Selling your home? Before you place that "For Sale by Owner" (FSBO) sign in your front yard, know the risks and challenges associated with selling a home without professional help.

Selling your home? Before you place that "For Sale by Owner" (FSBO) sign in your front yard, know the risks and challenges associated with selling a home without professional help.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sellers who use a real estate agent receive a purchase price that is about 5 to 8 percent higher than they would if they sold the home themselves.

This may seem surprising considering sellers are required to pay Realtors commission and other fees when closing a deal. How exactly does this happen?

Some sellers believe attempting to sell their home alone can save on commission fees and time. However, the complex issues involved in selling a home, which are handled by a Realtor, are often overlooked.

A professional, qualified Realtor can accurately price your home by conducting a comparative market analysis on the property. This report provides pricing information on similar homes in the area, which in turn helps you to accurately price your home - reducing the property's market time.

The NAR also states, "The typical FSBO home sold for $187,200 compared to $247,000 for agent-assisted home sales." Realtors have a tremendous amount of experience pricing within different markets. Unless you're an expert, it's better to have a professional Realtor do the market analysis.

Another issue related to FSBO pricing involves an owner's attachment to the property being sold. In most cases, it's better to have a neutral, third-party, assess your home's worth. Many owners believe their homes are valued higher than they actually are. As a result, homes that are "For Sale by Owner" end up staying on the market for a longer period of time.

According to the NAR, deciding on a selling price is one of the most difficult tasks for FSBO sellers, but one undertaking proves to be even more complex--understanding paperwork. This intricate process can be a legal nightmare if you're not careful.

Not only can a real estate agent assist you in the actual transaction process, but some may even provide additional home-related services to make life easier. For example, some brokerages may offer home warranties, utility-connection services or "concierge desks" to eliminate the confusion and stress of buying or selling your home.

Another important component to selling your home is marketing. Realtors have the experience and tools to reach large groups of consumers. With new online marketing initiatives and higher advertising budgets for television, radio and print, agents have the upper edge when it comes to reaching consumers through multiple mediums of communication. Here at Real Living, we employ 360 Marketing Integration. This involves everything from blogs and social networking to direct mail campaigns.

Marketing can be a challenging task, so if you're on a tight budget, it might be more effective to hire an agent to drive traffic to your listing.

For more information on the risks and challenges of FSBO listings, contact your local agent today.

Harley E. Rouda Jr. is the CEO of Real Living, one of the nation's fastest-growing real estate companies.

Harley E.

Rouda Jr.