For many years, if you were selling your property, it was a given that you would need the help of a professional real estate broker. You would pay a set commission for the service -- typically about 6 percent of the sale proceeds. In times of rising property values and favorable market conditions you would usually come out ahead. Often, it was worth the expense to have someone else do the hard work of selling your house.
But in today's market, home prices have appreciated little and owners are mortgaged to the hilt. The idea of selling your house without paying a hefty agent's cut is tempting indeed. This is called For Sale By Owner (FSBO). Selling a $250,000 house on your own could put $15,000 in your pocket that would have gone to your agent! But there's a caveat: You have to be willing to work for it.
According to a 2006 National Association of Realtors survey, 7 percent of sellers sell their homes without the aid of a broker [source: Moloney]. But homeowners lured by the potential savings should know what they're getting into. You have to do your homework. You should also be prepared for a possible roller-coaster ride.
Personal circumstances usually determine whether someone chooses to sell his or her house without the help of a real estate agent. If you aren't under pressure to sell due to relocation, marriage or other life event, and you don't mind undertaking some of the grunt work, FSBO can be appealing, challenging and potentially rewarding. If you need to sell your property in a hurry, it's probably worth the cost of the commission to hire a broker.
In this article, we'll explore your options and discuss some of the resources available if you decide to go it alone.