I need to sell my home and I'm considering selling For Sale By Owner instead of hiring a Realtor to save myself some money. Couldn't I just use a Tampa flat fee MLS service to get exposure for my home? That way I can pay 3% to buyer's agents instead of a full 6%.

Sure you could. There are several Tampa Bay MLS Flat Fee services in the area to choose from. Most charge anywhere from $299 to $799 to list your home on the My Florida Regional MLS system. Then they'll charge you additional fees for extras like a lockbox ($100), a professional sign ($75), a featured listing on Realtor.com ($70+ per month), listings on other real estate websites ($150+), contract negotiations and coaching ($300+), etc. Additional 6 Month Listing Term ($100).

Already you are talking about $1094-1594 upfront for services that a Realtor can provide – included. Services which may not get your home sold on their own. When you list with a Realtor you don't pay unless the house sells. That's right – We work for FREE until your house sells. Think about it. We spend our own money to market your home and we assume the risk that it may not sell. Think about it for a second….why would we take that chance, without the confidence that we can sell your home and recoup the upfront capital outlay.

Although it may not seem right, here is another enormous risk to consider….many Realtors will simply refuse to show these "limited service" listings, with the perception that they'll end up doing the work of two agents while only getting paid for one. Why, if I'm paying 3% you may ask? Several reasons. First of all, did you know the average Realtor sells only 4-5 homes a year? Yep – many of them work other jobs or do it part-time. If you only sold 4 homes a year, would you take a chance as a Realtor on a listing you know is a For Sale By Owner flat fee listing? The buyer's agent knows he or she is going to have to work both sides of the transaction and only get paid for half the work when working with a FSBO. Their confidence that the transaction will close is much lower, since there isn't a professional on the other end. "But what if I use an attorney to close the deal?" Attorneys get paid regardless if it closes or not. Be prepared to stroke some checks for their billable hours that they'll likely spend amending contracts that they wrote in the first place! If you're a buyer and you start seeing a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo added to an attorney-written contract, what is your comfort level in signing the contract?

Secondly, most Sellers are not prepared with the knowledge of what it takes to get a home sold and end up wanting representation too (and not wanting to pay for it) and its not fair for a Realtor to be forced to handle both sides, when he or she is a fiduciary for the Buyer. Many Realtors simply don't want to deal with this, so they show other homes that are listed with Realtors with the confidence that it'll close and they'll be compensated for their work.

As a Seller, your home may be your biggest financial investment – do you really want to be unrepresented in dealing with such a complex transaction? Are you aware of all of Florida's Housing laws and real estate forms? Is it worth saving 3% if you put yourself at risk of liability because you didn't disclose something you should have, or ended up leaving money on the table because you could have sold for higher? Nearly 75% of all real estate-related lawsuits involve a For Sale By Owner.

As one of Tampa's highest selling real estate teams, we are in the trenches negotiating on a daily bases. Over the years, and as technology changes, we have developed and perfected a marketing and prospecting system designed to reach every buyer in the marketplace for your home. The goal is to create bidding wars for your property, by reaching every buyer up front. Many people think that when they list with a Realtor, all they do is put a sign up in the yard, put a lockbox on the house, and put the property in MLS – so why not go it alone? It simply isn't true (of most Realtors!)

Still not convinced? Check out the latest statistics on where buyers find the home they purchase:

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Here's a list of 101 things your Realtor should be doing to get your home to the closing table:

Typical Pre-Listing Activities

  • 1. Research Current Properties
  • 2. Research Sales Activity from MLS and public records databases
  • 3. Provide Average Days on Market Assessment
  • 4. Review Property Tax Roll
  • 5. Prepare a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA)
  • 6. Verify Ownership and Deed Type
  • 7. Verify County Public Property Records
  • 8. Perform Curb Appeal Assessment
  • 9. Provide Public School Value
  • 10. Provide a Listing Presentation
  • 11. Analyze Current Market Conditions
  • 12. Present Credentials
  • 13. Deliver CMA Results
  • 14. Discuss Planning and Strategy
  • 15. Explain Listing Contract, Disclosures & Addendum
  • 16. Screen Calls from Buyers or Agents
  • 17. Explain Homeowner Warranty

Selling the Property Activities

  • 18. Review Title Details
  • 19. Order Plat Map
  • 20. Create Showing Instructions
  • 21. Obtain Mortgage Loan Information
  • 22. Review Homeowner Association Fees and Bylaws
  • 23. Submit Homeowner Warranty Application
  • 24. Add Homeowner Warranty in MLS
  • 25. Review Electricity Details
  • 26. Arrange Inspections for City Sewer/Septic Tank Systems
  • 27. Collect Natural Gas Information
  • 28. Provide Security System Status
  • 29. Determine Termite Bond Status
  • 30. Analyze Lead-based Paint Status
  • 31. Distribute Disclosure Packages
  • 32. Prepare Property Amenities
  • 33. Detail Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale
  • 34. Compile Repairs Needed List
  • 35. Send Seller Vacancy Checklist
  • 36. Install Lockbox
  • 37. Make Copies of Leases for Rental Units (if applicable)
  • 38. Verify Rents, Utilities, Water, and Deposits for Rentals
  • 39. Inform Tenants of Listing for Rentals
  • 40. Install Yard Sign
  • 41. Perform Interior Assessment
  • 42. Perform Exterior Assessment

Advertising and Marketing a Listing

  • 43. Enter a Profile Sheet into the MLS Listing Database
  • 44. Provide Copies of MLS Agreement
  • 45. Take Additional Photos for MLS and Marketing
  • 46. Create and Advertise Property Listing through 800+ websites, direct mail, prospecting, social media promotion, email blasts, etc.
  • 47. Coordinate Showing Times
  • 48. Create and Mail Flyers
  • 49. Compare MLS Listings
  • 50. Develop Marketing Brochure
  • 51. Notify the Network Referral Program
  • 52. Create Special Feature Cards
  • 53. Analyze Feedback Emails

Handling Offers and Contracts

  • 54. Receive Offer(s) to Purchase
  • 55. Evaluate Net Sheet
  • 56. Counsel and Mediate Offer(s)
  • 57. Deliver Seller's Disclosure
  • 58. Obtain Pre-qualification Letter
  • 59. Negotiate Offers on the Seller's Behalf
  • 60. Mediate Counteroffers or Amendments
  • 61. Deliver Contract Copies
  • 62. Deliver "Offer to Purchase" Copies
  • 63. Assist with Escrow Account
  • 64. Distribute Under-Contract Showing Restrictions
  • 65. Update MLS to "Sale Pending"
  • 66. Review Credit Report
  • 67. Deliver Unrecorded Property Information
  • 68. Order Well Flow Test Reports (if applicable)
  • 69. Order Termite Inspection (if applicable)
  • 70. Order Mold Inspection (if applicable)
  • 71. Confirm Deposit and Buyer's Employment
  • 72. Follow Up with Loan Processing
  • 73. Communicate with Lender
  • 74. Confirm Approval of Loan
  • 75. Remove Loan Contingency

Home Inspection and Home Appraisal Activities

  • 76. Coordinate Buyer's Home Inspection
  • 77. Review Home Inspector's Report
  • 78. Interpret Loan Limits
  • 79. Verify Home Inspection Clauses
  • 80. Contractor Preparation
  • 81. Confirm Repair Completion
  • 82. Attend Appraiser Appointment
  • 83. Provide Appraiser Information and Remove Contingency

Closing Preparations and Actions

  • 84. Ensure Contract is Sealed
  • 85. Coordinate Closing Process
  • 86. Coordinate Closing Formal Procedure
  • 87. Assist with Title Issues
  • 88. Perform Final Walk-through
  • 89. Verify Tax and Utility Preparations
  • 90. Review and Distribute Final Closing Figures
  • 91. Request Closing Document Copies
  • 92. Confirm Receipt of Title Insurance Commitment
  • 93. Make Homeowners Warranty Available
  • 94. Review Closing Documents
  • 95. Confirm and Assist with Final Deposit
  • 96. Coordinate with Next Purchase
  • 97. Ensure "No Surprises" Closing
  • 98. Final MLS Update
  • 99. Follow Up and Resolve Repairs
  • 100. Documentation Follow Up
  • 101. Hand the keys to the new owner