Do You Make These 9 For Sale By Owner Mistakes?

Recently, an acquaintance of mine put a home on the market "For Sale By Owner" and it gave me the idea to share some of my thoughts on the differences between hiring a REALTOR in Tallahassee versus going it alone.

Of course, you might suspect that my bias will be towards hiring the top real estate agent in Tallahassee (and you would be correct), but there are compelling reasons why a homeowner might want to sell a house as a For Sale By Owner.

But less than 12% of For Sale By Owner entrants actually succeed in selling their home without the help of a real estate agent, so I have prepared a list of the top mistakes I see them make and what they can do to be successful in selling a home.

The one thing that 100% of all homes have in common is that they are unique  - Joe Manausa

9 For Sale By Owner Mistakes

It is very possible to sell your home For Sale By Owner, but you need to avoid these 9 common mistakes that I see every day.

  1. No Plan - Your home does not exist in a vacuum. Once you decide to sell your home, it becomes a house. And a house is a commodity. A commodities market is ruled by supply and demand and you must have a plan to position your house favorably in a market filled with plenty of competition (and no, a spiffy For Sale By Owner flyer that says a home is a "great buy" is not market positioning). You can acquire a smart plan by sitting down and discussing what you want to do with the top real estate agent in your market. It is likely that she or he will be very helpful with the understanding that you will hire her/him if you decide to work with a real estate company.
  2. Miscalculations - Every For Sale By Owner seller that I have ever asked "why are you selling this on your own?" has told me they are trying to save money. But they are always very quick to point out that they will pay an agent to bring a buyer (meaning they are really only trying to save 1/2 of the commission). When I ask them why somebody would want to buy their home, they tell me that by selling For Sale By Owner, they can offer the home cheaper ... So that begs the question: Can both the buyer and the seller of the home save the same 1/2 commission not being paid? In my experience, it is far easier to negotiate a contract to a lower price for my buyer if the seller does not have an agent, so who is really saving the commission?
  3. False assumptions - Most For Sale By Owner home sellers assume a house will sell itself. I believe that the majority of people who want to sell a home today purchased their home 7 to 10 years ago. In that market, homes did seem to sell themselves. There were multiple offers on most homes, as supply could not keep up with demand during the boom of the housing market. But if you assume things are the same today as back when you purchased your home, you will be a very unhappy For Sale By Owner seller. Another false assumption is that you can sell a home for any amount you want, even though today's buyer is armed with information. Your home has a value and it is what it is.
  4. For Sale By Owner SignNo brand - When I am hired to sell a home for a client, they are instantly "branded" with the trusted Joe Manausa Real Estate name. This in itself does not sell a house, but it certainly brings an awareness that the home is for sale. And it also provides a level of propriety that has yet to be earned by you when you enter the market For Sale By Owner. Homebuyers do not know you and cannot research you like they can a big brand, thus you are not reaching the same amount of the market as you with a firm that is known for selling homes in your market area. To counter this lack of market trust, make sure that you are "research-able." Be present on Facebook, and make sure that your profile is public. Include enough information about your past to assure buyers that you are not some kind of con-artist out to trick them out of their money. As a For Sale By Owner, you must become the brand.
  5. No business systems - When a homeowner hires me for the job of selling their home, my entire staff goes to work and does not stop until after the new buyer moves into the home. The internet requires DAILY marketing of a property if you want to get top dollar for the home, and we spend more than 10 man-hours per day driving traffic to our homes for sale in Tallahassee. This does not happen by accident, we have personnel and systems designed to properly expose the home for sale, thus a For Sale By Owner must be able to do the same for his or her home.
  6. No list - I have over 4,000 people who are using my Tallahassee Real Estate Website on a regular basis and who receive regular emails from my Joe Manausa Real Estate office in Tallahassee. Additionally, I have thousands of real estate agent email addresses to whom I can market a property as well. When we list a property, it is in front of thousands of people within days. A For Sale By Owner needs to compete with this "buzz" if they want to create a competitive environment for their home. Social media is one way to do this, and a smart plan of using their friends to help the For Sale By Owner to create a buzz could help them replace the "list" that I have developed over 20 plus years of selling real estate in Tallahassee.
  7. No daily marketing campaign - This is the biggest mistake I see. For Sale By Owners observe that most real estate agents do nothing to sell a home (that's why 47% of homes listed by real estate agents failed to sell last year), so they think they can "set it and forget it" too. Marketing is a daily job, and if you want to sell a home, you had better be spreading the word each and every day until somebody else owns the house.
  8. No fast response lead management system - MIT did a study of online respondents and found that when companies returned contact within 5 minutes, they had a 1700% better chance of doing business with the "lead" than if they responded within 60 minutes. So smart For Sale By Owners need to have a plan for handling online inquiries for their home, and for enabling quick showings that can occur on the spur of the moment. Remember, there are more sellers than buyers in this market, so a For Sale By Owner needs to be able to compete with all the homes that have thousands of REALTORS standing by to show them at a moments notice.
  9. No team effort - There is no way that an individual can compete on every daily task that we do to sell a home, so the For Sale By Owner must create a team of people to assist. Get friends and family helping you spread the word and respond to inquiries. It takes an organized effort to get top dollar for a home, but you can do it For Sale By Owner if you commit to doing the work.

The For Sale By Owner Irony

The irony in attempting to sell a home For Sale By Owner is that the majority of people do it to save money (100% of the ones to whom I have spoken), yet the only way that they can compete with a major operation like Joe Manausa Real Estate is to do it on price!

That's right, you can sell your house For Sale By Owner, but most people cannot come close to the reach that we have so they have to lower their price to attract buyers. I have found that most For Sale By Owners need a low-low price to attract a buyer without a real estate agent. So the money you wanted to save (plus another 5 to 10%) is passed on to the homebuyer.

The marketing that we do at Joe Manausa Real Estate draws people looking to buy a home in Tallahassee every hour of every day. The home sellers that list their home with us get the benefit of what we have been doing, whereas a For Sale By Owner starts from scratch on day one. Ultimately, you pay me for what I've done, not what I'm going to do.

My For Sale By Owner Offer

If you have a home to sell, and you think that you can get top dollar for it without hiring a real estate agent, go ahead and give it a go.

But don't be stupid.

Talk to me about what I would do to sell your home. Learn from me. Even if you think what I do is not necessary for you to sell your home, doesn't it make sense to arm yourself with the most current information on home selling techniques on the internet?

Knowledge is power, and you should be able to use some of my marketing techniques to give yourself a better chance of selling the home on your own.

So, if you are thinking about selling a home For Sale By Owner and want to first pick my brain, just drop me a note and we can schedule a time to discuss what you need to do.

*Joe Manausa Real Estate is a brokerage company headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida. Its unique business model provides specialists to both home sellers and home buyers, and the results speak for themselves. JMRE has significantly more 5-star reviews on google than any other local competitor. Joe Manausa Real Estate is a leader in internet marketing and utilizes search engine optimization, email marketing, social media and data analytics to get their clients’ home sold faster and for more money than any other Tallahassee brokerage firm. For more information, visit or call us at (850) 366-8917.

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