For sale by owner homes are kind of a hear no evil, see no evil topic for most people in my field, but I’m not afraid of dealing with them. I think that if a homeowner has the time and comfort level to sell their house by themselves, that is fine. I certainly have my opinions of their success level, but that is a different issue.
So, lately I have had several interactions with fsbo houses, and they are all different and interesting. Basically, if you make the decision to sell your home unrepresented, then you better be prepared to interact with realtors. Some will call because they want to try to get you to list their house with them. I don’t generally do this because I’m not a pushy salesperson. Maybe I should be more aggressive, but I just follow the golden rule in everything I do, and I wouldn’t want someone doing that to me so I don’t do it to others. Another reason a realtor may call you is because they have a buyer/client who could potentially want to buy the house and they want to learn more about it. If you are a fsbo, be prepared for these calls and to discuss commissions. This is where my stories come into play… Here are four interactions:
- The first is a great family with an awesome house in Brookside, and they may list with me one day but for now they are trying to sell it themselves. I understand their decision as they have had past success with selling a home on their own. They are familiar with the process, and they work from home so they are readily available to show their home when a buyer calls. They seem to be relying on word of mouth and open houses to market their home.
- The second is a fsbo who has a house for sale that I wanted to show to a buyer/client. They agreed to pay me a commission if my client wanted to purchase their home, so I showed it and it almost ended up in a sale. We worked well together, and I really appreciated their cooperation. I would love the opportunity to market this home one day because I know I could get it sold fast, but I digress. They are an example of how to go fsbo correctly. They did lots of research, they know how to show their house, they have it staged well, and they are prepared.
- The third isn’t really much of a story – just an anecdote. I was out with clients all last weekend, and we had to find a house that weekend. Time crunch… Anyway, we were looking in several neighborhoods and I had our schedules all planned out. As we were driving, we passed by a couple FSBOs which looked very nice, but we didn’t have time to deal with them. Had we known about them in advance, they could have seen them and maybe purchased. Exposure is everything in real estate.
- The fourth story is still fresh. I called a fsbo today because the house looked like a potential match for a client of mine. So I previewed it and told the seller that I would like to show it to my client and asked if he would agree to pay my commission. He wouldn’t agree. I just don’t understand this. I mean, you really need to be prepared for this or you are going to miss out on a huge percent of buyers out there. Now I know why realtors don’t generally call fsbos for their clients… **On a side note, he said he isn’t getting many showings and blamed it on the slow market. I didn’t tell him this, but the market is not slow in his area or price range. I just sold a similar house in 3 days. He has dropped his price by $10,000 since he came on the market and no takers. I could list it at his original price and sell it in a heartbeat, but evidently he just wants to drag this out.