When families and individuals need or want to sell their homes many are tempted to save the real estate commission and go “For Sale by Owner.” Like purchasing any product at a price that is too good to be true, there are some inherent obstacles that can hinder you in the long run. How much is your house worth? When most people go to sell their homes it is natural to believe the home is worth more than it is. Oftentimes FSBO sellers do not have a clear sale price to advertise and thus may over-price their homes eliminating a host of potential buyers. Conversely, an owner may undervalue the home in comparison to the other homes in the neighborhood that have recently sold missing out on thousands of additional dollars.A real estate agent will do what is called ‘comparables’ – this is doing an audit of what has sold in your neighborhood, the square footage and all elements that are comparable to your home. Your agent or team will sit down with you and explain each line item. You will understand the reality, good or bad, on what your home is worth. How much work needs to be done to optimize the sale price? Your home has been a comfortable place for you for maybe many years. When you see something every day you can often miss places that look shabby, old or outdated. How are you going to determine what actually needs to be done on your home? Are you going to hire a home inspector prior to putting your house on the market? Do you know the areas of your home that when updated bring the most return on investment? You may like your decorating style, but not everyone does. Do you know how to neutralize the décor so that it appeals to more potential buyers? How much do you know about marketing? How do you plan to market the sale of your home? Do you truly believe that placing a yard sign that says “For Sale by Owner” with your phone number is going to do the trick? Professional listing agents do a lot of leg work for their commission. Both interior and exterior photos will be taken of your home. A flyer will be printed that shows photos and lists all the good things that a potential buyer might want: number of bedrooms, baths, basement, A/C, school district, etc. In addition this information is listed in what is called the MLS – Multiple Listing System. In yesteryear this data was only available in big bulky books that were updated every week. Now the information is updated almost hourly and it is available via the Internet for all potential buyers to view. An agent will schedule a “road show” where other agents are invited to tour your home so they can have first-hand information to share with their clients who are looking to buy. Plus, an agent will set up multiple “Open Houses” with balloons, signage, refreshments and excitement to show prospective buyers your home. Are you willing and able to do all this to sell your home? How much do you know about qualifying a potential buyer? When you are selling your home yourself, you tend to get quite excited when a prospect rings your bell and says he wants to take a look around. First, does he have the ability to buy any home, much less yours? Is he employed? What is his debt to income ratio? Is he really casing your place to see if there is anything worthwhile to steal or what time you are usually home? When you have an agent, he or she carefully pre-qualifies a caller and determines if he is really a “tire kicker” or if he is serious in purchasing a home. The prospect will have been pre-screened to determine if he can actually afford to purchase your home. When agents show homes, they usually travel in pairs for safety. The seller is general away from the house so the potential buyer can give his honest opinion. How much do you know about financing and writing a contract? There may be a potential buyer for your home but his lender has some sort of objection. Real estate agents are kept abreast daily of what lending institutions are requiring – and who has creative financing. FHA has lower down payments but they have other requirements that must be met. You cannot pull a contract template off the Internet and think it is going to cover what you need in the sale of your home. What qualifiers do you want? How long do you want to be able to remain in the house after closing? You need someone on your side who has gone through the process hundreds of times. If you are comfortable handling all these issues yourself, you can save money on FSBO. If you need professional help in the Houston area, you need to contact the professionals at Big State Home Buyers. For more information on how we can help with your home, call us at 713-909-4119 or visit