Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties Real Estate. Tips for home buyers, home sellers by Gita Bantwal,Realtor at Re/Max Centre Realtors.: Why do buyers look at homes for sale by owner? Why do sellers sell ' By Owner' ?

Why do buyers look at homes for sale by owner? Why do sellers sell ' By Owner' ?

Buyers' agents are paid by the listing agent through co-op fee offered in the mls in most cases. The buyers should ask their agent how they will be paid when they sign the agency contract.

This post is meant for those cases where the buyer does not have to pay the buyer agent .

Why would buyers go directly to a home being sold directly by the owner ?

There could be many reasons :

1. The house is unique and there is no other house like it. Their agent would not be able to show a similar house.

2. The buyers have been waiting for a house to come up for sale in the community as not many homes come up there.

3.. The seller has listed the house at a low price to sell quickly, and similar houses are going for a lot more.

and the most important ... 4. buyers think they can save the money that the seller would pay the agent if it was listed and offer a low price . Buyers offer x% less because they think the owner will not be paying the agent.

Why do home owners try to sell their home on their own ?

The most important reason is they want to save the commission.

If #s 1, 2 and 3 apply to your home , you should be able to sell your home but if #4 is the reason please read  reason  #4 above.


If both you and the buyers are looking to save the same amount of money who is going to win ?

Buyers prefer to work with a buyer agent who will show them all homes on the market that they would like to look at based on the criteria they suggest. Buyers do not just look at one home and buy it. Most buyers work with an agent. In a buyer's market it is difficult to sell on your own. Buyers are nervous about dealing directly with home owners and may not trust the seller.

Most buyers prefer to work with an agent when they buy a home.



When you read about events please check the year for the event as some people find information a year later and think it is for that year. . The posts remain online even after the event.

Gita Bantwal is a Realtor with RE/MAX Centre Realtors in Bucks County, a Northern suburb of Philadelphia. You can view 1000s of listings on her web site


She can be reached at 215-343-8200x124 or direct 215-275-8491 or via email


 Gita specializes in Active adult communities and is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. She holds the ABR designation (Accredited Buyers Representative) and specializes in selling to first time buyers as well as move up buyers.Gita also hold the CRS designation , Certified Residential Specialist and the CDPE designation as well. Information about real estate market is deemed to be correct but is subject to errors and omissions and should be verified independently.. Opinion expressed by me or others  in my post and comments is not to be construed to be  legal advice.I am licensed in Pa. Check real estate laws in your state as they may be different than in Pa.



Comment balloon 14 commentsGita Bantwal • July 30 2012 06:00AM


Reason #4 is usually it. It usually comes with problems neither side knows how to handle. What about written disclosures too?

Posted by Rob D. Shepherd, Principal Broker ABR, GRI (Windermere/lane county) about 6 years ago

Rob, I agree.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 6 years ago

Why doesn't the seller realize that buyers expect FSBO sellers to reduce their price at least the same as the commission they are saving if not more and they will be doing all the work a realtor usually does for them???  IF you are going to sell your home for the same price you would if you used a realtor then why not use one?  And what about the potential cost/liability if they make an error or do not realize they have to disclose something? 


As an appraiser I do not usually consider FSBO's because it is so hard to verify anything (TX is non disclosure) and really, are they truly comparable sales if they havn'et had adequate market exposure? 


Sorry, I'm preaching to the choir..aren't I??? LOL


Posted by Alisa McKeel Willson, Certified Res. Appraiser (Appraisal Pros in Texas) about 6 years ago

Gita - It all comes down to a basic misconception that selling your home yourself can save money.  In our area most FSBO sellers will allow an agent to show the home and pay them a commission.  Of course, we do not make an effort to show these homes, only if our buyers ask about them.  Buying or selling a home without representation is a lot like pulling your own wisdom tooth to avoid paying a dentist - a plan for disaster!

Posted by Barbara Hensley, Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas (RE/MAX Properties) about 6 years ago

It's all about the money usually,  Uneducated buyers and seller remain unrepresented.

Posted by Diane Daley (Caron's Gateway Real Estate) about 6 years ago

Good question!  LOL, although it does make sense in some instances I suppose...have a great week!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) about 6 years ago

Gita: The situation in my area for FSBOs is very similar to what Barbara outlined in her response.  Have a wonderful day and stay hydrated!

Posted by Anita Clark, Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA (ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055) about 6 years ago
You don't know what you don't know is my way of looking at it!
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge about 6 years ago

Gita, #4 is more to satisfy personal ego - buyers think they saved, sellers think they did! And I believe, none of them did!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) about 6 years ago

Thanks for the great post Gita, I dont agree with the conclusion, many fsbos are doing it because agents are often too inflexible on terms and price. after getting beat up for a year or so with out the expertise of an agent they do eventually come around and appreciate the skills of a good agent. 

As an investor, I never go to a fsbo for a bargain, they are almost always priced far above a reasonable price and they need an agent to help them to see the reality of a price that will attract a serious buyer.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams fox cities) about 6 years ago


You provided some great information. What it all boils down to seems to be the commission, which I think is misleading to the seller who doesn't understand there's a fee for services rendered.

I've dealt with people who represented themselves and I brought in the buyer only because the buyers exhausted their search and found something they liked about the location and what the house offered. I quickly discovered, it wasn't just about the money (commission) it also had a lot to do with the individual's personality and their inexperience in selling on their own. They didn't know anything about contract law, negotiations, or the most important parts of a Real Estate transaction.

If my clients weren't so great, I would have walked away. It was very difficult and costly to me. I deserved both sides of the commission but I didn't get anything more than a lot of headaches!

Posted by Patricia Feager, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) about 6 years ago

Gita, We rarely see FSBO's in our area nowadays, and mostly when you see them within a month or so they have a Broker sign in their front yard. Buyers will definitely offer less without representation so the seller usually doesn't save any $$$!

Posted by Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400, Long Island Condo & Home Sale Specialists (The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803) about 6 years ago

Gita, good post on FSBOs..i usually find that their property disclosures are non-existent...and that their marketing is so lacking...but if it is in a neighborhood my buyers want we will negotiate & make an offer...only once have I had success with a FSBO being realistic on price sale!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) about 6 years ago

I agree with you FSBO's loose out! What can we do, it's a big world! Nice post..

Posted by Jon Kolsky, Licensed California Real Estate Broker (Kolsky Realty & Management) about 6 years ago