Living the San Francisco Dream


"I think I'll just sell it on my own...."

"I think I'll just sell it on my own...."

Have you ever heard those words from a homeowner who wants to sell her home? I have on more than one occasion, the latest being a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, her mother is a friend of mine, and asked me to give some advice to her out-of-area daughter, and refer a great agent in her area.

KCM, 5 reason to use a real estate professionalWith many areas of California experiencing a strong seller's market, sellers sometimes think they can save money by selling on their own. 

What they don't understand is the legal liability, the timing, the negotiating, the difficulty in knowing whether or not a buyer is qualified, what to spend money on when preparing a home to sell and where to draw the line.

KCM (Keeping Current Matters) recently published this infographic which is a good starting place. The list of benefits a good real estate professional brings to the table goes on and on.

I'm happy to report that my friend's daughter has seen the benefit of working with a local Realtor® and has asked me to have the agent call her.

If you are thinking of selling your home and would like my report, "44 Money Making Tips When Preparing Your House to Sell," please contact me.

--- Come for a visit; Stay for a lifetime!

Lottie Kendall, Realtor®


CA DRE#10215160; 650-465-4547






Comment balloon 47 commentsLottie Kendall • September 16 2015 03:33PM


Oh boy, I think I'll do do my own surgery too - just to save money. Good grief, people who try to get their homes sold on their own have no idea of what can happen. Good post, Lottie. D 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) about 5 years ago

You forgot exposure/connections. Realtors get the word out to an important network and promote their listings in a way that sellers cannot. 

Posted by Janice Ankrett, Staging Professional (Janice Ankrett Home Staging) about 5 years ago

I used to get upset when I heard this, about 4 years ago I had a buyer who ended up selling her own home. 3 months later she sent me an edible arrangement and 3 referrals and a card that read " I have never appreciated you more and I would never wish the experience I had on anyone."

Posted by Vera Gonzalez, Gonzo For Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban, Inc.) about 5 years ago

That is a great infographic Lottie. Real Estate agents are so much more than the "door openers" a few individuals would call us.  

Posted by Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert, Broker/Owner of Zion Realty (Zion Realty) about 5 years ago

Great read!  More and more FSBO's are creeping up here in South Florida as we have 'bounced back' a bit. With those, I generally have my title company put together a real estate package for them and drop it off as a courtesy.  Costs me nothing and I'm getting at least one listing per 12 I drop off.



Posted by L. Scott Ferguson, Sunny Florida Real Estate Professional (Ask4Ferguson - Your House-SOLD Name in Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Lottie - when you don't know it sounds very easy.  But as Debb says we don't do our own surgery.  Outlining the risks makes hiring a professional Realtor a no brainer.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) about 5 years ago

I am always amazed that people would open their home to complete strangers with no knowledge as to who they are or whether they are they qualified to purchase that house. Realtors negotiate contracts daily and this is something few home owners have done.  Also people looking at FSBOS are looking for a "deal" and expect to get the same savings on the deal that the seller is after.

Posted by Shirley Coomer, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az (Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living) about 5 years ago

We have a few people that try here but most understand the intricacies of the deal.  The ones that do try on their own almost always end up hiring an agent.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Hard to blame a seller for "thinking about it." Just because you can doesn't mean it's a good idea. 

Have an awesome day! 

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) about 5 years ago

Lottie Kendall,  I have been an active REALTOR in both Florida and Virginia and find that many homeonwers think they can sell their own homes, but like you say they don't understand all the legal ramifications as well as timing and negotiations.

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) about 5 years ago

I heard years ago that the guy that started eventually hired an agent to sell his own.  Guess FSBO worked for all those he got money from to put on his site, but when it came to his own, he hired a professional. 

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) about 5 years ago

I'm always amazed that people would open up their home to complete strangers. First it's dangerous second what a waste of time. How do they know the potential buyer is qualified. Just plain naive.

Posted by Michelle Grunberg, When Honesty, Integrity and Loyalty Matters! (eXp Realty) about 5 years ago

Finding a buyer is important, but it isn't the only thing Realtors do. I'm glad this all worked out for your friend's daughter.

Posted by Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty, 601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell (Front Gate Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Lottie Kendall - Well done. FSBO's are tricky.  Become even more challenging if they don't move relatively quickly.  Can be very penny wise and pound foolish.




Posted by Thomas F. Scanlon, CPA, CFP (Borgida & Company P. C., CPA's) about 5 years ago

My market is somewhat balanced between sellers and buyers (leaning increasingly to favor the sellers). I have seen an inverse relationship in the "I'll sell it on my own" way of thinking. The lower the range of the price point... the more resistance to hiring a professional. In my experiences, highly skilled professionals seek out other highly skilled professionals within their respective spheres of expertise...

Posted by Matthew Lawrence (ReMax Center) about 5 years ago


Great group of words you have posted here, thank you.

Posted by Dan Dee McGinnis The Pumpkin Man (HomeSmart) about 5 years ago

It is so tempting to want to put your home on the market yourself and save money. But it wouldn't take long to realize what a huge mistake that is. Keeping negotiations at arms length and avoiding the possibility of legal action are not the only issues you would have to face. I am glad your friend's daughter came to her senses.  I didn't get your call :)

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) about 5 years ago

A very dear friend just said this to me and I just cringed.  Great post on this topic.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) about 5 years ago

All the time..... Just find those needing your service......

I pay a discount realtor $100 to list on mls

I pay $350(not a penny less) with lock box. I will do my contract 

If they want ... that is fine w/ me..

Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) about 5 years ago


I haven't heard it often recently but it sure does happen. I suspect many simply aren't weighing all the advantages of working with a REALTOR, overall financial and otherwise, vs. the risks, disadvantages and liability of not doing so.

Some do get through the process on their own but I suspect that's only when there are no issues between the parties and no problems arising during the transaction. And who knows if the price is really the best.

KCM materials are great, aren't they?


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) about 5 years ago

It's a common phrase...  all too common!  It makes no sense at all when it's been proven that the seller usually nets more from the sale of their home when they use a real estate agent!

Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) about 5 years ago

Send Crazy people to view the home and ask to see it during  crazy hours.  Send crazy people to her Open House dressed up like hooligans and tell them to run around in the house and ask her crazy questions.

I mean...... 

Real Estate is the most unloyal, dishonest, selfish, bloodsucking industry we could work in.  The best words for an agent to use more often than none, "NEXT"  !!!! 

Posted by Dave Werth, FULL TIME REALTOR (WERTH REALTY ) about 5 years ago


Of course, they can, they have seen it done on HGTV, they have heard the tips on CNN, and they don't need professional help...they know it all, after all all the info is on line....NOT!  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) about 5 years ago

Always best to follow up every couple of weeks.  See if they need help or are ready to list it. 

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) about 5 years ago

Hi, Lottie Kendall .  Great graphic and information.  I don't think agents emphasize the "legal liability" issue nearly enough to sellers.  And, I once had a banker friend tell me, in her experience, FSBO sellers net about 10% less than those who hire an agent.  

Posted by Carol Williams, Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager (Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.) about 5 years ago

Yowza, I've heard nightmare stories about FSBO.....oh wait.....that was my family.  So glad her daughter listened to you and is going to list with an agent.

Posted by Roger D. Mucci, Lets shake things up at your home today! (Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092) about 5 years ago

That 44 marketing tips when preparing your home to sell is just brilliant, isn't it? I too am a subsciber...

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Lottie, I am glad the person saw the light. We know the stats on for sale by owners ... they are not good.  If it were that easy ... anyone could do it.

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist, Probate Real Estate (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) about 5 years ago

In a hot seller's market the temptation is strong to go the no agent route, but when the issues present themselves, there is no amount of money a seller would pay to get things back on track.  They should avoid the problems and consult and give the listing to the professional agent and stand to the side

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 5 years ago



What FSBOs don't understand is the legal liability, the timing, the negotiating, the difficulty in knowing whether or not a buyer is qualified, or what to spend money on when preparing a home to sell. 

Posted by Sham Reddy CRS, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) about 5 years ago

I have heard those words many times. I remind them my door is open and ready when they are. After some frustration I get the call to list.

Posted by Rob D. Shepherd, Principal Broker GRI, SRES (Windermere/lane county) about 5 years ago

I'm glad they decided to use a real estate professional for the sale.  It is really in the sellers best interest in most cases to use an agent for the reasons described above.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) about 5 years ago

I like solving problems and some take longer to solve. Imagine if you are on a learning curve and something happens? Big money stakes? Contracts? Lawsuits? Instead of being proactive, you are stuck with reactive....Not good

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 5 years ago

Like you, Lottie, I sent that seller a bunch of links to articles, including why hire an agent. I also explained how half of the transactions are blowing up in escrow right now, which is yet another reason to work with not only an agent but an experienced agent who can predict and prevent disasters. Fingers crossed on this one.

And yes, I would like to see your 44 Money Making Tips When Preparing Your Home for Sale.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) about 5 years ago

I have Lottie and stats show that using a professional Realtor will yield more money from the sale. Congratulations on the feature.

Posted by Noah Seidenberg, Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917 (Coldwell Banker) about 5 years ago

I dealt with a for sale by owner neighbor for over a year. He kept telling me he had never used a Realtor to sell a house and could do it. He is listed now with an agent because he didn't like my price recommendation.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties, The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730 (Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070) about 5 years ago


Congratulations on earning a gold star . . . . The post is outstanding.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) about 5 years ago

Good morning, Lottie... I've used KCM's infographics on this subject in the past as well... they are great... to the point and easily understood.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) about 5 years ago

This is good reading for those who are thinking about selling their home on their own.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) about 5 years ago

Lottie, too many reasons to count why FSBOs don't work. This is certainly a good starting list!

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) about 5 years ago


Thanks for sharing a super post.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) about 5 years ago

Good morning Lottie. Well deserved feature, you are so right, never a good idea to attempt to sell your own property, it is a prescription for all kinds of problems.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) about 5 years ago

Hi Lottie - I'd also add that homes sold with agent assistance sell for more than homes sold FSBO.

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) about 5 years ago

Most definitely they sell for more, Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl - these 5 points on the Infographic are just a few of the reasons; I spell out a lot more in my handout.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) about 5 years ago

Hi Lottie Kendall , I find that sharing with them with the reality of legalities, as far as disclosures, contracts, etc., usually opens their eyes quickly.  

Posted by Christine Gerbehy, Making waves, one home at a time... (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Northfield) about 5 years ago

Lottie, I haven't seen very For Sale By Owner listing lately, but maybe I'm not looking hard enough. Sellers need to be smart. Often times selling with a professional agent costs more than it saves!

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant (HomeSmart Realty Group) over 4 years ago

Hi Donna Foerster you found an old post, but the points the infographic make are as valid today as they were 11 months ago.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 4 years ago