Q. Do I need a real estate broker or agent to sell my home? What is FSBO?

A. The short answer to the first part of this question is no. You do not need a real estate broker or agent to sell you home.

There is no law that requires you to engage the services of a real estate professional before advertising your property for sale. You are entirely free to sell your own property and represent yourself in the negotiations.

Of course, that isn’t the answer you’ll get from most real estate agents. They will usually tell you professional representation is the only way to go. They will say your property will sell more quickly (often true), for more money (probably true), and with a lot less hassle (possibly true).

But the reality is that many homeowners successful sell their properties without using the services of their local real estate agent or paying a hefty commission. These resourceful sellers usually have copious amounts of patience and time. Within the industry, homeowners who sell their own homes are usually referred to as FSBOs (pronounced “fizzbos”). The acronym is composed from the first letters of the following phrase: “for sale by owner.”

FSBOs are generally home sellers who do not want to pay a full broker’s commission-though they might be willing to pay a half or partial commission to a buyer’s broker. Often and this is especially true if you haven’t own your home very long, the brokerage commission can eat up most or all your profit. Sometimes, paying a commission will mean you’ll lose money on the sale of your home.

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