, plus or minus 2%, of all home sales are listed and sold by real estate agents. If your theory were correct, the real estate business as a whole should be losing ground every year. Why are we still doing 90% of the business?

      • Brian Martindale

        You are correct with your analysis for the most part. The only thing that I would add is that most sellers, like those who do not vote in elections, are either too lazy or too busy to take on the responsibilities and time commitments to flesh out relevant information in order to try to sell on their own (for more than a couple of weeks as a trial period). There will always be those go-it-alone types (10%?) with a high degree of self-initiative and more than a modicum of stubbornness who will do it themselves. It’s just easier to let George do it.

        • Jerry Bresser

          I don’t care how much fleshing out of relevant information a by-owner does, it doesn’t change the fact that well priced, well commissioned and well staged properties listed by an agent with an above average marketing strategy will generate a lot more showings and a much better chance for multiple offers than any private seller can do on his own. That’s why real estate as a whole will continue to do 90% of all real estate transactions and why some real estate agents will continue to have fewer expireds, faster sales and cause higher and better offers for their clients.
          And as long as there are real estate agents willing to learn how to provide better results for their clients and enjoy higher incomes for themselves, I will keep on teaching and coaching.
          Forest Gump says …

          • Heartland Appraiser

            Brian is correct. There are some very intelligent people out there and if they desire they can do as much or more work as a Realtor and the savings or earnings for that effort can be very significant. Consider the scenario of a $750,000 property with a 5% overall commission rate – a cost to the seller of $37,500. If the actual out of pocket costs for a website and legal assistance were say$5,000 and it took a total of 100 hours of effort that equates to a pay rate of $325/hr! It all comes down to whether the seller has the knowledge, time, and comfort level to perform the process.

  • Linda Brauner

    Thanks Wes Hoover for having courage to speak the truth! We have been so muzzled by bureaucracy!

  • Robert Jans

    Do lenders treat a “For Sale By Owner” property the same as a property listed on the MLS where a Realtor and Brokerage are looking after the sale?

    • berwick

      simple answer..NO

      • Heartland Appraiser

        As a former lender with substantial approval authority I can advise that most lenders either simply fund the purchase or they acquire an appraisal by a designated appraiser. If the value supports the loan requested I doubt the lender cares if it was listed FSBO or through a realtor. Lenders are interested in repayment and typically supported by security and to effect their security interest lenders generally require or use a legal entity or their own in-house legal system to ensure they are not left without enforceable security. Regardless, funds are not typically released until a properly executed mortgage document is registered against the property or is in the process of registration under strict trust conditions. If the earlier comments about FSBO selling at lower prices were true (and there is little or no statistical support for these comments) the value to loan ratio would improve. Remember price is what one transaction occurs at, while market value is what the overall market or typical buyer would pay.

  • Jerry Bresser


    Very good article.

    Another thing the FSBO companies don’t want sellers to know is that as high as 80% of all FSBO listings either expire or are withdrawn because the seller does not receive even one acceptable offer.
    Still another thing: Whether a buyer is found by an agent or on agent is involved, the seller is on his/her own for negotiating. As a result, the seller may save $5,000 in commission and lose $10,000 in the selling price. Such a deal!
    An additional thought: a seller pays a FSBO company to advertise their home on the FSBO website, then the FSBO company attracts traffic to the website by offering that the buyer can save the same commission that the seller is trying to save with phrases such as “Buy Direct and Save”, “Cut Out the Middle Man,” How weird is that.

    • Hard Working Realtor

      Jerry yours is the most relevent point. FSBO companies assumed MLS would solve their brutal list to sell ratio but its merely highlighted it. Based on numbers we do get to see, they are selling only 20-30% of what they list and the majority of those are purchased by other Realtors expecting full fees as per their buyer contracts. As well, the terminations among this group are theough the roof…thats a lot of PO’d consumers and thats why in our market we are seeing this segment of our industry shrinking. What else is sad is that those homes that do sell tend to be those premium homes that in a rwgulated environment would have a chance to sell for so much more.

      Im hearing consumers now talking that industry down and thats a big shift. Buyers hate nothing more than having bully type sellers all over them trying to justify an inflated value.

      So just as our industry has injured itself by trying to justify high fees no matter the level of skill or service provided, FSBO companies are also losing on their poor record of success.

  • Be careful when you say they are not licenced realtors. Some are.

  • Andy Spinks

    Why you should use a full service agency over a fsbo company

  • Robert Jans

    Do lenders treat a “for sale by owner” the same way as they treat a property that is listed on the MLS with a local Realtor and Real Estate Brokerage?

  • Andrew Shevtsov

    Great article Wes. I especially appreciate that last part about us not “hating” private sellers. Some great points, and definitely information I can share with my clients. Well put, my friend.