As a Realtor, I'm constantly searching for new buyers and sellers, so calling on For-Sale-By-Owners here in Kansas City is a daily routine for me. FSBO sellers basically have their hands in the air saying, "I want to sell my home" so why wouldn't I call them.
The real issue lies in the reason for my call. I'm not calling them because I have a buyer for their home; which is what they really want. I'm calling them because I want to "list" their home and open their pool of available buyers to maximize the exposure of their home.
Sure, a determined FSBO can put a for-sale sign in his or her front yard, post it on a few FSBO websites, and put fliers up at work, but the home will not receive nearly as much exposure as it would through the MLS and the networking a Realtor can do.
When I call a FSBO, they always say the same thing, "Do you have a buyer for my home?" I find that somewhat humorous because quite honestly, if I did have a buyer for your home I probably won't even bother calling you.
Let's be perfectly honest here. There are hundreds of homes listed for sale on the MLS, and I should go out of my way to search through all the FSBO websites, try to call you to schedule a time to show the home (keep in mind, that's a time that's convenient for the seller, not a time that's convenient for me or my buyers), and hope and pray that you have reasonable skill and understanding of how to negotiate a real estate transaction?
There's nothing worse than an unsophisticated self-represented seller across the table that thinks their home is "special" because they've spent $3,000 on blinds, every bedroom has a ceiling fan and they just spent $5,000 to paint the exterior, never mind the fact that the home isn't staged and they're about $15,000 overpriced.
My other concern is commissions. As a Realtor, I work on 100% commission. Unless someone buys a home, I don't get paid. In a typical home sale, the buyer's agent receives a percentage of the commission that the seller pays the listing agent (Example: 6% total commission = Listing agent gets 3% and Buyers agent gets 3%). Without a listing agreement, there's no guarantee that the buyer's agent will be compensated for his or her services, unless the buyer has signed a buyer's brokerage agreement that specifically provides for such compensation.
Even if a FSBO seller offers to pay the buyer's side of the commission, they'll sometimes want to use that as a negotiating tool throughout the entire transaction. In essence, they want to hold me over a barrel once we're into the negotiations. At that point I feel like I'm being held hostage. That's like your boss at work telling you on Friday, "We really appreciate all the work you've done this week, but the company is not as profitable this week so we'll need to pay you less than what we originally agreed too."
There are ways to work with a Realtor if you're going the FSBO route, like making sure you put a lockbox on the door so I can show the home at my convenience and not have you (seller) following us around the home describing all it's wonderful features (FYI, that makes the buyers uncomfortable). You should also hire a professional stager and a photographer. You will also need to answer your phone or at least return calls very quickly. It may be a good idea to have an appraisal done too so you know the home will appraise at your ridiculously high asking price.
Or you could simply hire a professional Realtor. Yes, you'll have to pay the commissions, but don't you typically find that you get what you pay for in this world?