Merry Silbaugh, ABR
Associate Broker   Cell 602-617-3245
Should I Sell My Home Without Representation?

Thousands of homeowners ask themselves this question every year. Selling your home yourself can be a long and complex process. That's why on average 80% of sellers who try to sell their homes each year without representation are unsuccessful. But what about the 20% that are successful? Interestingly enough, half of them said they would not do it again. And 30% said they were unhappy with their results. WHY?


Many said that the commissions “saved” were not worth the time, paperwork and everyday responsibilities involved. Others discovered, after the fact, that they had made poor decisions that hurt them financially. And some speculated that not having the advantages of MLS exposure resulted in sale prices that actually cost them money.

But regardless of the facts, because the potential savings always appear to be substantial, the idea of being an un-represented or under-represented seller will always appeal to some. If you’re one, please read on.

Since success in this venture will depend in great part upon the nature of your local marketplace and the specific location of your home, that should be the starting point in your consideration of the matter.

A by-owner will have a better chance of success in the following situations:

-In a Seller's market where inventories of homes for sale are low, sale times are short & there is significant upward price movement.

-In a marketplace with a large percentage of local buyers who have a high comfort level because they're already familiar with the area & have time to shop.

-When the home in question is in a highly visible location & easily found, making exposure easier.

The personal & financial qualifications & circumstances of the seller and his/her family are another area if significant importance. Better success rates will occur if the following questions can be answered in the affirmative:

Do I have the time, energy, know-how and ability to implement a full scale effort to sell my home?

-One of the keys to selling your home is complete accessibility. When a seller is not at home, the home is effectively off the market.

Am I prepared to deal with buyers who see me as an opportunity to low ball or who need help with financing?

-Two of the challenges of selling a home are screening unqualified prospects and dealing with low-ballers. Most people have no idea how long it takes to develop the expertise to identify and deal with these buyers quickly and efficiently. Many unrepresented seller have been inconvenienced and even monetarily damaged by financing problems that were not identified in a timely manner.

Am I comfortable giving complete strangers off the street access to my home? Am I comfortable being in the home with them while they wander through?

Most unrepresented and under-represented sellers must rely heavily on Open Houses to advertise their homes. In an age where most people are careful to keep their doors locked, you may find it unsettling to advertise your un-locked home to the general public.

Do I have a “winning” personality that will make buyers feel welcome and comfortable or will I scare them away?

-The seller must possess great people skills and must also possess a temperament that allows him/her to easily tolerate the frustration involved in dealing with the often inconsiderate buying public.

Can I price my home correctly?

-The seller must be truly objective and able to honestly evaluate the pluses and minuses of their home, its resulting value and be willing and able to price it accordingly.

Do I understand the legal ramifications and necessary steps involved in selling my home?

-Sellers have legal obligations to the buyers of their property. And sellers must also be careful to protect themselves from potentially unscrupulous buyers. Are you fully informed about what your rights and responsibilities are?

Am I capable of handling the contracts and resolving disputes and misunderstandings during the contract period?

-Ask yourself how well versed you are in legalese. Are you knowledgeable enough to resolve disputes in a way that are fair to both parties? Are you capable of putting everything in writing?

These are all important considerations in deciding whether going it alone is right for you and your family, but there are two other facts that that you should clearly understand before deciding:

1. BUYING A HOME IS AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE. In order to make the decision to buy a home, a buyer must emotionally and mentally move into that home. In order to do this the buyer must feel comfortable enough in the home to open closets and cupboard doors and drawers; to be left alone with his/her thoughts while he/she sits on the couch to "get the feel" of the place; to openly discuss the home's condition & possible improvements with family members, etc. Buyers rarely reach that comfort level when the owner is on the premises and are therefore unable to have that "move-in" experience which makes their chances of buying that home unlikely.

2. BUYERS THAT SHOP FOR SALE BY OWNER HOMES DO SO IN THE ANTICIPATION OF SAVING THE COMMISSSION! And therein lays the fundamental conflict that undermines most by-owner sales. The owner decided to forego representation and/or the exposure of the MLS in order to “save” the sales commission, but is still expecting to sell at fair market value. The buyer expects to pay below fair market value precisely because the seller isn’t paying the commission. And why shouldn’t the buyer feel that way? After all, half of that commission was supposed to pay for professional representation for the buyer. But the buyer isn’t getting any representation, so why shouldn’t the buyer “save” the commission through a lower sale price? The commission cannot be saved twice! In most successful by-owner transactions, an honest and knowledgeable accounting of all the costs involved will show that the owner really didn't “save” anything because he ended-up selling at below market value. In fact, in many cases the seller actually lost money!

If after reviewing this material, the idea of being an un- or under-represented seller still appeals to you, give me a call at 602-617-3245 or E-mail me at and I'll send you a FREE no obligation hand-out that outlines the steps involved along with tips for getting your home ready to sell. On the other hand, if you have some concerns, I’ll be happy to provide you with a FREE consultation. No obligation, no hassles!



ScottsdaleFountain Hills Arizona

RE/MAX Sun Properties
16704 Ave. of the Fountains 101 • Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
Associate Broker • Cell 602-617-3245