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6 Pitfalls to Selling Your Home On Your Own

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By MNR News posted 05-11-2021

For-sale-by-owner transactions are risky, time-consuming, and costly 

With packs of buyers far outstripping the scarce supply of affordable homes in Minnesota, selling your home without the aid of Realtor® could seem like an attractive, money-saving option. Snap a few pictures, post the listing, plant a sign on your lawn and watch the offers come rolling in! 


What could possibly go wrong? 


Plenty. From initial appraisal and preparation to fielding offers and negotiating the closing, selling a home is a complex undertaking with many pieces—all of them in motion. So, if you’re thinking of going the for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) route, here are a few snares, snags and hazards to be aware of. 


howings are tougher than they look 

First, the good news. In a hot market, you’ll have no shortage of requests for showings. The bad news is that coordinating all that activity will keep you busier than an air traffic controller. Between phone calls, texts, and door knocks, you’ll need masterful scheduling skills and a chunk of vacation time to give all those prospects a tour of your home. 


Plus, from a safety and security perspective, it can be difficult to know the true intentions of those entering your house. 


Experienced Realtors® have the skills and technology to efficiently schedule showings and bring in fully vetted and qualified buyers. They also know how to optimize those time slots, ensuring that each prospect experiences your home without overlapping appointments and other distractions that can derail their interest in the property. 


It’s hard to keep
 your home safe and healthy during a pandemic 

Chances are that COVID-19 safety protocols will remain in effect during the height of the sales season in Minnesota. When showing your home, you must ensure that everyone who enters wears a mask and observes social distancing, and any other CDC guideline that needs to be followed. Plus, you need to be vigilant about sanitizing every surface that buyers and their agents touch. Even if you are fully vaccinated and your personal risk is lower, you don’t want your home playing host to a super-spreader event. 


From the start of the pandemic, Realtors® have been specially trained on implementing COVID-19 safety protocols and educating their clients to comply. They handle all the details, removing one more stress from your home-selling transaction. 

Multiple offers can spawn multiple headaches 

At first glance, multiple offers look like a seller’s dream. But as with so many things, the downside is in the details. The typical offer is a complex instrument packed with legal nuances, contingencies, provisions, timelines, proposals, terms and various conditions. Which is truly the best offer? Is it always based on price? Or are the other factors you might not be considering? 


A seasoned Realtor® can sift the frivolous offers from the fruitful and bring the most serious and qualified buyers to the table. Plus, they are experts at slicing through complex legal language of offers, crunching the numbers, and helping you through clauses, timeframes, and contingencies.  


And because they’re trained negotiators, they’ll make sure you get an ample escrow deposit, and realistic due-diligence periods. From contingencies and provisions to closing, your Realtor® can ensure that the sale of your home proceeds rapidly and smoothly. 


Ineffective marketing can slow or kill a sale 

Homes don’t sell themselves—not even in a red-hot market. The basics of presentation and marketing still matter. Unfortunately, many people who take on a FSBO transactions find themselves competing with Realtor®-managed sellers whose homes are professionally staged, photographed, and target-marketed to the best buyer prospects. A qualified real estate pro helps you: 


  • Optimally price your home for the local market 
  • Stage and present the property 
  • Create high-quality photos, videos, and virtual tours 
  • Market your home in effective venues, from the MLS to mailers, emails and social media 


Going under contract can get overwhelming 

Once your property is under contract, it’s smooth sailing from then on. Right?


Not so fast. Many deals go off the rails at this stage. Complications abound: 


  • Buyer’s financing crumbles under scrutiny from underwriters 
  • Transaction is delayed by lender extensions, and sluggish loan processing 
  • Inspection reveals need for costly, time-consuming repairs 


Most sellers are out of their element when immersed in the complexities of financing, title, and escrow, not to mention lining up contractors for required fixes. Realtors®, on the other hand, deal with all of this and more every day. They handle all the details so you can focus on getting ready for the big move that follows the big sale.  


Things get sticky when closing day isn’t moving day 

The downside of selling in a seller’s market is that most sellers inevitably become buyers. That means they need to compete with everyone else for scarce housing stock. For a growing number of sellers, there’s a gap between closing day and the day they move into their new home. Many try to negotiate a period of post-closing occupancy. In FSBO transactions, this is often a verbal agreement between the seller and the buyer. Sometimes this arrangement works out fine, but all too often there are issues: 


  • How do you handle potential liability, repairs and damage to a home you no longer own? 
  • What if the buyers decide they need to move in sooner than the agreed upon date? 
  • Do you need to create and sign a formal lease? 


Realtors® are proficient at managing post-closing occupancies. Working with all parties, they can help you create an arrangement that minimizes your risk and buys you the precious time needed to complete your home-buying transaction.