Using For Sale by Owner VS. a Real Estate Agent

When most people hear the term “For Sale by Owner” or “FSBO” they might not know the exact meaning behind it, much less have considered trying out the practice for themselves.

We want to explain not only how exactly the process can be done, but also how truly simple, painless, and financially beneficial it can be to homeowners considering selling on their own.

In today’s world of advanced technology with the ability to get step-by-step instructions for virtually anything online with just a quick google search, electing to sell something “FSBO” means a lot more accessible do-it-yourself options.  Homeowners today looking to sell have access to much of the same information and resources commonly used by a real estate agent.

Beyond the classic lawn For Sale sign, today’s homeowners have a surprising amount of tools available in their do it yourself arsenal. As daunting as taking on the sale of your home yourself can be, we are here to help!

Step One:  Hire a real estate appraiser.  If you decide to sell your home FSBO, you need to determine the value of your property.  We recommend hiring a qualified real estate appraiser early in the process, so you can determine the true value of your property and assist you with establishing the sales price.

Step Two:  Hire a real estate lawyer.  One of the next steps, and possibly the most daunting, is coming up with a sales contract.  The good news for anyone looking to dive into the FSBO process is the lesser known fact that with a simple call to a lawyer, a sales contract can be put together quickly, and by someone with experience and a trained legal eye. Enter Price & Keir.

How Much Will This Save Me?

When using a Real Estate Agent to sell your home, you can expect them to charge a 6% commission fee. Using an experienced real estate lawyer from Price & Keir to draft the contract on the other hand? You’ll receive a real estate contract, completed by one of our lawyers, for a fraction of the cost of hiring a Realtor.

In real numbers that means for a house costing $200,000, a seller can expect to pay an agent around $16,000 in real estate commissions.  At Price & Keir, we typically charge a fixed fee of approximately $750.00 to prepare the sales contract and assist with the FSBO process.

Step Three – Find a Buyer:  Once the legal aspects of a contract are in place, the actual act of selling a home can be accomplished just as easily by an independent home owner. Commonly real estate agents list homes online and using catalogs they create and distribute themselves. The best part about this for anyone considering using FSBO is that most searches for new homes today occur online. There are hundreds of easy to use websites available where sellers can control their own listing. Along with controlling their listing, independent sellers using FSBO can control when they want showings for potential buyers to occur vs. working around a real estate agents busy schedule. Also a time saver is sellers in direct contact with buyers when it comes to accepting or declining offers, with no need to communicate through a middleman who is representing several other clients at the same time.

Buyer or selling a home FSBO has one final advantages – the sales prices can be less, but all parties come out ahead!  Often times by forgoing an expensive realtor fee, homes can be sold at less than the listing price – but the Seller actually receives more money.  How does it work?

Let’s use our same above example of a $200,000.00 sale.  After subtracting the 6% real estate commission of $16,000.00, a Seller using a Realtor would receive approximately $186,000.00 (less other closing costs).  However, if that same Seller used Price & Keir to prepare the contract and an independent appraiser to determine the listing price, their costs would be less than $1,500.00, and the Seller would walk away with a check for $198,500 (less other closing costs)!  Furthermore, the same Seller could also reduce the purchase price by $10,000 and/or provide a seller credit of the same amount, and still walk away with $188,500!

So overall, if you want a way to buy or sell a home that saves you money, consider for sale by owner and contact us today with any questions!

Give us a call at (410) 528-7205 or email us at