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For-sale-by-owners hit record low again, says NAR

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“Buyers and sellers do need the help of a real estate professional to help them find the right home for them or market to the property, negotiate terms of sale, and help with price negotiations.”

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For the third year in a row, for-sale-by-owner transactions accounted for only 8% of recent home sales, the lowest share that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has recorded in its annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey since the report was first released in 1981.

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For-sale-by-owner sales were between 12% and 14% from 2001 to 2008. In addition, the share of recent home sellers who sold with an agent remained at a record high of 89% in the last year.

NAR managing director of survey research, Jessica Lautz says for-sale-by-owner sales have flattened due to current market conditions where sellers need a competitive edge that only an agent can provide.

 “What we do see is that sellers are working with agents to help market their homes to potential buyers, sell it in a specific time frame and price the home competitively,” she said. “Pricing the home competitively is really important for sellers today, especially because everything is rapidly changing with prices. So knowing how to price that home so they can sell quickly is important, and that’s difficult for for-sale-by-owners to do.”

15% of for-sale-by-owner sellers said getting the right price was their biggest obstacle, followed by selling it within a certain timeframe (13%) and understanding and performing paperwork (12%).

According to NAR, the median for-sale-by-owner sales price rose slightly from $185,000 to $190,000 last year, compared to the median price of a home sold using an agent, which stands at $250,000. For-sale-by-owner homes sold more quickly on the market than agent-assisted homes. 58% of for-sale-by-owner homes sold in less than two weeks – often because these homes are sold to someone the seller knows.



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