Spring Real Estate

How To Be Your Own Realtor

Shelly K. Schwartz,|Special to CNBC.com

If you’ve ever planted a "for sale" sign in your front yard, you’ve at least considered the possibility of selling your home without a realtor. Why should someone who offers little more than a multiple listing service, you reason, pocket 5 or 6 percent of your sales price? (On a $400,000 house, that’s $24,000.)

A sign points the way to a home for sale in Beaverton, Ore., Monday, May 22, 2006. Figures for existing home sales will be released Thursday. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Don Ryan

It’s a question that becomes all the more pertinent, given the slumping housing market. With the amount of equity in many homes on the decline, the potential savings make a pretty strong case for the for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) approach.

Indeed, by leaving brokers out of the equation, homeowners could effectively slash their asking price by 3 –

even - 4 percent below comparable listings in their neighborhood, helping them sell their house faster and still come out ahead.

It worked for Eric Maas, owner of a national entertainment franchise who has sold two homes that way in the last five years.

"I didn’t think we’d be able to do it again in this market, especially since our house was outside of town [near Omaha, Neb.] so no one was going to see our ‘for sale’ sign," he said. "When I would talk to agents, they were a little angry and told us bad things would happen and that it all looked fine now, but it would all fall apart at the negotiating table. It never did."