Mortgage rates jumped this past week, making it even harder to purchase a home. But if you think it's hard to buy in today's real estate market, with jump-through-hoops loans and the fear of overpaying, try selling your home. Home sales are the lowest in a decade, and median home prices fell 6.1% compared to this time last year.
You've got sleepless nights thinking about how much you can afford to let your price drop, all the while working with a real estate agent who's trying to juggle a notebook of unsold inventory and can't even remember your first name. And on top of that, you have the average 6% commission you'll pay this person to sell your home. For a home that sells for $500,000, that's $30,000.
As the economy gets tougher and less certain, more sellers are looking to save by being their own broker. In the past, For Sale by Owners (or FSBOs as they're called) were mainly real estate pros selling their own homes or cranks who didn't trust realtors, banks, the government or anyone who dressed up for work. Today a number of companies and Web sites are available to walk sellers through the do-it-yourself process."I've seen many people who come from jobs where they're responsible for huge sales and transactions, yet they're a little squeamish about handling their own home sale," says Eric Mangan, director of consumer relations for ForSaleByOwner.com in New York City. "Once they learn how home sales work, they realize they can do it, and they can save themselves quite a bit of money."
The first step is learning about marketing a house on your own, which in today's world means taking a little old-school water cooler talk (e.g. "You know anyone who's looking to buy a home?") and spicing it up with the Internet.