For Sale on Facebook: Is Opting Out of Hiring a Realtor Hurting Homeowners?

Home For Sale yard Sign

After living at 7303 Coronado Avenue for 16 years, Karen Nealy decided to try and test the waters to see if she was ready to sell her home in Lakewood Hills. She’s been looking to move closer to the lake, perhaps Rockwall, with plenty of room to roam around.

“We almost bought a house yesterday that we really liked,” Nealy said a week or so ago. That’s what prompted her to “test the waters” and put her three-bedroom, two-bath home on the Lakewood Online Yard Sale Facebook page without the help of a Realtor. Since then she’s put it up as For Sale By Owner on Zillow, advertising the 1,504-square-foot traditional for $299,900.

“We know Realtors can get it out there to more people,” Nealy said, but she is doing a more improvisational trial and error approach to selling her home, which she calls a “fixer-upper.” She thinks it’s a fantastic property to add on to, perhaps for a family that wants to be inside the Lakewood Elementary School attendance zone.

Do-it-yourself listings on social media is a growing trend, but will it end up costing sellers in the long run?

Kathy Nealy's home at 7303 Coronado Ave. has been For Sale By Owner for more than a month.

Karen Nealy’s home at 7303 Coronado Ave. has been For Sale By Owner for more than a month.

We’ve asked many Realtors, and while some of them use Facebook groups to market properties, few, if any bites from those groups actually convert into a sale or lease. Of course, what many Facebook sellers may not realize is that, while they may be saving on a commission by selling their home without a Realtor, many homebuyers hire a Realtor to aid in their search, and those Realtors are using MLS and hip-pocket listings from fellow Realtors.

Many homeowners are using online yard sale groups to market properties without a Realtor.

Many homeowners are using online yard sale groups to market properties without a Realtor.

On the flipside, some homeowners are using Facebook to help limit demand. Take this Park Cities homeowner for example. After one post on the much-written-about Park Cities Online Yard Sale Group, her University Park property was a hot topic, practically swarmed with “wants” and “nexts.” For every one of these listings, though, you’ll see several comments from Realtors telling the homeowner to message them for help. Here’s hoping the homeowner came to their senses about that!

Of course, there are other downsides to marketing your home all by yourself: Inviting a stranger in while showing your home may pose a security risk. Conmen and criminals prey on the unsuspecting homeowner, relieving them of their property and prescription medication, as is the case with alleged thief Stan Tucker. In some cases, though, marketing your property through Facebook is not unlike selling or leasing through Craigslist, though with that particular method, no mutual connections are necessary.

The main benefit to hiring a Realtor is their market knowledge. Realtors sell homes and help buyers for a living, so they know what is going to help a home sell fast and for more money. Besides guiding you through the selling process, a Realtor can see how you can improve how your home shows, from staging to photography.

More than a month after posting her home on the Lakewood Online Yard Sale group, Nealy’s home is still for sale. In that time, though, a Realtor could have helped her turn her fixer-upper into a move-in-ready dream-home.

6 Comment

  • Might have been good to include the financial upside to not having a realtor so full picture given. 6% commission or $17,994 a nice savings to warrant weighing the risk and inconvenience.

    Our house had multiple offers on the same day the For Sale By Owner sign went in the yard. No Facebook – just a neighborhood and well cared for home. So happy to have saved or earned more money for my family.

    • mm

      I think that’s a given, Allie. I am glad you were able to save a little money, but do you think you got as much as you could have for your home? And what about the closing process? Did you have someone guide you through that?

      • The reporting leans too much towards the industry vs. customer. Realize your advertisers are agents etc. but your readers want objective and good insight. Love your dish but this post read a little one-sided to me. Fine line between advertorial and editorial before breaking the trust with the reader.

        We had market assessments and happy with the process & final price. Some people don’t have time to coordinate showings so it won’t work for them. Worked great for my schedule.

        Would love a story how the marketplace & technology has changed an agent’s approach. How do they keep up? Must be crazy. Interested to know how the successful ones work within technology and stay ahead of their clients ability to search and access to information.

        • mm

          Thanks for the critique, and while yes, many of our advertisers (and readers) are real estate professionals, I do feel that it’s an honest assessment that marketing a home via social media isn’t the best route for everyone. Perhaps you’re more savvy than the average seller, and good for you!

          As far as how agents keep up, we had a great interview with Kevin Caskey about his marketing strategy today:

        • I’m guessing that a real estate agent helped with the market assessment. One of the valuable services real estate agents perform is to assist sellers in pricing their homes correctly. Sellers don’t want to ask too little and cheat themselves on the price, and they don’t want their homes to languish on the market because they’re asking too much. Realtors have access to valuable market information which an average seller lacks. I agree with Joanna that an agent can also help a seller in showing a home at its best. In my experience, some sellers just complicate, frustrate, and lose deals because they negotiate and draft sales contracts badly. My wife and I sold our first home by ourselves, and we did fine. But we would never do that again because we’ve seen what agents can do to reduce the burden of selling and achieve a higher net price for their clients. I am a commercial real estate broker, but I would never attempt to do myself what good residential agents do so well.

          • mm

            Yes, Beau, but keep in mind that’s what Zulia thinks they can do, IMO. If pricing is out in the open, the seller can do their own comps. That said, I too would always use an agent over a certain price point, ALWAYS, because I truly believe they can do it better. In fact, I am going to be writing up a little ditty on how my itty bitty $2000 a month rental condo Behind the Pink Wall did not get a client until I hired a Realtor to lease it.