Real Estate 101: Why Choose an Agent over FSBO or iBuyers?

          When it comes to selling your home, there are many factors to consider. Listing timeline, sales price, renovations, staging the space, and more must be addressed before the house even goes on the market. Although hiring a realtor is the traditional choice, more and more people choose the FSBO (For Sale By Owner) route. Further, one of the fastest growing trends in the home selling industry is selling to an “iBuyer.” So, what is the best choice?


          We’ve pulled in one of our expert realtors, Stacey Richardson, to share insight into the market. She specializes in what buyers are looking for and what options are the best, most efficient fit for sellers. Stacey shares about her job as an agent and how it plays a large role in the overall selling experience, including aspects like DOM (days on the market) and fluctuation of the purchase price.



What is an iBuyer?

          iBuyer companies are a relatively new option for home sellers, as OpenDoor became the first iBuyer in 2013. According to, “iBuyers are companies that have the financial means to buy homes in cash. To formulate an offer, iBuyers typically rely on similar properties in your local real estate market, or ‘comps,’ much as a real estate agent would in order to formulate a listing price on a home (or an offer).”



          If it’s really that easy, then why wouldn’t everyone use an iBuyer to sell their home? As in most cases, convenience has a trade-off here. A MarketWatch investigation of multiple transactions involving iBuyers showed the following: “their offers would net their customers, on average, 11% less than owners who choose to sell their homes on the open market, when fees and other costs are considered, translating to tens of thousands of dollars lost.”


          Everything comes down to what factors are the most important to you. If you hope to receive the full purchase price on your home or specialized care while it is on the market, that is much less likely to happen when selling to an iBuyer. 


What does it look like to sell my home without the help of an agent?


          Another option to get that “sold” sign in your front yard is to sell your home “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO). While FSBO is the right choice for some sellers, there are a number of ways that one may find this route lacking:

No pricing strategy

While you may find comparable home sales via sites like Zillow and Trulia to determine a price on your own, realtors have access to MLS (Multiple Listing Service) published information that will give more specifics. Square footage, condition, or any number of limiting factors could affect price or days on market. Agents also have their finger on the pulse of supply and demand in the area. Platforms like Zillow and Trulia seem to bring more visibility of comparables and price, but agents bring needed context to market analysis, finding the purchase price that maximizes profit and minimizes days on market.


Typically more difficult and costly for those who are not experienced / have never sold their home FSBO before 

One of the largest factors at play when sellers choose FSBO over hiring an agent is that it seems more cost efficient to avoid paying agent commissions. However, the trade-off here is that you now take on all of the responsibility and resources that the realtor would be bringing to the table. While you’d be forgoing agent commissions at the closing table, you would most likely be paying more $$, time and effort in the long run to get your home sold. This is especially true if you are a first-time seller or do not have prior real estate experience.


No access to the marketing channels and networks that agents have

While someone can list their home on an online site, they can’t access the local MLS–the one platform that all realtors use as their primary source of accurate information. Agents use their local MLS to post listings, and those MLS boards then subscribe to listhubs that send listings to hundreds of other online sites. Additionally, other agents are more likely to show and sell a home listed in the MLS because they feel protected in their interactions with the seller.  


Finally, listing a home generally isn’t the most complicated aspect of the selling process. 

Realtors can weigh in with an unbiased opinion on what’s appealing to buyers and what changes need to be made with your home, giving it the highest chances of getting sold. Additionally, once you have an offer on your home, the contract process includes legal paperwork, negotiating offers and sales terms, mortgage knowledge if your buyer is getting financing for the home, navigating repairs after an inspection, and communication with a closing attorney–all things that your realtor has experience and expertise in, protecting the seller at every point in the process.


What makes choosing an agent the best option for me?

“Choosing an agent means having an advocate. It means you have someone solely committed to your best interests, whether it’s family needs, financial needs, or peace of mind that an expert is guiding you.  It means you have someone working to protect you as you make your biggest investment–your home.” – Stacey Richardson


          According to a study completed by Better Homes and Gardens, nearly 50 percent of respondents said their real estate agent helped identify problems they didn’t initially see in the homes they visited. As noted before, it all comes down to what you’re looking for in your home selling experience.


          With a good agent, you can get the end result you’re hoping for. With a great agent, the same is true, but you also reap the benefits that iBuyers and FSBO selling boast and much, much more. A great agent can analyze the market for an accurate estimate of the DOM (days on market) and get to know your home and your story to best prepare it for market. He or she will give you full visibility into every aspect of the process, provide experienced, unbiased insight into your best options, and strategize to get you the best price on your home–all while making things easy and stress-free for you.


          At the end of the day, the job of the agent is a people-focused job. A great agent takes great care of his/her people. That is precisely the type of care that we promise here at Broad & Main Real Estate Group. We believe that real estate, at its very core, is always relational, never just transactional. Contact Stacey and our team if you have any questions about how to best market your home!