If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!
I believe that myself. Especially today. Google has made us all a lot smarter. With a few simple searches you can get information on any subject. There are how-to guides, DIY youtube videos. I’m a pretty smart guy. If I can find this expert advise online, I can learn how to do it myself, and save myself the money a so-called expert will charge.
I’m going to tell you about two of my past experiences doing it myself, and explain how that relates to the FSBO process.
Filing my Own Taxes
If you check my resume, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Management. Any self-respecting human with this degree would be shamed to have someone else do their taxes, right?
That’s what I thought. I decided to do my own taxes. I did the research, printed out the forms, filled in the paperwork, sent in the proof, and mailed all this to the IRS.
Putting that envelope in the mail, I felt pretty good about myself. I puffed my chest out, thought about the money I saved, and remember thinking, “Who needs an Accountant?”
A few weeks go by, I’m back at the mailbox, and get a letter from the IRS. I open it expecting a confirmation letter saying they received my documents. No! They received my documents, but there was a certain way some of the exemptions I claimed needed to be worded, and I ended up owing a lot more than I expected.
So, I caved, took the letter and what I filed to an accountant, he fixed it, and lowered my tax bill substantially. His service charge was definitely worth more than what I owed.
Representing Myself in Court
So, a few years back I got my driver’s license suspended. I was driving a rental car on business, got a speeding ticket while driving it, and the insurance I had at the time wouldn’t send in proof to the state, leading to a suspended license.
So I started doing research online, and found out that I would qualify for a hardship license. I contacted an attorney, and they would charge me about $1,000! I thought that was crazy!
It seemed like a simple process, so I decided to do it myself. I again did the research, constructed the court documents, filed them at the courthouse, and scheduled the hearing.
At the hearing, I explained what happened, told the judge I need my license for work, and risked losing my job if I lost my license. Should have been an open and shut case.
However, it seems there were a few different Indiana Law Codes you can petition the court under for this, and of course I picked the wrong one, and they denied my case.
So again, I walked back to the attorney’s office with my tail tucked between my legs, and paid him to represent me. He did, got it done for me, and got my license back.
Expert are Experts for a Reason
There is a certain level of expertise people gain from doing the same thing over and over again on a daily basis. Think about the job you do. When you started it, you didn’t know all the ins and outs, but as you kept doing it, you encountered different situations that arose, and figured them out. As time went by, you were ready for almost anything.
The same thing is true in real estate. Good Realtors buy and sell homes everyday for other people. We learn what to look for, what can make a deal go south, how to make the most out of a deal. We know the ins and outs. We know how to handle inspection responses, what turns buyers on and off, what upgrades are worth it, and what upgrades aren’t. We can save and make you a lot of money.
The fact is that about 85% of FSBO’s end up listing with a Realtor, and most that do sell their homes themselves, sell it for a lot less then they would have gotten with a Realtor. I have worked with a few sellers that tried to FSBO before listing with me. One had their home reassessed by the tax appraiser in hopes of getting the Zestimate of their home value on Zillow increased. This did nothing but raise their tax bill on their home, and eliminate buyers who would have otherwise been qualified due to PMI ratios of payments. Another had spent thousands of dollars on upgrades that did next to nothing to increase the value of the home.
Many times I have been able to sell my past FSBO clients’ homes for a lot more then what they had it priced as a FSBO, which paid for the commission they paid, and left them with more profit, even with paying extra commission.
Just like my examples above, even though the experts charged a lot of money, it ended up being worth it based on what they saved me in time, money, and hassle.