Are For-Sale-By-Owner Home Sales Getting More Popular?

It’s not easy to sell a home yourself, but it can be done. There are many things to know when trying to sell a home without the benefit of a real estate agent, but many people across the country do, and the trend may actually be on the increase, according to statistics from a number of sources.

Of course, there’s considerably more involved in selling a home than the average homeowner realizes, which goes a long way toward explaining why so many homes are sold by real estate professionals. In fact, last year, only some 13 percent of all American home sales were by FSBOs. That figure is actually down somewhat from the nationwide peak, which occurred in 1987, when some 20 percent of all homes in the U.S. were sold by their owners.

Not obvious in those figures is the fact that almost half (40 percent) of the FSBO transactions took place between people who already knew each other and in many cases were related, according to figures published by the National Association of Realtors.

FSBO Market Gaining Momentum

There are some signs that perhaps the FSBO market is gaining some momentum in recent months, however. For instance, the number of FSBO home sales increased by a stagger 71 percent in 2005, according to statistics on the www.ForSaleByOwner.com website. According to that site, the estimated  FSBO area is in the Atlanta, Georgia, region, which accounted for 3.8 percent of all FSBO transactions in the country.

Part of that strength undoubtedly stems from the fact that Atlanta’s real estate market is still relatively strong. Such market strength makes it easier for homeowners to attract potential buyers to take a look at their homes. Home prices are continuing to rise, and jobs are relatively plentiful, which makes Atlanta somewhat of an anomaly in today’s real estate world.

Another strong FSBO market, boasting a whopping 166 percent increase in FSBO listings last year, is Denver, Colorado. Other fast-rising FSBO markets include Dallas, Texas (119 percent); Cleveland, Ohio (96 percent); Indianapolis, Indiana (96 percent); Cincinnati, Ohio (93 percent); New York, New York (84 percent); Houston, Texas (24 percent); and Chicago (16 percent).

With prices rising across the country, it’s no surprise that the main reason listed by FSBOs for going it alone is to save on real estate commissions. Nationally, those commissions average about $14,000, which is a sizable enough amount to get nearly anyone’s attention. Those figures are based on a 6 percent commission on the sale of a $231,000 home, which was the national median price for existing American homes in June 2006. As the housing market continues to soften, the money that can be saved by selling a home yourself can become increasingly more attractive.

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Copyright © 2006 Jeanette Fisher

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