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Home Buyers and Sellers Survey Shows Lingering Impact of Tight Credit

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For-sale-by-owner transactions accounted for 9 percent of sales, matching the record lows set in 2010 and 2012; the record high was 20 percent in 1987. The share of homes sold without professional representation has trended lower since last reaching a cyclical peak of 18 percent in 1997.

Factoring out private sales between parties who knew each other in advance, the actual number of homes sold on the open market without professional assistance was 6 percent. Twelve percent of all FSBOs said they had been contacted directly by a buyer and were not actively attempting to sell their home.

The median sales price for owners who used an agent was $230,000, well above the $184,000 median for a home sold directly by an owner, but there were important differences. The median income of FSBOs was $86,200, in contrast with $99,900 for agent-assisted sellers, and they were more likely to be selling a smaller home, suggesting a lower home value for unassisted sellers.

The most difficult tasks reported by FSBOs are getting the right price, preparing or fixing up the home for sale, and understanding and completing paperwork.

NAR mailed a 122-question survey in July 2013 to a national sample of 148,011 home buyers and sellers who purchased their homes between July 2012 and June 2013, using a random sample of county records. It generated 8,767 usable responses, weighted to be representative of sales on a geographic basis; the adjusted response rate was 6.1 percent. All information is characteristic of the 12-month period ending in June 2013 with the exception of income data, which are for 2012. Because of rounding and omissions for space, percentage distributions for some findings may not add up to 100 percent.

For more information, visit www.realtor.org/prodser.nsf/Research.

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