real estate by owner

5.51 million existing homes were sold in 2017. And of those homes, 89% were sold with the help of a realtor.

But is that the best option for you?

Read on to learn all about real estate by owner versus homes sold through a real estate agent.

Real Estate for Sale by Owner

For sale by owner (abbreviated as FSBO) means that the homeowner is listing their house without the help of a real estate agent.

If you do, you’re responsible for pricing, staging, doing paperwork and negotiating price.


The biggest advantage is that you save the 6% listing agent commission. This could mean thousands of dollars in your pocket at the end of the sale.

Another pro is that you’re in charge of the listing price and scheduling the showings and open houses. There are many for sale by owner sites online that help you with the logistics and paperwork you need to sell your home.

As the seller, you’re motivated to get the highest price. Likely, you’ll do everything you can to stage the home, promote it and make sure it shows well. You may be willing to consider unusual ways to find buyers.


It can be tough to set aside your emotions to think logically. It can be difficult to be objective when you get feedback from potential buyers. Negotiating on the price can be hard because you’re attached to the home and know how hard you’ve worked on it.

The paperwork can be daunting and overwhelming. It can be stressful to schedule showings and open houses as well. And you don’t have an expert to turn to for questions you may have along the way.

You may end up with less money in your pocket even though you save the commission. In fact, in 2017 the typical FSBO home sold for $190,000 compared to $249,000 for houses that sold with an agent.

Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents know about fair market value and can pull up comparable homes in the area to make an informed pricing strategy.

They also have contacts for home stagers and photographers that can make your home shine!

Realtors know how to negotiate professionally. They can guide you in the right counteroffers to get the most money for your home.

Real estate agents will take care of all the paperwork. This benefit can’t be overstated. There’s a lot of legalese in real estate paperwork and it needs to be just right.

One of the main benefits of working with a real estate agent is that other agents are more likely to show your property to their clients. With FSBO, there is no guaranteed commission for the buyer agents so they are less likely to your home to their buyers.

Note: You can offer a 3% commission to the buyer’s agent to help get agents to bring their clients to see your home.

Bottom Line on Real Estate by Owner vs Real Estate Agent

We hope this post has helped you weigh the pros and cons of selling your home by yourself and with the help of a real estate agent.

If you’re leaning towards selling your real estate by owner, check out these 4 things you need to know.