Real Estate Agent vs For Sale By Owner: What Are The Key Differences?

Real Estate Agent vs For Sale By Owner: What Are The Key Differences?

When selling a home, you might find yourself choosing between hiring a real estate agent and listing your property as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). Either choice has its pros and cons; you have to consider both to get the best deal for your home. Here are things to keep in mind as you make your decision.

Advantages of Hiring a Real Estate Agent

When you get a professional to sell your home, you gain access to their knowledge, market expertise, and buyer connections. A real estate agent has market exposure and can quickly spread the word that you’re selling your home. With an agent, you know you’re going into the market with an expert—you can rely on them to negotiate for you, understand market trends, and give their unbiased opinion regarding pricing.

An agent also has the right tools for the process. They can take care of property disclosures, contracts, and other documentation, and they do these things without getting emotionally tied up with the process. Often, homeowners let their feelings get in the way of transactions. They decide based on emotional pressures. An agent won’t have attachments to your property, so they can be more objective about what you must do.

Disadvantages of Hiring a Real Estate Agent

The main drawback of hiring an agent is the cost. On average, a full-service commission will cost four to six percent of the sale price of a property. However, discount brokers offer reduced commission costs, and if you’re on a budget, this is a viable option.

Another disadvantage is that most agents have plenty of clients. Though they have the skills and experience necessary for finding you potential buyers, they won’t be able to focus on your property 100 percent. An overbooked agent might miss your calls, which will hurt transactions. Be sure to vet your potential agent properly and set expectations at the beginning.

Advantages of For Sale by Owner Transactions

When you choose to sell your property yourself, you have creative control over how to present and market your home. Since you know your neighborhood and community, you can highlight little-known spots or features of your area that you’re sure will be attractive to buyers. You also handle the home’s listing price, and you get more of the final sale price. Finally, you have control over the schedule and procedures during your home showings.

Disadvantages of For Sale by Owner Transactions

A significant downside to personally handling the sale of your home is that your emotional attachments could hinder you from making rational decisions. It is hard to let go of the memories you formed in your house, which could prevent you from maximizing a sale. Typically, this manifests in a home owner who over prices their home which causes the property sit on the market and go stale.

If you list your home as FSBO, you’re on your own about pricing. Home price estimation relies on variables like location, recently sold homes in the area, and much more. When you hire an agent, you can be sure that they will price the home correctly.

Finally, self-scheduling your home showings only works to your advantage if you or your spouse can manage the sale full-time. If you both work, you could have conflicts in schedules. You’ll only create trouble for yourself if you miss showings, get behind on paperwork, or otherwise don’t commit to the process. 


When selling your home, you might find yourself caught between going the FSBO route or hiring a real estate agent. The best decision is the one that suits your circumstances—whichever way you go, it’s crucial to do your research and know the consequences of either choice. It also helps to consult a specialist about your options.

How Can We Help You?

If you are interested in selling as a  For Sale By Owner, you’re in the right place. Get the legal assistance you need to sell your FSBO property. Saman Saba is a real estate attorney in Maryland working to empower real estate sellers and buyers so that they may make better and more informed decisions regarding one of their most important assets: their residential properties. 

In an effort to help you successfully sell your property as a For Sale By Owner, we have prepared a FREE FSBO Success Packet which includes:

  1. A clear explanation of our flat-fee pricing model and exactly which services are included.
  2.  A complimentary copy of Saman’s bestselling book, Sell Your Home With Confidence: Reduce Your Liability When Selling, FSBO EDITION which goes into depth regarding what steps a FSBO seller should take when selling their property.
  3. A complimentary viewing of a 30-minute Masterclass entitled, ​​Home Equity Protection: How To Not Be Bamboozled When Selling which highlights the main ways that home sellers can leave thousands of dollars on the table when selling.
  4. And so much more!

Click here to access the FREE FSBO Success Packet. 

Ready to get started? Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.

    Hi! I am Saman Saba, Esq., real estate attorney, REALTOR®, and best selling author! I help real estate owners, buyers, and business owners find the right property that meets their unique needs.

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