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For Sale By Owner (FSBO) disadvantages of selling without an agent

Are you thinking about selling your home without the help of a real estate agent? This is commonly referred to as FSBO (For Sale By Owner) in the world of real estate. FSBO sounds great in theory, especially since you avoid paying a real estate commission, but there are many disadvantages you should be aware of before deciding to go down this path. 

You won’t be able to list your house on the MLS

The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is a nationwide directory that lists properties for sale. It’s the largest real estate listing service and only licensed real estate agents can list properties on the MLS. Not having your property on the MLS will significantly reduce the exposure of your listing which can cause you to miss out on potential buyers and can make your home harder to sell. The MLS by itself can generate immediate interest by making sure your property shows up when people are searching for homes in your area, not having it is a significant loss.

Coordinating showings and open houses

It’s hard to drive more than a few blocks without seeing an open house or for sale signs. Real estate agents do so many of these a year that they’ve become experts at showing houses and open houses. They know how to properly showcase your home to increase interest and ultimately the chances of a sale. Real estate agents can also screen potential visitors to make sure they’re qualified and will make sure they’re available to meet the schedules of a potential buyer. Having an agent means you don’t have to do the work of drumming up interest, you don’t have to constantly rearrange your schedule or take off work to meet potential buyers, and ultimately you don’t have to get the run around by doing tour after tour to a bunch of unqualified buyers.

Negotiating the sale price

In a perfect world, the buyer will just pay what the house is listed for. However, this is rarely the case. If your house has been sitting on the market for a while (which is possible because you aren’t on the MLS) it’s likely you will get offers below your listing price. If you’re in a hot market there can often be a bidding war that will exceed your listing price. Then there are also negotiations regarding upgrades, repairs, and other aspects of the home itself. Having a real estate agent who understands the market and has experience negotiating real estate deals can save you a lot of money.


There is a ton of paperwork involved in selling and buying property! A lot of the paperwork and documents have severe legal implications and can go through various rounds of revisions. A real estate agent takes care of all the paperwork for you. Without an agent, the paperwork can quickly get overwhelming. Reviewing contracts yourself could be a daunting task considering the legal lingo and the possible negative implications of making a mistake. Getting rid of the paperwork burden is in itself worth having a real estate agent on your side.

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