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The Biggest Mistake Home Sellers Make

ForSaleByOwner February 15, 2024

When people learn that Eddie Tyner is general manager of, one of several online services that help sellers bypass real estate agents and their 6 percent commissions, they always ask if FSBO really works.

“The first thing people ask is, can they sell a home themselves?” Tyner says. “I tell them unequivocally that it does work and that they can.”

Baby boomer couple in front of home for sale

He acknowledges that many homeowners still need further convincing. “The negotiation and closing phases are the parts that can make people nervous,” Tyner says. “Negotiations because people are afraid they’re not going to get enough for the house, that they’re going to scare buyers away, that they’ll make a mistake in this step.”

As for the closing process, Tyner finds that many sellers erroneously believe the paperwork will be overwhelming. “But the reality is they’re going to need an attorney to help them with the paperwork anyway. If you hire a good attorney, that fear goes away,” he says. In other words, even if sellers use an agent, they’ll pay for an attorney because that cost is folded into the agent’s commission or other fees.

These concerns — and many more — can be eliminated when by-owner sellers enlist the services of an online partner that provides easy-to-follow instructions for each of the five important steps of selling a home:

1. Deciding to sell
2. Preparing yourself and your home
3. Marketing and showing like a pro
4. Negotiating and accepting an offer
5. Completing paperwork and the closing

“Keep in mind that those steps are the same regardless of whether you use an agent or sell your home yourself,” Tyner says.

The help provided by an online service like guides FSBO sellers through this timeline — and provides especially invaluable support early on when sellers determine to list a home and set a price.

“The biggest mistake that people make involves pricing,” Tyner says. “If you have a decent house and you price it the right way and you make sure it’s exposed to buyers, it will sell. There is a market for your house, I guarantee it. If you price it right.” That means listing at a reasonable price relative to other similar homes in your neighborhood or area.

“A lot of people (have problems here) because they attach a lot of emotional value to their house that a new buyer probably won’t see,” Tyner says. That’s why he recommends being aware of the important steps necessary to find the value of your home, as well as using online tools.

“The good thing about having so much information available on the Web is that if you’re honest with yourself, and see what other houses in the neighborhood are selling for, you can set a reasonable price based on that,” Tyner says.

He warns that setting too high a price is the biggest mistake by-owner sellers make. “They start out high because they say they can always go down, but they can’t go up. So they overprice in the beginning, thinking they can drop the price later.”

That strategy can backfire, Tyner says, because buyers who could comfortably afford a seller’s real price will be turned away by the unrealistically high list price.

“It’s actually easy to bring the price up,” he says. “You do it by having multiple prospective buyers interested in your property. That happens a lot.”

Online services make these strategies clear to their clients, who also benefit from being able to call and speak to experienced representatives. That’s why Tyner can so confidently tell people that by-owner selling works.

There’s another reason why Tyner can say that: About a month ago, he sold his own house using one of these services.

More about that in a future post.