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Select Your Selling Method

Selling Your Home: Agent or FSBO?
This is an important first decision when you are ready to sell your home. The answer will depend on your budget, experience, and market conditions.


Page Topics:

  1. which way: agent vs. FSBO?
  2. working in a buyer's market
  3. working in a seller's market
  4. what determines market
  5. timing your sale
  6. print agent vs. FSBO worksheet

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Which Way: Agent or FSBO?

Going the agent route —
by utilizing the services of a real estate agent or broker to sell your home.

the agent or broker will handle all of the work and selling issues for you. They will screen buyers, market your home through their agent network, show the house and negotiate with the buyers on your behalf.

In addition, depending on the agent, they will have access to a vast network of other agents and brokers who represent buyers.

it costs money for their services — real estate commissions can average between 5-9% of the home selling price.

This means that if the agent sells your home for $150,000, their commissions will range anywhere from $9,000-$14,000.


Going the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route —
by selling your home on your own without using an agent or broker:

  • pros:
    cost savings — anywhere from 5-9% of your total selling price.

    In addition, you control the selling process without contractual obligations.

  • cons:
    time, commitment and your possible lack of experience and real estate networking — do you have the experience to show the house, screen buyers, and negotiate the contract?

    Going the FSBO route means finding buyers for your home. Agents belong to a network of real estate brokers who represent buyers and sellers. You will need to tap into that network to reach the majority of buyers, which can cost you.


Agent or FSBO: which way?

number of factors can favor one way over another, namely:

— your time commitment
— your knowledge of the real estate market
— your ability to screen buyers and negotiate contracts
— your need to protect your interests

another big determinant is the type of housing market that is in play. The FSBO strategy works better in a "sellers" market than in a "buyers" market.
see discussion below


Combination route —
which means that you will use a combination of agent-type services and FSBO strategies:

most common agent-type services:

— MLS listing: see listing information
— co-brokering relationship *
— settlement

the parties that provide these services:

— discount brokers **
— "paid-for-services" agents **
— settlement agents / lawyers

* co-brokering is paying commissions to real estate agents who show your home to prospective buyers. That fee is generally half of the full agent listing fee; 2-4%.

** discount brokers and paid-for-service agents usually work on a fixed cost basis. They will provide the initial services of a full service broker — MSL listing, marketing, materials - at a fixed price. You will still need to pay the co-brokering commission if your home is shown by another broker.

most common FSBO strategies used in combination with agent-type services:

— pricing your home
— marketing your home
— prep work
— screening buyers / home showings
— contract negotiations

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Working in a Buyers Market

Understanding the type of housing market in your area will help determine how you may want to sell your home.

If you are in a buyer's market, you can expect to have your home listed a long while with buyers shop multiple home and demand attractive negotiating terms.

If you are in a seller's market, you can expect to sell your home quickly at negotiating terms that favor you.


Working in a buyer's market

What is a Buyer's Market:

A "buyer's" market has more sellers than buyers. You will find many homes similar to yours listed at one time.

You should expect a longer selling time for your home. Buyers will visit, often revisit again to make comparisons, and negotiate concession terms from the seller.

It would be advisable to run a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) among homes that are within your area. This would give you the timing of home sales in your neighborhood and at what price.

Items to compare include in the CMA:

  • age and condition of similar homes in the neighborhood
  • homes that have sold within the last six months
  • list of comparable sales in the neighborhood


What's it worth?

Estimating your home's value

What's it worth?

order your personal
home and neighborhood valuation report

sample property reports:

  • complete property valuation
  • recent sales report
  • comparable sales
  • subject property report

    view sample reports:
    enter address-zip


Find the value of an existing or future homes:

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Individual home appraisals:

You may want to hire an appraiser to look at your home to get an independent appraised value based on market conditions. This will substantiate your selling price when listing your house.

You want to avoid overpricing your home in a "buyers" market; it can cost you money as your home sits on the market while buyers find better values. Likewise, a home that hasn't sold over an extended period, or whose price has been reduced several times, raises questions among buyers.

The appraisal can run anywhere from $200-500, depending on how fast you want the appraisal done.

Find an Appraiser
Use this quick search to find customer-rated
home appraisers in your area.


Which route in a buyer's market: FSBO or agent?

this depends on your individual circumstances. Needless to say however, if you need to sell your home quickly, the services of an agent will be helpful under these market conditions.

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Working in a Sellers Market

What is a Seller's Market:

You can expect your home to sell fast in a seller's market (if it is priced correctly). Home prices are firm and many homes sell quickly even before reaching the MLS listing.

Homes in a seller market receive multiple contract offers and buyers will compete for top price. It's important that you screen buyers and contract offers. You don't need to accept the first offer — others will follow quickly.

Make sure the buyer has the financial capability and mortgage pre-approval to complete the sale. If no, you have the luxury to wait for another buyer.


If homes in your neighborhood are selling quickly, plan to negotiate favorable terms.

Run a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) among homes that are within your area. This would give you the price of home sales in your area.

Items to compare include in the CMA:

  • age and condition of similar homes in the neighborhood
  • homes that have sold within the last six months
  • list of comparable sales in the neighborhood

Have your agent run this list, or generate your own list online:
visit our home market values page


Which route in a seller's market: FSBO or agent?

this depends on your individual circumstances. However, FSBO selling can move quickly under these market conditions.

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What Determines Market

Certain market conditions dictate the kind of real estate market in your area, namely:

Economic conditions:

generally, if the area economy is good, real estate markets are strong. Consumers have high confidence in their income situation that translate into real estate investments.


Interest Rates:

when rates are low, housing markets are strong. As interest rates rise, sellers may be forced to reduce price and/or pay a portion of the closing costs.


No one can predict how economic conditions or interest rates will move or impact your market,

but you can get a good idea of what might change these factors by understanding elements that drive economic conditions. These may include:

Gross Domestic Product:
measures the output of goods and services.

If GDP grows too much, the economy is strong. But the Federal Reserve may intervene with higher interest rates to slow growth.

Consumer Price Index:
measures the change of price (rate of inflation) for a fixed market basket of consumer goods and services.

If the CPI increases more than expected, rates tend to move up. Likewise, if the CPI decreased more than expected, rates tend to move down.

Producer Price Index:
measures the change of price for goods and supplies used in the products of consumer goods and services.

The increase of the PPI eventually is reflected in the price consumers pay for domestic products, which in turn increase CPI.

measures the level of employment and earnings estimate. The Unemployment indicator measures the level of unemployment.

Rising levels of employment increases consumer confidence but puts pressure on salary levels, which tends to be inflationary and can impact the rise of interest rates.

Housing Starts:
measures the number of new housing permits. An increase of housing starts is a sign of a good economy. But too many housing permits in your area can saturate the housing market.

More government reporting indicators:
what moves interest rates:


General conditions of your neighborhood and surrounding area can determine value

Some neighborhoods deteriorate faster than others. This can be a factor of location and changes in zoning laws.

If the zoning board allows development of a factory or retail shopping outlet that increases traffic, home prices in your neighborhood may start to move downward.

Keep informed of zoning changes at local governments:


Crime is another factor of determining markets.

If crime rates or police action is on the rise in your area, real estate prices can be depressed.

Check crime statistics:

Some areas where real estate markets have been soft because of crime may see a strong demand as new growth moves into the area.

Your market may enter into a "seller's market" as new suburban communities begin to develop and crime rates begin to drop.


The strength of the school systems may help or hurt markets.

You may be in a good market that suddenly turns downward because of a school board decisions that rewrites the boundaries.

Compare schools:
another listing:


Homeowners should monitor neighborhood trends to protect their investment.

If the neighborhood is weakening, or if some zone changes allow for some undesirable growth, it might be time to sale.

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Timing Your Sale

Early Winter (mid-January to mid-March):

  • Best time to prepare for your home sale. Get your marketing stuff ready such as flyers, house book, etc.
  • Meet with your agent or order supplies if you are selling your home by yourself.
  • Don't rush to list your home just yet. Not too many buyers looking except perhaps in the warmer climates such as Florida.


Early Spring to Early Summer (mid-March to June):

  • Your best time to sell if market conditions are strong such as competitive mortgage rates and a growing economy.
  • Many corporate relocations and other in-community moves bring out buyers looking for homes to close and move into before school starts next Fall.


Summer Months (July to August):

  • People take vacations during these months. This is the slowest time to sale a home.


Fall (September to mid-November):

  • Generally a slow time of the year. School has started and anyone wanting to move prior to the start of the school year have already done so. You will have some buyers looking, expecially those who may be upgrading.
  • This is a good time to prepare your home for sale in the coming season. Make repairs, paint some walls, get an inspection, analyze the market, and select your selling method.


Holiday Season (mid-November to early January):

  • This is not a bad time to sale. You won't find many buyers, but those who do come knocking are serious buyers ready to buy.

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Save on PRICE!

Use FSBO services to sell your home. You can save anywhere from 3%-9% on real estate fees:

  • All the tools and guidance to help you sell your own home. Advertise to nearly 2 million monthly visitors.

What's in the News
How Much Down (LTV) Calculation

Enter the estimated purchase value of your home: see market values page


  Loan Amount Additonal Down
70% LTV $ $
75% LTV $ $
80% LTV $ $
Note: any loan amount above 80%LTV will require Private Mortgage Insurance or other financing arrangement.
85% LTV $ $
90% LTV $ $
95% LTV $ $
100% LTV $ $
* Calculations are based upon the assumptions you entered. Please note that rounding errors can make a small difference in calculations.