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By rockinblu | Other/Just Looking in Austin, TX

Thinking About Selling as a FSBO?


Disclaimer: There are numerous links to vendors and suppliers of various services contained in the following blog. As I haven't personally had any experience with them, do not consider them as recommendations from me. They are there for informational purposes, and possible options. Please, before using any of the individuals or businesses, research them thoroughly.

I (dumb me) absolutely do not receive any financial remuneration for the mentions in the blog, and chances are many of those mentioned aren't even aware of it.

Do not read any further than this paragraph. The original blog contains seriously outdated info. Please click here for an updated version.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Now, here goes:

First, are you really a good FSBO candidate? You should ask yourself a few questions, such as below, before really considering it.

1. Ladies, will you have someone available, sometimes at a drop of a hat, to help with your security when showing the house?

2. Gentlemen, how comfortable and secure do you feel about allowing strangers into your home for showings?

3. Do you have, and will you devote the necessary time for the marketing and showings?

4. Will you be available for showings at the convenience of the buyer instead of only at your convenience?

5. Are you a control freak? Someone who also is always trying to re-invent the wheel. Someone who likes to tell other people how to do their job better. Yes, those things describe me. However, that makes you good FSBO material because most Realtors probably would rather not have you for a client anyway. Mine got rid of me after three months. However, I had the last laugh as I sold to an unrepresented buyer for almost 20k more than where he was trying to lead me.

If you felt you answered those questions honestly and with a yes, you should probably read on, because there are more things to consider, and some tips as well.

I came across these two threads that are attached to the links below on Zillow that had some good security information on it for FSBOs. I thought I should include them here. Read the post on the second one by renfan1.

http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/FSBO-Security-Tips/243066/

http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/How-can-I-sell-my-home-without-a-real-estate-agent-company-What-is-the-process-guidelines/305451/

I sincerely believe selling as a FSBO is probably, in the vast majority of cases, going to take longer than being represented by a top notch agent. If you are in a declining market, the longer you are on the market the more your home's value drops. You have to weigh one thing against the other in deciding to do a FSBO.

Lets get one thing out of the way first. You can read in their entirety the studies attached to the links below if you like, but their findings basically state that Realtors do not net the seller more. 

http://faculty.wcas.northwestern.edu/~ane686/research/fsbo.pdf

http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/papers/pdf/06-41.pdf

You might want to note that the Northwestern study was done in the Madison, Wisconsin market which, if not the strongest, is one of the strongest FSBO markets in the country.

If you do decide to do a FSBO, you must be a patient person and one who can stay committed. Pricing is the very, very tricky part. If you say to yourself, "Well since I am not paying a listing commission, I can sell it for x dollars cheaper." That's fine if you can stay committed as a FSBO. However if you don't, and later decide to go with a Realtor, it would be very hard to then raise the price to accommodate the commission.

Initially interview 3 or 4 agents and get CMAs to at least get an idea on price, and for future reference on an agent in case you do bail out. Hopefully you will end up with at least three CMAs. Of those, there could be one you really like. That's probably the one you shouldn't use. Actually if you get four, I would throw out both the high and the low. I would then average the remaining two and start there. 

It has been brought to my attention that some agents choose not to leave comp info behind after the interview. My suggestion is to take your own notes on them from their information during the interview. If any object, show them the door. Hopefully, you will meet some good professionals that will leave the info behind for you to study along with their marketing plan.Those are the type you would want to represent you if you decide on representation later. During this interview try to find out the agents' views on an acceptable commission to be offered to buyer agents in your area.  Also, a good question to ask  is if they will do a flat-fee MLS listing for you, and ask if they have an ala carte price list available for various itemized services.After all is said and done you decide on using an agent, you might want to read this blog> 

 http://www.trulia.com/blog/rockinblu/2008/12/i_ve_got_my_fingers_cros 

As a FSBO, once you do decide on an initial price, you must keep abreast of the changes in your market. In a down market you have to stay ahead of it to sell. You shouldn't be behind it chasing it down. While, the recent sales info on Trulia and Zillow are not going to be as complete or up to date as the local MLS, it still may be of some help in monitoring the recent solds. Below are two links. The first is to Trulia. Simply change the city to the correct one, and the second link is to Zillow with instructions on finding recent solds on Zillow.

http://www.trulia.com/sold/Leesburg,FL/

http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/how-can-i-find-real-estate-transactions-in-the-past-3-months-for-milford-CT/314956/
 
Don't get too cutesy with your listing price. For example, do not list at 299,900. At 300,000 you meet the search criteria in two directions, with 300,000 being the top in one, and the bottom in another.

When selling a house, remember that you are in competition with other sellers. I think we all realize that could not be any truer than now. Your house is in a beauty contest, and is up against many agent prepared houses. In almost every case agents are more knowledgeable than you in preparing a home for sale. YOU CAN'T under estimate the value of decluttering and staging. THEY DON"T. The link below is to a regular poster on Zillow that may be able to help with this important issue.

http://www.zillow.com/profile/An-OrderLee-Home/

The other obvious issue is price.The main thing is to be real on price with very little wiggle room. You can always say no to a bad offer. The trick is to get an offer. There is something known as a 3/2/1 buydown that as a seller you could offer to stand apart from the crowd. I am not necessarily recommending it, but knowing about it can't hurt, and it is an option. The first link is to an explanation of it. The second link is to a discussion on it. The third link is to a company that specializes in handling them. I do not know anything about the company. If you decide this is something you would like to offer, do your research.

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real-estate/buy-down-points-to-get-the-deal-done.aspx

http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/3-2-1-buydowns-vs-price-reduction-a-great-way-to-sell-your-home/46967/

http://www.321advantage.com/

The general perception agents have of FSBOs is that the homes are overpriced, and the owners they have to deal with are too emotionally attached and non-professional. In short, they are a pain in the posterior. In dealing with the agents you must try to overcome being viewed as stereotypical. Offer a co-op that is consistent with the average rate for your area. An agent posted the following advice that should be taken to heart "be clear and up front to agents bringing the buyer- one aspect of FSBO that breeds caution from buyers agents is a lack of clarity on the fee."  In your ads you can add the abbreviation "CSB" with the percentage offered; e.g. 3% CSB. That's agent lingo for 3% commission to the selling broker. Yes, the selling broker. That's their term for buyer agent. 

While you should definitely concentrate on agent showings, you still have to put a lot of focus on the unrepresented buyer. Do craigslist, and every free site you can find. When using craigslist it is absolutely essential to delete and re-post every week without fail. I actually did mine every four days. I think you can actually do every it every 48hrs.  However, be very wary of those who respond to your craigslist ad, while it's a great site to advertise, it's incredible the amount of scammers that permeate the site.  

http://www.hoax-slayer.com/craigslist-account-phishing-scam.shtml

http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams

If you're considering posting your house on Zillow, you might very well want to read this blog for some tips on doing so.

The thread on Zillow attached to the following link lists numerous free online listing sites http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/Discussions/Preparing/US/4580_tid,1,2,0/FREE-Online-Listing-Websites-for-Agents-and-Owners/ and I just recently came across this one> http://www.yigdigs.com/

 Whatever sites you end up using, upload as many photos as possible. Some people are overly concerned about their zestimate on Zillow, but if you're not and you opted for a $39.95 "Featured Listing", or a "Make Me Move" posting, you should post a link from your craigslist ad to your Zillow ad, as Zillow allows more photos.

Postlets ( http://www.postlets.com/home.php ) is another good site. Their "Pro" option for $10 is very nice.Using the postlets html code makes posting to craigslist quite easy. See answer #12 from the link below.

http://www.postlets.com/info/help.php#3

If you would like to have a virtual tour for your listing, you might want to check this company out>  http://www.buildatour.com/ 

Now if you're really computer savvy, and good with a camera, you can blow some people's minds by making a photosynth tour>>>  http://photosynth.net/

If you would like to build your own website, you might want to try>>>
http://www.wix.com/

 Being on the MLS is absolutely essential for getting the most exposure. I don't know anything personally about using the sites attached to the links below to get on the MLS, however, I have read a very positive post by someone who used the first one. I also saw an agent give her recommendation on the site attached to the second link, and other sellers on the remaining two.

http://www.owners.com/Tools/SellerHandbook/DecideToSell.aspx

http://www.forsalebyowner.com/listing/new

http://homeworksre.com/

http://www.housepad.com/

As for as I am personally concerned, I probably would only consider an out of town source for getting on the MLS if  it was free. Another reason would be if I couldn't find an agent locally that was willing to do the MLS listing for a flat rate that I felt comfortable with. There is something to be said about staying local. If you do decide on an out of town service, ask the company what MLS feeds are included, each MLS is different. You certainly want one in your area, not one in Timbuktu. No matter how you get on the MLS, test it after you are on. Have a friend posing as a buyer call and email to see how it is handled. There have been reported instances of those calls being handed off to agents who just use them as leads to sell other listings. Below is some info that was supplied to me regarding flat fee services:

"Sellers need to be careful when choosing a flat fee listing service to get on the MLS. They make you put the agent's number on the yard sign and in the MLS listing. If the contract you sign says that the flat fee listing service gets the buyer's commission if THEY find the buyer, that should be a BIG red flag. When an unrepresented potential buyer calls the agent, the agent can refuse to give the buyer your contact information. Instead, the agent "finds" this buyer for you, and you wind up paying the buyer's agent commission to your flat fee broker when there was no buyer's agent. As a potential buyer, this happened to me. I called the seller directly when the flat fee broker refused to give me the seller's contact info, but many buyers would not pick up on what the flat fee broker was trying to do. I should add that I've dealt with other flat fee brokers who gladly passed me along to the seller. Not all flat fee services are the same. Be careful and READ THE CONTRACT!!!!"  

When you find a buyer, and if you really become apprehensive about the paperwork, the same agent that did your MLS listing will probably do the paperwork for you for a reasonable fee if you are intimidated by attorneys. My buyer was unrepresented. I had all the necessary forms that I had gotten from a title and escrow company. We went over the necessary disclosures and hashed out a deal. I took the info to a RE attorney to draw up a contract, and contacted the title and escrow company. The buyer ordered the inspection and took the contract to his bank. The bank ordered an appraisal. We closed. Sounds simple, and it was, but obviously this is not always the case. My buyer had a letter of financing approval which is very important. If an offer comes in without one, it is essential to retain the right to keep showing the house.

There are advocates of having the house professionally inspected before putting it on the market. I was advised by an agent not to do it. Deborah Madey on this thread> http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Selling/Does_the_seller_have_to_submit_a_copy_of_her_inspe-96780  states the same thing. BTW, if you are in TX, be sure to read the post by Dennis Anderson. 

House accessibility is another issue for FSBO's. Get an electronic lockbox. These are the safest, and the most widely used one is called the Supra ibox. Check to see if one is available for rent through whatever agent or company you use to get on the MLS. You might even check with the local MLS on renting one.You can also generally buy one used on ebay. However, it will have to be re-programmed for your area. GE will do that for $25 if you send a letter (must be on business letterhead) from both the old MLS and the new one giving permission for the re-programming. You may call 1-800-545-9601 for more info. If all this seems too complicated just opt for the Supra C-3 push button (see first link), or the Ryobi model available online from Home Depot (second link),and change the combination regularly. It obviously goes without saying to do everything possible to protect easily removed valuables when allowing strangers into your home, particularly when those strangers are not being monitored by you. 

http://www.sanzospecialties.com/index.cfm?action=cat.prodInfo&productID=33&categoryID=59

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&productId=100671272&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=100671272&cm_mmc=shopping-_-googlebase-_-D25X-_-100

 Make sure you get a quality professional looking sign with your phone number, mls number, and stating that you are offering a broker co-op. Keep in mind that most, if not all, MLS systems have rules against "by owner" signs. Using one could cause your listing to be removed. It's definitely a good idea to use one provided by the listing service as long as it has all the info mentioned earlier. If it doesn't, make sure that you have an additional one made stating "broker co-op," or use the "CSB" abbreviation with possibly even the percentage stated, as well as anything else that would be missing. You should  have a flyer box with nice, fully informative flyers. Never leave your home without rolling the home phone over to your cell phone. Have a good RE attorney ready, and a title and escrow company picked out.

If you have a showing by an agent and you're home, if you can't leave stay out of the way, but available for questions. The agent doesn't need, or want your help with the client. Remember if you have an electronic lockbox, or even a pushbutton, there may be showings when you are not at home. These showings obviously should only be done by verified agents using their  key card for lockbox access. However, if you are using a pushbutton you must be doubly sure who you give the combination out to, and change it afterwards. A good way to verify that it's an agent that's calling is to request that a confirmation is done from the office using the agency's phone with the published number. After receiving that call, use the caller ID listed number, and check the number against the one on their site or in the phone book. .

You should have information lists available that are suitable for handout with all the pertinent info such as the age of the roof, as well as the furnace and air conditioning system, along with recent upgrades, and replacements. Also, It might be a good idea to have copies of fully filled out disclosure forms available as well. While on the subject of disclosure, hopefully this doesn't apply to you> http://www.zillow.com/advice-thread/Short-Sale-and-or-Foreclosure-is-a-Material-Fact-and-Must-be-Disclosed/206315/ If it does, check out your state law concerning it. 

There can always be a chance for no-shows on showing appointments. Read Don Tepper's advice to help minimize this problem on this thread > http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Selling/Is_there_anything_I_can_do_to_prevent_no_shows_-140822

Keep a list of all the names and addresses of people who view your home. If you eventually end up going with a Realtor, you may want to exclude them from the listing agreement. However, remember that an agent may be reluctant to spend a lot of marketing dollars on a listing where the rug could be pulled out from under them at any time. A listing on the MLS with exclusions is often avoided by agents as well.

I came up with an idea for a supplemental sign to be used with your regular FSBO sign. It is to be used on days when the house is show worthy and can be done on any day of the week. You never know when an agent might be driving one of his/her clients around in your neighborhood and has a few spare minutes. It has had mixed reviews from agents, and it should go without saying that if you use it, ID, ID, and ID.
   

This is worthy of mentioning again. If you do go FSBO, the sign is very important. Do not look like so many FSBOs that use a $10 Home Depot sign. For about $20 more you could probably get one done professionally. 

Probably the best addition to the "For Sale" sign is actually you. Whenever possible, spend time working out front. I had two impromptu showings while raking leaves. You would think weekend afternoons would be the best times for this to occur, but both times it was during the week. Once an agent with a client pulled up and asked, which was a very good showing, and the other was a couple on their own. The spiral staircase scared them both off though.

Another contributor to this blog brought this up:

"In addition to a professional-looking sign, professional-looking listings/ads are a MUST. This means error-free spelling, grammar and punctuation in the listing copy, as well as plenty of clear, well-lit photos.  With digital cameras being so inexpensive, there is no excuse not to have photos...nice photos. I took five or six shots of each room, brought them up on the computer, and chose the very best ones."

Also, my favorite Realtor on this site did a post some time ago about the importance of getting on the broker tour in the neighborhood. This does come from a post he did on another site, and I hope he doesn't mind me re-posting it here.

"Getting on the broker's tour is critical. Much of the trouble that FSBOs have when trying to sell, is exposure. Agents can't show your property if they don't know about the listing, and don't have any information about it. Each agent may represent 2-3 clients who might be interested in a property like yours... so if you can expose it to a dozen agents, you've consequently exposed the house to a potential 36 viewers, who many come back. In order to be on the tour, you MUST be on the MLS, and you list the scheduled tour through it... hours must be followed exactly... each market sets their own. Call the local MLS board (or any local realtor) to find out what the times and day are in your area... and have a couple of broker's tours the first month.

If you really want to attract Realtors... (and you do!) serve some food... we're unbelievable food-whores.... it should be finger-food.. something that can easily be carried and won't mess up your house. Doughnuts, Granola Bars, Nice Cold Mini-water bottles in hot weather, cookies, finger sandwiches... individually wrapped candy... hot Starbucks coffee on a cold day... and make sure you ADVERTISE the food in the MLS.. .there's a check off box for refreshments... and a small area to describe the property... and tell them you're serving a snack!!

Good luck."

A Realtor on another site that is also one of my favorites posted this:

"The important thing to consider is the overwhelming number of buyers are using Realtors and in order to capture them you should try to be as realtor friendly as possible.
I don't have the time to scour all the FSBO sites that are out there and seemingly newly arriving everyday. Get on the MLS. I suggest you create a very nice flyer, drop by the local offices, shake a few hands and generate the competition to sell it. Yes you will hear some of the NAR crappola, but only the bad ones will dismiss a paycheck because you are FSBO. Make me want to sell it before somebody else, including you."

Below is a lnk to some flyer templates.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/TC010014361033.aspx?CategoryID=CT101466191033

Along with the flyer, it might be an idea to have some agent protection forms attached.
See the link below for an idea of one that was supplied by Yvette. The one she illustrated as a sample appears to be one an agent would create, however a seller could easily use most of the language and create one for the agent.

http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Selling/Would_this_Agreement_to_bring_Buyer_to_Non_Listed_-83119

 A veteran FSBO seller contributed the following :

"We have been successful in selling our homes FSBO the last two times. I think much of the advice here is probably pretty good - selling FSBO is not easy and definitely requires a lot of homework, but I would still do it that way because I see no reason to pay a listing agent to do something that I can do myself.

I will say that both times we did pay a flat fee service to list our home on MLS, and we clearly offered a buyer's agent commission. I hate that I have to pay a buyers agent, but I just don't think there is anything out there that rivals the MLS for exposure - sad, but true. And the first place a buyers agent will look when deciding whether or not to show my house is under the heading of 'Commission'. If I clearly state I am willing to coop, that takes a big hurdle off the table for the agent.

We also do a lot of pre-sale marketing. Many photos and lots of house information passed around via email to pretty much anyone and everyone we know saying 'if you or anyone you know might be interested, please pass this attachment along, etc.' We got at least 6 showings of our current property that way - and often these are "good" buyers. "Good" in the sense that they probably already live in the area, know the area (you don't have to sell them on why your school district is better than the other one, etc), and know when they see a well priced property. In other words, they know the context of the area.

And finally, it really is all about the price. We sold our current home FSBO in less than 2 days on the market. We really thought that we could probably sit around and wait on a good buyer and get $950K in a decent market. So, we can either sit here and argue that our house is worth that much, and wait a while, OR we can price it aggressively and actually SELL the house and get on with our lives. We obviously chose the later. Am I sitting here wishing I could have gotten more for the house ?- NO! I'm thrilled that I don't have to keep it spotlessly clean (with 3 kids and 4 pets underfoot), and that I can now move forward with making offers on whatever will be my next home with nothing holding me back. I know that there will be 'bumps in the road' on even the cleanest contract - home inspections, small repairs, etc., but we now have two parties very interested in making the deal go through, so those things can almost always be worked out. Good luck."

Below is a link to some information of importance in dealing with buyers that I found on Zillow.

http://www.zillow.com/wikipages/Negotiating-Goals-for-the-Seller/

Below is a link that could help in preparing a counter offer.

http://www.sell-my-house-fsbo.com/real-estate-counter-offer.html

When we found our buyer, or better put, our buyer found us, I really didn't even have a clue what to do about earnest money. So you won't have the same issue, the link below should help.

http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Selling/Where_Is_Earnest_Money_Held_-223463

Here is some possible info that you may get on this site that I have read before to encourage FSBO's to use Realtors:

"80% of For Sale By Owners end up listing with a professional;

10% sell on their own
10% decide not to sell.

Rebuttal: There is no doubt that a greater percentage of represented homes come to a successful sale and close. However, keep in mind that the numbers given are most probably coming from a biased source, and secondly these studies are based for the most part on MLS listing information. I for one, never even had our house on the MLS while doing a FSBO and still sold. You can just about bet your bottom dollar those type of transactions are not considered very often in arriving at those percentages. Also, the math doesn't begin to add up. Even just going with the NAR's latest survey (The 2009 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers), their deinition of a FSBO (those that have not used a flat-fee service) accounted for 11% of the sales. For only 10% of the original number of FSBOs to account for 11% of the sales that would mean that better than 90% of all sellers started out as FSBOs- .10/.11.

~~~~~

"A national survey of home sellers showed that homes listed by Realtors average selling for16% MORE than those sold without."

Rebuttal: The NAR survey that is generally referred to does go on to point out that if you take out FSBO sales where there was a friend or acquaintance involved in the transaction and just look at transactions in the open market the percentage is tighter. You also notice that the words "selling for" are used. This does not address the agent's commission that is taken off the top of that number, nor does it address the fact that a vast majority of higher end houses are never listed as FSBO's, which obviously skews the numbers. This was also previously addressed in the study linked to earlier in the post.  Also, the September 08 issue of Consumer Reports magazine reported that FSBO sellers are more likely to get their asking price while agents deliver, on average, a sales price that is $5,000 less than the original asking price.

~~~~

"Commissions are a deductible expense."

Rebuttal: A commission might be if you are selling at a loss and want to add to it. A commission can be if you are selling something other than your primary residence. A commission can be if your net proceeds from the sale is over $250,000 if single, or over $500,000 if married and filing jointly. The link below explains it better. The simple truth is if you have any doubt, consult a tax professional.


http://taxes.about.com/od/taxplanning/qt/home_sale_tax.htmhttp://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Selling/Can_anyone_direct_me_to_the_new_legislation_regard-92312


In relation to the info supplied on the above link, there have been some changes to the rules described on it, which are covered in the link below.
 
http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Selling/Can_anyone_direct_me_to_the_new_legislation_regard-92312

I did recently come across what I felt to be an informative Realtor blog. There are things listed in it, other than the Realtor slant, that as a FSBO you would be well advised to take note of. I would look it over thoroughly for tips that may apply to you. 

http://www.whydidntmyhomesell.com/

One Realtor did post this concern with FSBO's:

"FSBO home owners tend to not have a grasp of the anti-discrimination laws and I've had more than one that have stated things that made me cringe in front of a prospective buyer."
 
Given that, it might not hurt to really familiarize yourself with the info on the site connected to the link below.

http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/FHLaws/index.cfm

California residents in particular should probably look for Carol-lynne's post in the comments section for this blog. She brings up a very good point.

There you have it. About 10 months of accumulation regarding doing a FSBO. Additions are certainly welcome. Open minded Realtors opinions are much valued, and buyers and sellers input as well. Please do not just reply to this to bash Realtors. This is not what it is intended for any more than Realtors getting on and trying to discourage FSBO's by taking the standard NAR line.

Many thanks to those named below who have contributed to the information provided in this blog. Very little of it can be credited to me. Particularly, I wish to thank the agents who were so helpful and generous with their time.

Agents:

Alan May
Evanston, Skokie, Wilmette, IL
http://www.coldwellbankeronline.com/Associate/AgentProfile.aspx?AgentID=2113&FirstName=Alan&IsFromAgentSrch=True&LastName=May&PageNum=1&RegionID=0&SortColumn=LastName&StateID=19

Anita Crum
Newport News, VA
http://www.anitacrum.com/

Carol-lynne
La Quinta, CA
http://www.carol-lynnemittelbusher.com/

Don Tepper
Fairfax, VA
http://www.solutions3dhome.com/

Jeff Konstant

Other posters:

fourier2020
geomath
headinghome
renfan1
Spec_Tater
Yvette

Comments

By Kathleen,  Tue Aug 26 2008, 13:23
Excellent information. Yes, I tend to be a control freak but know all my comps and want the sale once i go full steam, advertise&hold open houses to be as quick and painless as possible, which means on point pricing. Thanks you again. I intend to review your info thoroughly. I already use Craigslist and just recently noted the benefit of purging&reposting. I also use zillow as it allows for an extensive # of photos and clear outline of the homes specifics. Plus I like to see how long the homeowner has been at the residence, their purchase price, taxes & arial views to weed out undesirable locations. Will try the Postlets too. That being said, I'm also all for realtors since my Mom is an outstanding one, however, short term if we can do this on our own after a failed 5mo mls /broker listing last year, then it will only benefit our family.
*******
Some comments to the below,i would recommend to anyone trying fsbo & even pursuing via a realtor or considering listing on the mls to get clientfuls as i do(be well versed! it's your finances, your money, your future). get clientfuls sent covering your comps&what you're looking for daily. i do drive bys, mentally weigh locations vs amenities vs my property, I consider these my hot sheets&open every morning. i've been following my target area since 2006. I wrote contracts for a living, managed pricing so perhaps I'm more comfortable dealing with buyers&offers. But even so, I would absolutely consult with attorneys&in my lucky case, my mother who is a seasoned realtor, for the extra guidance&to ensure laws are followed. This is not my profession but it is my families money.
By Marilyn Gibson,  Tue Aug 26 2008, 13:54
I offer a couple of additional questions to the homeowner who is considering representing himself in a FSBO sale:
6: Can you remain unemotional during the process? Selling your home can be an emotional experionce. Can you remain calm during the negotiation of the sale and the building inspection? Will you become defensive if a potential buyer offers far less than your asking price? After you have agreed on a sales price, will you get upset if the potential buyer asks for thousands of dollars in repair work to be completed prior to closing?
7: Are you knowledgable about the market and realistic in your asking price?
8: Are you aware of required disclosures and inspections?
9: Are you prepared to handle complex transactions, counter offers, multiple offers, contingencies, and appraisal issues? If things do not go smoothly with the transaction, (or if the buyer is disatisfied after closing) can you handle the stress of a lawsuit?

If you can answer "yes" to these questions, in addition to the five posted by Rockinblu, then you may be a candidate for a FSBO transaction.
By J R,  Sun Aug 31 2008, 09:55
Marilyn makes excellent additional points. I would add, are you knowledgable about the CHANGES in the market. It's relatively easy for a FSBO to consult a few agents, get comps, and set a price. I harder to keep up with what has been sold, and next to impossible to keep up with what has gone under contract. I would also add that for my own part, as a rule I will not show a FSBO. I will DEFINITELY not show a FSBO that has a FSBO sign in front of it. Why? I think you know why! :)
By rockinblu,  Tue Sep 2 2008, 18:30
"I would also add that for my own part, as a rule I will not show a FSBO. I will DEFINITELY not show a FSBO that has a FSBO sign in front of it. Why? I think you know why! :) "
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

J R

Once bitten, twice shy. If I were you, I probably would be reluctant too. I applaud you for your usual outspoken honesty.

There has been some discussion about FSBO's selling for so much less than what a Realtor can get for them. At the same time Realtors speak of how overpriced FSBO's tend to be. If they are all so overpriced, it still seems to me that some slip through the cracks and sell, overpriced or not. The others that eventually give up and go with a Realtor, for the most part, must certainly be convinced to lower their price. This all seems contradictory to me. What doesn't seem confusing or contradictory to me is that if there are other Realtors who feel the way you do, FSBO's are missing a lot of showings and possible sales. Due to this, they stand the chance of languishing on the market longer with their only option being to lower their price. In this scenario, I can see FSBO's selling for less. While your motive is of a personal nature that I can better understand, I am sure there are quite a few others that have different reasons that I may understand, but I appreciate far less.

Other Realtors, we have been over and over how the majority of you would never intentionally avoid a FSBO. From my own personal experience I know very well there are some of you out there. However, we all know there are others that avoid FSBO's like the plague for far less reasons than J R, so please lets not attack someone for at least being honest.
By Michael Lefebvre,  Wed Sep 10 2008, 07:58
Very informative post RockinBlu!
If sellers are truly concerned about maximizing their net, I would suggest taking a look at this post as well:
http://www.trulia.com/blog/mike_lefebvre/2008/08/it_s_all_about_the_net

Good luck to all!
Mike Lefebvre
TheUncommonAgent.com
By Barry,  Sat Sep 13 2008, 14:37
Realtors hate FSBO's cause they don't make any commissions... I however have been flipping houses for a while now and I am tired of working my butt off on a remodel and the realtor making more money than me in the end...
I am all for a flat rate type commission but the 5 or 6 % is ridiculous! I prefer to stick the $5000 in my pocket from now on! And as far as the technicality's and paperwork go, get a good lawyer familiar with all the necessary documents, he'll be a lot cheaper than 6%
By Linsey Planeta,  Thu Sep 25 2008, 07:52
Hi rockinblu,

Thank you for the link to my blog, even with the Realtor slant. :) You have good content here. FSBO is not for everyone, but those that want to give it a go, being thoroughly educated about all that it takes is critical. This gives them a step in the right direction.

By Georgette Larner,  Thu Sep 25 2008, 08:08
As a realtor, I've suggested to home sellers that if they choose, they can start that way. I also advise them that acting as their own "agent" they should be aware of the requirements of their state, such as the "Property Condition Disclosure", Lead Disclosure", etc. I also point out that realtors are able to bring to their home only "pre-qualified" buyers. In this age of being extra cautious, we also get the buyers name and information that as a fsbo, you may not. You may just have people knocking on your door at any time of the day.
By Carol-Lynne Mittelbusher,  Mon Sep 29 2008, 13:16
Excellent post, Rockinblu! My two cents' worth: In California, it is really important to make sure you have ALL the required disclosures - nineteen of them, currently - and get legal advice so you don't accidentally shoot yourself in the foot. CA contracts can be tricky!
By rockinblu,  Mon Sep 29 2008, 17:02
Carol-lynne

Thanks so much for taking the time from your busy schedule to give it a look. I certainly also appreciate the kind words, and your input in the comments section here as well well as your suggestion that was included in the original draft.. I am going to edit the blog to have CA residents look for your post.
By Me,  Mon Nov 3 2008, 12:42
Will someone PLEASE tell me why agents would not bring buyers if we are offering 3% commission to them -- yet they keep hounding us (2-3 calls per day) to get the listing? I know of agents accepting less than 3% these days. What is the deal? THANKS!
By rockinblu,  Mon Nov 3 2008, 15:08
Me,

I am not any kind of expert on the thinking of agents, but it would seem to me that some like to play the game of numbers. While many prefer to keep a low number of listings to be able to give the proper attention to them, there are others that prefer to throw a bunch of stuff on the wall, and sit back and see what sticks. With that being said, there is still no doubt as agents scan the MLS and select homes to show, even among those that are willing to show FSBO's, you can still bet with the majority of them FSBO's are put on the bottom tier for possible showings from the group that fit their client's criteria. With the inventory on the market this certainly makes it tough on the FSBO's, particularly if a FSBO has a "cookie-cutter" in a typical subdivision.
By David Chamberlain,  Thu Nov 6 2008, 19:49
Everyday Laws are changing I agree that the education requirements are easy on real estate agents but that is why you should interview a few. I have worked with a lot of FSBO's and will continue but I don't think anybody should be unrepresented. The Mls is only one of our resources, I am on the internet all day marketing myself. A typical FSBO couldn't come in contact with as many people as I do and it would take weeks to get the same internet exposure.
By J.D. & Carol Weisenburger,  Fri Nov 7 2008, 19:27
FSBO stands for the Fastest Source of Business Opportunity. When I meet a buyer, while I go through the process of qualifying them as buyers, toward the end of the process I introduce them to a Buyer's Representation Contract. Just as I would not put a house on the market to sell with out a Listing Agreement, at the same time I will not represent a Buyer without a contract. The beauty in the contract is the Buyer agrees that I will receive a commission for my work when they buy a house. The language goes on to say they are credited for any commissions paid to me by the Seller. Most of the time we find a house in the MLS and my commission is paid to me by the Seller's broker. There are also times they buy a FSBO and I work strickly for their side of the transaction. If the Seller requests my assistance to get the deal closed we negotiate a fee for my services, PROVIDED the buyer will agree to me working with the Seller as well. If the Buyer will not agree I can refer the business to another agent and catch a little referral fee. Here in Florida our consumer protection laws regarding Dual Agency provide for this contigency.

Regarding "Co-Op With Realtors®" posted on the sign. I find that a misguided suggestion because the FSBO Seller is telling me he will pay me to negotiate against him! Remember, I am working with a Buyer under contract and I must use all of my skill care and dilligence on the Buyer's behalf.

Unlike Madison Wisconsin our market shows a huge difference in FSBO vs REALTOR® sales. It varies by area but the only parts of our market where FSBO's do better or break even with a REALTOR® after commissions are paid are in the lower priced areas of our market (Typically under $75,000). Areas with higher over all prices range from 16% to 22% higher sales prices with REALTORS®. Subtract as much as 10% commission and these Sellers still pocket 6% to 12% more than they would as a FSBO.

One tip for Sellers going the FSBO route. NEVER say "Price Negotiable" or the phrase "Or Best Offer" or "Reduced" This weakens your negotiating position before you even talk to a Buyer.

My 2 cents worth
By rockinblu,  Sat Nov 8 2008, 04:34
"Regarding "Co-Op With Realtors®" posted on the sign. I find that a misguided suggestion because the FSBO Seller is telling me he will pay me to negotiate against him! "
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

J.D.
In reality isn't that what most sellers do when they pay the commission after the split is done? I recently saw a post in ad form on Trulia in the sellers forum for a FSBO (later deleted for being in violation of Trulia's guidelines). It stated in the ad "Principles only. No Realtors." The sign suggested in my blog relieves any question of whether represented buyers are welcome, and that yes, their agents will be paid for their services. However, thanks for your input and post. Much appreciated.
By The_Bayou,  Wed Nov 12 2008, 14:20
This post would lead someone to believe that Realors add very little value to the sales process. The #1 and #2 reasons given to justify the Realor's services are personal protection and home protection. Are you advocating a hight and weight requirement for Realtors? My last home was sold by a woman weighing all of 100lbs. Should I not have hired her unless she promised to bring security to protect herself and my home?

It is a sad day when fear tactics are used to sell a service. This is worse than those life insurance ads.
By rockinblu,  Wed Nov 12 2008, 15:59
"My last home was sold by a woman weighing all of 100lbs. Should I not have hired her unless she promised to bring security to protect herself and my home?
It is a sad day when fear tactics are used to sell a service. This is worse than those life insurance ads"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bayou,
I'm surprised that a lady poster calling me a male chauvinistic pig hasn't already responded to that part of my blog. However, I basically address the same situation with men. Unfortunately, it is something that must be considered when doing a FSBO. I do believe Realtors have a better system for screening clients than your typical FSBO. BTW, please tell me what services I am selling. Next time how about reading more than a few lines of a blog before responding?
By Frances Flynn Thorsen,  Sat Nov 15 2008, 10:26
Rockinblu, Thank you for initiating a fantastic dialogue on Trulia Voices! This blog post is the lead item today on our Housing Crisis page ... "FSBOs Going It Alone - Seller and Realty Pros Weigh In."

http://trulia.com/voices/marketcrisis

As more and more homeowners find themselves underwater, it is natural for them to consider the for-sale-by-owner option. Your thoughtful post has inspired a great conversation.

Frances Flynn Thorsen
Community Manager
Trulia.com
By rockinblu,  Sat Nov 15 2008, 11:25
Frances, Thank you so much for reading my blog, and your kind words. The added exposure that you have given it says quite a bit about how Trulia has become more of an open forum. I feel confident you will keep up the good work. In the meantime, Hook'em Horns!!!!

rockinblu
By Real Estate Cafe,  Sun Nov 16 2008, 05:47
FSBO SUPPORT SERVICES: Just posted widget "Got FSBO? Got Questions?" to our new web site w/ links to seller menu http://tinyurl.com/5d48dw
By rockinblu,  Sun Nov 16 2008, 10:36
Realestatecafe,

Great website. Particularly with the link to my blog. :) Good luck.
By Newman-Mitrick RE Group,  Thu Nov 20 2008, 23:50
Very well written informative article!!

One thing though...I would never recommend anyone EVER put a lockbox on an occupied piece of property for any reason. Realtors use electronic lockboxes with keycards that are password protected so you know exactly who is in your home and for how long. If you simply give out a code you're asking for trouble. What is to stop that person from giving you false information and robbing you blind or giving out that code to who only knows what people! If you're going to go FSBO you need to show the home yourself or have someone you trust do it everytime without exception. If you don't, don't come crying when you wake up at 2am with someone in your home who you didn't even hear break in because he had your simple 4 digit combo code and didn't need to cause he had your keys!!!
By rockinblu,  Fri Nov 21 2008, 08:55
Scott,

Great input. I thought people would assume by my reference to "electronic lockbox" that I was referring to the type of lockbox that agents use. I really didn't think about any type of interpretation of someone thinking I was recommending allowing someone access that wasn't with a verified agent. Thanks so much for your observation. I really appreciate it, and since have made an addition to the blog to address this possible misunderstanding. BTW, I have followed some of your posts on Zillow and enjoy them a great deal, but why don't you tell everyone how you really feel. LOL!!
By Newman-Mitrick RE Group,  Mon Nov 24 2008, 08:19
I am not one to hold my tongue! Thanks for the report. If you use an electronic lockbox are you talking about using that for agents? The new ones generate 24 hours codes and things but that still scares me. I don't do much in the burbs where LB's are commonplace but when I do I still find a local agent's intern or assistant and pay her a few bucks to meet people for the showings rather than give out codoes. I figure $20 a week is better than finding out I'm the reason my clients have been robbed or assaulted. Too many horror stories!!
By rockinblu,  Mon Nov 24 2008, 13:55
That's right Scott. Buyer agents with their clients only. You know one thing though, I didn't even begin to imagine that an agent might simply give the code to a buyer client, if for some reason he/she couldn't make the appointment. However, represented buyers certainly could be vulnerable to the same situation. I guess lockboxes do have their drawbacks in any circumstance. It certainly would be a good idea to change the temporary alarm code on the home's security system after a lockbox showing if it was given out for access. Hopefully no one gives out their master.
By Voices Member,  Mon Dec 29 2008, 08:56
Mr. Rockinblu, I have been in a puzzled state over why so many agents seem to have dificulty in being totally honest about the state of the market. I think I have discovered why and wanted to share it with you.

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/dc8d32af36/george-washington-realty-from-nick-wiger ..maybe honesty isn't always a good thing..

This one's been around for awhile so if you've seen it pretend I didn't provide the link, but if you haven't then It's possible you might enjoy it...http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/74/the-landlord-from-will-ferrell-and-adam-ghost-panther-mckay

Now you know how bad my sense of humour is, Dunes.......
By rockinblu,  Mon Dec 29 2008, 12:52
Dunes,
The first one is my favorite, but LMAO on both. Thanks for sharing. The blog and comments are now worthwhile. :) BTW, you don't want to go to where how sick my sense of humor can be. Not good (insert evil chuckle here).
By Voices Member,  Mon Dec 29 2008, 13:44
So glad you enjoyed..Take a look at the "Trulia voices are now irresistable " Blog. (No they aren't talking about me) David's made a deal and is handing out free drinks!!!!
By Me,  Tue Jan 6 2009, 09:40
Do NOT use a flat fee mls listing to "help" sell your home. It is a scam. We paid $499 and didn't get any traffic from it. We decided to do an email test and what we got in response to our inquiry re: viewing the specific property was an email from a broker offering mortgage services and an email many days later from a realtor stating our inquiry was forwarded to her and here are a listing of HER properties. NOTHING about getting in touch with the FSBO to view our property. They aren't helping YOU, they are helping THEMSELVES. Try it from a different email and you will find out for yourself. Good luck!
By rockinblu,  Tue Jan 6 2009, 15:25
Me,

Thanks for your input. If you read my blog thoroughly you would see I addressed this as well by stating my preference of staying local and "Have a friend posing as a buyer call and email to see how it is handled. There have been reported instances of those calls being handed off to agents who just use them as leads to sell other listings. Below is some info that was supplied to me regarding flat fee services:

"Sellers need to be careful when choosing a flat fee listing service to get on the MLS. They make you put the agent's number on the yard sign and in the MLS listing. If the contract you sign says that the flat fee listing service gets the buyer's commission if THEY find the buyer, that should be a BIG red flag. When an unrepresented potential buyer calls the agent, the agent can refuse to give the buyer your contact information. Instead, the agent "finds" this buyer for you, and you wind up paying the buyer's agent commission to your flat fee broker when there was no buyer's agent. As a potential buyer, this happened to me. I called the seller directly when the flat fee broker refused to give me the seller's contact info, but many buyers would not pick up on what the flat fee broker was trying to do. I should add that I've dealt with other flat fee brokers who gladly passed me along to the seller. Not all flat fee services are the same. Be careful and READ THE CONTRACT!!!!"

There are dishonest people in every line of business. I wouldn't go so far as saying all flat fee services are a "scam." However, your point is well taken. One must be careful.
By Paula Scrivner,  Tue Jan 13 2009, 07:06
Wow. This article really accentuates the fact that REALTORS have a long way to go to bring public awareness and trust up to where it should be. The fact is, yes, unfortunately, there are dishonest people in every line of business. Real estate is not, by far, any exception. There are many people, in whatever capacity of the real estate, that try very hard to capitalize off of what we REALTORS do, they mimick it in many forms, just enough so that they do not have to be licensed or responsible for the outcome. I know there are also agents that are not held accountable by their Principal Brokers, or that they ARE the Principal and do business unethically. That's why it's always good to ask around. As far as commission, I know that when I break down the hours I spend with my Client, I don"t make very much money at all. If more people knew what it breaks down to, no one would take the Real Estate licensing exam! There are also splits for some of us that come out of our commissions that are not public knowledge. We pay money to be in this business. We market, we advertise, and yes, one of the ways we do that is with the sign in the yard. The sign does many things, try selling your house without one. You'll see. In neighborhoods where signs are not allowed, sales take longer. The sign says, "This home is for sale, and the homeowner is using a professional to sell it" as well as "call me or my office if you have questions about this or any property for sale". This business is a SERVICE business. We offer our professional expertise as a service to anyone who needs and wants it, but we, like most people, do not work for free. Ask your plumber, builder, electrician, hair stylist, manicurist, waiter, or HVAC person if they would work for free. Sure, you can do it yourself, and many do. Many people remodel their home themselves, install light fixtures, cut their own hair, or maintain their properties. It's not a big deal. WHY is being a 'FSBO' labeled like it is a new revolt? What sometimes happens, though, is those people then realize that something is going wrong, or the job is more than they thought, and they seek the service of a professional in that field. THAT is why we approach FSBO's. Not because we think we are 'real estate gods' and are entitled to your listing. We know it's hard, we know what can happen. We have experience. I help people through FSBO's all the time, but I will take on those responsibilities that go with it if they need help. Selling a home is not an easy task. A seller is very emotionally connected to the home. Even if they have not lived in it, even it's acquisition elicits an emotion. A REALTOR knows to be objective, and he/she can. I do this work because I AM a 'control freak', but I love to find the solution, and I LOVE the feeling at the closing table. It feels wonderful to have happy clients!
By Yvette,  Sat Jan 17 2009, 13:32
The thing is as a FSBO I don't mind a Buyers Agent contacting me when they have a prospective buyer to bring to my property. I have an 'Agreement to bring Buyer to Non Listed Property' contract and I will gladly pay a commission of 3% for a successful sale.
My current house is over $400,000 and I suspect buyers in this price bracket are typically busy or they want the service of a Real Estate Sales Professional looking for a house for them.
I have created a Realtors Packet and a Buyers Packet and soon I will actively promote my home for sale. I will make appointments with the Realtors I have heard good things about and if they are interested in keeping my home in reference I will feel another step toward success has been taken. I will research the sites which will get my home exposure for Buyers to spot. I will do my best and that is all I can do. http://www.skilakehome.com

RockinBlu's Blog is one of my Favorites. I've learned so much.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I found this link: http://naeba.org/agent/index.htm
Through this question on Trulia . http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Buying/Exclusive_Buyers_Agents_in_Tampa-77059
Very Interesting
By rockinblu,  Sun Jan 18 2009, 08:02
"RockinBlu's Blog is one of my Favorites. I've learned so much."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks so much Yvette. BTW, the house looks great, and the thanks for the links as well.
By David,  Mon Jan 19 2009, 19:38
Thank you for the notable mention in your article. Post and Send.com strives to provide the bridge between traditional direct marketing with online "classified" and "viral" marketing without the confusion.

2009 is going to be the year of the "Online Marketer" and with the internet evolving daily, expect leaps and bounds with emerging new intuitive software to grow small business.

Kudos to Rockinblu and others who particpated in the article.. There is a mountain of gold in this thread.
By David Chamberlain,  Wed Jan 21 2009, 15:44
I posted a link to your blog on fizber.com, I sometimes advertise there but just noticed they have a question and answer forum

http://talk.fizber.com/forum/topics/can-we-do-a-fsbo-successfully
By rockinblu,  Wed Jan 21 2009, 20:31
"There is a mountain of gold in this thread."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks David.
_______________________________________

"I posted a link to your blog on fizber.com"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
David C.,

Thanks very much for helping get the info out. If you would believe the view count, it appears as though hardly anyone has clicked onto the blog. I wonder what's up with that? It's also good to know about the Q & A section on fizber.com for when Trulia decides to ban me like Zillow has. :)
By David Chamberlain,  Thu Feb 26 2009, 09:21
Rockinblu, what do you think about doing videos as opposed to virtual tours, my friend is doing these videos and I just wanted your opinion. http://www.fliqz.com/aspx/permalink.aspx?vid=cc9744aae46325aab385b366d30f717e
By Andrea,  Sun Mar 1 2009, 23:39
Rockinblu -- I've read through your excellent blog, but I am still unsure of how one would obtain one of the Supra electronic lockboxes (operate via infrared with ActiveKEY) when using a flat fee realtor. I'm in southwest FL (Naples, Bonita Springs) and to date have only found one flat fee realtor who is willing to include this type of lockbox in the cost of his flat fee listing -- and his fee was more than 2 1/2 times the going rate for flat fee from several online FL-based brokers. I've looked at the Master lockboxes and the button style, dial style, etc. from Home Depot and Lowe's -- and personally think a 5-year old could easily defeat them. Once opened, the codes can be changed or the box could be stolen, or a buyer's agent with a manicure could decide not to ruin it by spinning the dial when returning the key -- have you tried to spin the dials on those Master lockboxes? Again, how does one go about getting the true electronic infrared Supra lockboxes for their flat fee listing?
By Voices Member,  Tue Mar 3 2009, 08:44
Maybe the way agents respond to FSBO is changing?......http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Selling/For_Sale_By_Owner-92731--
By rockinblu,  Tue Mar 3 2009, 22:52
Andrea,

I'm sorry I didn't get back with you sooner. I've been out of town and just didn't bother with taking the laptop. Again, my apologies. However, if you can get whoever you choose to do your MLS listing to register your own ibox supra with your local MLS, you may want to check out ebay for one. Also the link below the ebay link is to a GE page that includes a phone number where you can get more info on getting a used one re-programmed if the local MLS won't or can't do it. Before buying a used one, check with your local MLS on what documentation they require with the lockbox if they can and will re-program it. The way I understand it is that GE Security will reprogram iboxes for $25, plus you must submit a letter from the former board that programmed the box saying it's okay to reprogram, along with a letter from your current board saying its okay to reprogram. There is also a very,very, remote chance that your local MLS might rent you one. If you are going to be listed there, who knows? It costs nothing to ask.

http://shop.ebay.com/sis/_W0QQ_kwZGEQ20SupraQ20iBoxQ20LockQ20BoxQ20Q2dQ203Q20UsedQ20inQ20ExcellentQ20ConditionQQ_fisZ1QQ_idZ250380643175QQ_isidZ0QQ_sibeleafcatZ67029

http://www.gesecurity.com/portal/site/GESecurity/menuitem.89ac3174dcfc02daa78bdd9856030730/?vgnextoid=489705e3e559c110VgnVCM100000592d7003RCRD

By rockinblu,  Tue Mar 3 2009, 23:18
David,

II think probably for the most part it's just me, but I'm not wild about all the motion with virtual tours or this concept either. I do like the surrounding area shots and such, but I found myself doing a lot of pausing and frame advancing which in some cases showed bad angles. IMHO, I just prefer good professional quality wide angle stills. Unfortunately virtual tours are just expected now, but the video of more than just the house puts this concept a little ahead if you can stand the extra motion and the usual annoying music which I normally just turn down anyway.
By rockinblu,  Tue Mar 3 2009, 23:29
Dunes,

Those couldn't actually be Realtors, could they? What a nice bunch. Not one posted in a belittling or arrogant tone, asking "BTW, do you do your own brain surgery too?"
By David Chamberlain,  Wed Mar 4 2009, 00:04
Rockin, everyone knows you can't operate on yourself, Duh!
By rockinblu,  Wed Mar 4 2009, 08:16
.....or for that matter, sell your own house. :)
By Lori Jeltema,  Fri Mar 27 2009, 07:47
I don't have a problem showing fsbo's to my buyer clients. My buyer understands that the he or the seller will need to pay my fee. I can't imagine what it would be like for myself to be househunting in another area and the agent tell me that the refuse to show me fsbos! Buyers deserve to have a chance to see every home that is available to them. True, a lot of the fsbos are over priced and the seller is way too emotionally involved, but if it's the house my client falls in love with..who am I to ruin the chance for them to buy it? I've only had to have a buyer pay my fee twice - and they still like me! Sellers often will pay the fee and the buyer gets the opportunity to see everything out there. It's a win win situation.
By rockinblu,  Fri Mar 27 2009, 12:10
Way to go Lori. Sound's like a professional's point of view. Good for you, and thanks for the comment.
By David Chamberlain,  Fri Apr 3 2009, 01:40
Rockinblu, I think you should look at this thread: http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Selling/Bad_MLS_pictures_-27473

Its funny
By Maxx,  Sun Apr 12 2009, 20:48
Hi, my wife and I are selling our home FSBO and I think we are doing most of the things you advised (thanks!) except the professional looking sign out front. I must admit, we still have the $10 Home Depot one. I am interested in how you go about handing out flyers to real estate agents at their offices? Do you just look up offices close to you from the big agencies and go there? Once there, I assume there is a receptionist, so do you just ask her to speak to an agent?

Thanks!
Maxx
By rockinblu,  Sun Apr 12 2009, 20:58
"Do you just look up offices close to you from the big agencies and go there? Once there, I assume there is a receptionist, so do you just ask her to speak to an agent?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Maxx,

Quite honestly I never did it. The tip was given to me after we had sold. I have a feeling you will find an agent or two, or at least some office personnel to schmooze a bit and give the flyers to. Or possibly be allowed to put them up on a bulletin board or something. I wouldn't just focus on the big agencies, but would be sure to hit the ones that have signs up in your surrounding area. Good luck.
By Cocopuff,  Mon Apr 27 2009, 06:17
k
By rockinblu,  Mon Apr 27 2009, 15:58
Well thank you Cocopuff. Generally posts to me like that have a "ma" with the "k." :)
By John,  Wed Jul 1 2009, 13:48
Rockinblu, thanks so much for this post/blog thing. I'm in the middle of my FSBO right now. Took a real estate class to learn the ins and outs of my "hobby" but never did take an exam. However, your blog has taught me a lot more than that class! Just had my first open house, which wasn't stellar, but I had only been on MLS for about two days prior. Still and all, I've also had three private showings and things seem promising! One guy brought his wife back to see my place just 3 hours after he saw it! Really glad that I found your blog! Thanks!

--John
By rockinblu,  Wed Jul 1 2009, 15:13
John,

Thanks so very much. Believe me, your kind words couldn't have come at a better time. I wish you the best of luck.
By Dianne Hicks,  Mon Jan 11 2010, 12:16
Rockinblu
What a great blog, so much time went into it and you did a fantastic job. Top Quality and such great information!!! Hats off, pat yourself on the back for me. I think you earned that extra money that you sold your house for..... Are you sure you are not a Realtor? Maybe you should be!!! lol

Kindest Regards,
Dianne
By rockinblu,  Mon Jan 11 2010, 14:42
Thanks Diane.

Regretfully, I've been somewhat negligent with the blog. I just noticed a couple of links either weren't working, or the info associated with them had changed. Your post was instrumental in me reviewing it. Thanks for that as well.
By Jannie Ardin,  Mon Jan 25 2010, 10:40
Well I must say I am so glad I asked the questions and have much Homework to do, following many of the above links. Shall keep you posted as to my choices and progress, and thank you indeed for the feedback. JA
By rockinblu,  Mon Jan 25 2010, 14:24
Hi Jannie,

I'm so glad that you even clicked on the link to the blog. I hope you find it helpful, and the best of luck to you on your adventure. Please do keep us informed on your progress.
By Lee Taylor,  Sat Feb 13 2010, 20:36
Rockinblu is a sage.

I read Superfreakonomics by Steven Levitt last year, and Rockinblu cites the Madison, WI study that Steven extrapolates in the book .

Steven statistically proves that pimps add more value to the business of street prostitution than most real estate agents add to the value of their client's real estate transactions and the overall health of their marketplaces.

Rockinblu proves that a smart seller, with plenty of time and plenty of savvy, does not need a real estate agent.
By rockinblu,  Sun Feb 28 2010, 17:42
Thanks so much Lee. That post coming from you is truly considered by me as probably one of the best compliments that blog has ever received.
By Donald Parker,  Wed Mar 31 2010, 22:16
You have some good information here. I will agree that statistics can be skewed any way that suits the results wanted. As far as selling FSBO, I applaud the owners who choose that course. The only thing I hope is that they are well educated in selling their home, have realistic expectations, know that it does take money to market(in some form it will cost money), and realize the risks. A Realtor has been trained, does this for a living, and knows what is going on which relievesw the owner of the time and stress of doing it on their own.

If an owner does decide to do it on their own, again, I applaud them. As an agent I would not preclude showing a FSBO if the seller is willing to accept a represented buyer and willing to pay me a compensation for bringing a buyer. So far I have not had a FSBO that has not been willing to work with a buyer's agent, for it sells their home.

The biggest thing I see in my area is that FSBO's do not have the exposure needed to sell the home. I have seen some ending up going to an agent of some kind, whether it is a full or limited service broker.

I think the summary of this is, know what you are getting into. Research every aspect of your sale to include the market, documents needed, the laws of your area (mainly to protect yourself), the costs, and the time required so that you are completely informed about what you are getting into.
By Act66,  Wed Jun 16 2010, 04:06
As I was looking up local flat fee agents in Belleville, IL a company came up that advertised sort of a hybrid approach. $500 up front (For the MLS listing) and 1/3 of 1% of sale at closing. They will do showings, advice on pricing, negotiate contracts, coordinate paperwork, etc.

Would this be an option for someone who is desparate to save money, but is also a bit intimidated about doing the FSBO all alone?

Thanks, and great article.
By rockinblu,  Wed Jun 16 2010, 07:01
Act66,

Thanks, and I'm glad you liked the blog and managed to get through it all.
As far as the flat-fee hybrid approach, it sounds like a plan, however you might want to check the company out>> http://stlouis.bbb.org/Find-Business-Reviews/

Also, see if that $500 dollar upfront fee is negotiable, and if you do sign up with them, check them using the method outlined in the blog.

Good luck.
By Kirsten Conover,  Sun Sep 26 2010, 15:28
Wow--great article--but I think your exhaustive list shows just how much work and time a home seller has to put in to get their home sold without a realtor. And there are actually other studies that show a realtor DOES bring in about 12-14% more than a FSBO does, which more than covers the typical 6% commission.
Also, as you've said, it takes longer to sell a home FSBO, which might not matter if you're living in it, but if you've got a vacant house on your hands, those carrying costs every extra month can start to equal the realtor commission rather quickly!
Good article.
By Albert Hepp,  Tue Dec 21 2010, 14:18
This is an excellent article. I've been a flat fee MLS Broker since 1998, can I ask to be included in your list above? BuySelf.com
We are proud of our track record, parts of which you can see at:
http://local.yahoo.com/info-40738705-buyself-realty-minneapolis?tab=reviews#reviews

http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=15354481857241130382&q=buyself&hl=en&view=feature&mcsrc=google_reviews&num=10&start=0&ved=0CIwBELUF&sa=X&ei=3iIRTaCiGYTSNNzArPII

http://www.bbbonline.org/cks.asp?id=10202279323721953

Researching your MLS listing provider is so important, there are so many questionable flat fee websites out there. I have talked to many a seller who didn't do the necessary, quick research:
1. Call, do they answer?
2. Check BBB.org
3. Make sure they guarantee the right MLS (used by agents in your area) and
4. Online review sites-any established flat fee broker should have numerous past customer reviews.

Again, thank you for an informative article.
By rockinblu,  Fri Mar 25 2011, 15:26
Hi Albert,

Thanks for the kind words, and your input, however if you noticed, all of the ones on the list were recommended by someone other than a representative of a company on the list. Your company's reviews and BBB rating were outstanding. Congratulations on the great work. In view of that, I won't delete your post.

Here's a link to the sister blog on Blogger>> http://rockinblu-rockinblu.blogspot.com/2009/02/thinking-about-selling-as-fsbo.html

If you would like, for a little more exposure you can post the same comment there. Actually now since I don't visit the advice column here any longer, the one on Blogger is currently probably getting more views.
By Meg,  Wed Apr 11 2012, 07:21
I guess with bank appraisals coming in so low now a days and the market being so bad there is only so much you can get for your home, so does it really matter if the agent could negogiate more, if you can only get what the bank appraisial will let you get, then don't you just get that less the agents commison at most anyway if you use an agent??
By Meg,  Wed Apr 11 2012, 08:09
....I refinanced 5 months ago and the house appraised at $485 for a refinance, I've had two agents come in and say put it on at $550 and $525, but I already know what is bank appraised at (they don't), so is it worth it for me to have them haggle and try to get me a higher price and go in circles only to worry that the bank appraisal will come inlow and I'll be back at the $485, when I feel like if I put it on the market my self at the bank appraised price of $485 I could probably sell it for this price easily enough because that is a good price and then only pay the $400 MLS listing instead of the lisiting agent commision. Thoughts???
By David & Samuel Rifkin,  Mon Apr 1 2013, 13:08
Thank you for this great information.

Samuel Rifkin
The Rifkin Team

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