Is Listing Without an Agent Right For You?
When most families decide to sell their home, their first step in the process is contacting an agent, though seldom without first sparing a thought to listing without one. In 2016 and 2017, for-sale-by-owners (FSBO’s) accounted for 8% and 7% of home sales, respectively. Though only a small piece of the proverbial pie, when you factor in the ~5.5 million existing-home sales in the U.S. each year between 2015 and 2018, that 7-8% begins to look fairly significant—roughly 300k to 400k homes per year. I understand their decision to list their homes without an agent. Sellers decide to take this road less traveled for a variety of distinct reasons, and for me to dismiss them as without merit (as many agents are wont to do) would be both condescending and, frankly, wrong. However, I’d like to address a few of the more popular motives specifically, in hopes that I might persuade you to make what I consider to be the wiser choice.
Reason #1: Listing without an agent can save you thousands of dollars. A listing agent typically charges a commission of 6%, with 3% of this commission going to the buyer’s agent. Even when listing without an agent the buyer’s agent commission is practically unavoidable, so listing as an FSBO can only save you, realistically, around 3% overall. On a $200,000 home this comes to $6,000! If you are rolling the funds from the sale of your home into the purchase of your next home, you can expect to pay that $6,000 off over the next 30 years, which lands closer to $10,000 at typical interest rates. This is an amount that no fiscally conscientious seller can afford to scoff at, obviously. But are these saving realized?