Why do FSBOs often fail to sell? It’s really not a hard question to answer.

Why do FSBOs often fail to sell?

Why FSBOs often fail to sell?As a real estate professional, I’ve seen my share of FSBOs. Most of the time, they end up with a Realtor’s sign in the yard after months of languishing on the market with a “For Sale By Owner” sign. I just passed a former FSBO yesterday. As usual, it has a Realtor sign in the front yard.

Why do FSBOs often fail to sell?

Why do they fail at a higher rate than a professionally listed property?

  • Homeowners seldom really know the current market. That leads to an overpriced home that savvy buyers would never buy. I showed one last year that was 62% overpriced. I guess the seller assumes there is always a buyer with more money than brains out there. What you want, and what a home will sell for may be light years apart.
  • Showing a FSBO can be challenging. When an agent sets up a dozen showings in one day, scheduling becomes an art. Access is the key to making that day successful. If a FSBO can’t allow the house to be shown except on a limited schedule the odds are radically against it. That’s true of listed properties too. Access is critically important.

There’s more to selling homes than placing a sign in the yard.


  • Homeowners may not know how to negotiate an offer. There is usually some give and take in a real estate offer. If a FSBO is locked on a price and won’t budge, or won’t let a home inspection or repair request become a part of the deal, or is refusing a termite inspection, or is demanding of a closing date closer than a lender can accommodate, then a buyer can’t buy it. In a case like this, the house is basically an island with no way to visit it.
  • Homeowners may not disclose things, or they may disclose too much.
  • Homeowners may not understand legal contracts. I ended up re-writing a contract for a FSBO a few years ago because there were so many legal liabilities in it that could eventually come back to bite the seller. The seller had no idea, and the buyer, who wasn’t represented either, had no idea of the legal ramifications of a binding contract full of potholes. Contracts are a Realtor’s bread and butter. Most FSBOs never see one away from a Realtor initiated deal.
  • Listed homes sell for more than FSBOs, on average. On average, listed homes sell 10-13% more than FSBOs. A 2015 article by the National Association of Realtors showed that the average FSBO sold for $185000, and the average Realtor listing for a similar house, sold for $240000. That’s a 23% loss by going it alone. Is it worth it?

Why do FSBOs often fail to sell? – Make the best choice

This list could go on and on, but the reality is that a FSBO is almost always better off selling through a competent Realtor. As is the case in most real estate transactions, fees can be negotiated. If money is an issue, let the agent know that up front and he/she can work with you. Having a qualified agent on your side can reduce stress, and it will help you get across the finish line with a better deal.

Why do most FSBOs fail? For the same reason car mechanics don’t do brain surgery. It’s not their area of ability, and for the sake of the community, they’re better off leaving brain surgery to medical professional who do it everyday. The same is true of real estate. Those who do it everyday are your best resource for an excellent outcome.

When you’re ready to list your FSBO with a competent real estate firm, give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. We are your local real estate sales pros in this area.