Survey: FSBOs Regret Not Hiring an Agent for These 5 Specific Reasons

Homeowners who try to sell their house “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) most likely don’t go the DIY route just because they relish the idea of selling their own house. They do it to save money.

It’s understandable since real estate commissions can be perceived as “too high” by some consumers. And if you can net more money by selling your own house, why not give it a shot?

Many who attempt sell on their own go into it with a few assumptions:

  • It’s going to be easy for them to sell their house.
  • They presume they’ll be able to sell it for as much as an agent would.
  • But, even if they don’t sell it for as much as it would if it were listed by an agent, they’ll still come out ahead by saving money on the commissions they’d pay.

The problem is, it’s virtually impossible to prove any of those things are true or not, until and unless you try to sell your own house. Most people don’t sell a house that often in life, so it’s really a live and learn situation, and only once the dust has settled can they truly say whether it was worth it.

But what you can do if you’re considering selling your own house is learn from what other people have found after they sold their own house, and make a more informed decision before diving into it based upon hopes and assumptions.

So let’s look at what some recent FSBO sellers had to say about their experience…

5 Major Regrets FSBOs Have

According to a recent survey of 1,000 people who sold a home in 2022 and 2023, many owners who tried to sell their own homes had some regrets about not hiring an agent. Here are 5 key takeaways to consider:

  • They made less than people who hired an agent to sell their house. On average, homeowners who hired an agent made $46,603 more profit than those who sold on their own. Many felt like they lost money. People who sold their house FSBO were three times more likely to say they felt they lost money on the sale of their house.
  • In fact, many felt like they could have sold for more money if they used an agent. Even if they didn’t feel like they lost money, nearly half of them (48%) felt like their home would’ve sold for more if they used an agent.
  • It took them longer to sell their house than it would have if they hired an agent. This is particularly interesting, since 31% of them said they sold on their own because they wanted a quicker sale. Yet 53% of sellers who hired an agent accepted an offer within one month of listing, versus 39% of those who sold on their own. And FSBO sellers were nearly 2x as likely to not accept an offer for at least three months. Ultimately, 46% believe that their home would have sold faster if they hired an agent.
  • 36% made legal mistakes. Which is likely connected to the 40% who said they didn’t understand the contracts and paperwork involved, and the 43% who said buyers didn’t trust them because they didn’t have an agent.

It’s understandable that an owner might want to try and sell their own house in order to save money by not paying a commission. But what many who’ve tried to do so have found is that it actually costs them more to sell on their own, by selling their house for less than it would have with an agent, not to mention the added time, stress, and potential legal issues it can cause.

The Takeaway:

Homeowners who try to sell their own house “for sale by owner” (FSBO) often think it’ll be quick and easy, and save them a ton of money by not paying commissions. But a recent survey revealed that many owners who tried to sell their own house had regrets, including:

  • On average they made $46,603 less than those who hired an agent.
  • They were three times more likely to lose money.
  • It took them longer to sell their house.
  • 36% of them experienced legal issues.

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