As the Austin real estate market heats up we are starting to see more and more people attempting to sell their home themselves. The savvy ones will offer a buyers agent a commission but try to save the listing agent commission. Occasionally a seller will attempt to sell with no commissions offered but studies by Realtor.com and Zillow show that these properties almost always take much longer to sell and sell for less than market value.
In a hot market sometimes a FSBO can be successful. But at what cost? Many times the type of buyers that do not use an agent are bargain hunters. They scour the market looking for FSBO sellers that they can manipulate into a lower price. They have already discounted the listing by 6% in their mind and start to negotiate from there. In order to save the 6% (Negotiable in Texas) many FSBO sellers can cost themselves 10-20% by not knowing how to negotiate with a buyer that has no rules or ethics.
Agents must abide by a code of ethics and agree to treat all parties fairly while negotiating in the best interest of their client. When you hire an agent you open your property up to thousands of agents working with cultivated buyers ready to buy. That creates higher demand and higher prices for properties.
Most FSBO sellers are not aware of the legal requirements of selling a property in Texas. What forms need to be filled out? What items need to be disclosed? Who typically pays what costs at closing? Saving 3% will seem silly if you are involved in a lawsuit because you forgot to disclose a death in the home or a prior repair. Agents will help you avoid those mistakes.
FSBO sellers must qualify potential buyers, show the home, negotiate the contract and then work with the lender and title company to get the home sold. Try this a couple of times and you will see that paying a fee of 6% (Negotiable in Texas) is small price to pay for the piece of mind that comes from letting a professional get the job done for you. Research shows agents get more money for your home and are involved in less lawsuits than unrepresented FSBO sellers. Do you really want to put yourself through that headache only to net less money?