Home Selling in Wakefield>Question Details

Courtney, Home Seller in Wakefield, MA

Any additional resources for selling our home ourselves?

Asked by Courtney, Wakefield, MA Mon Jul 21, 2008

In an effort to save a broker's fee, my husband and I are attempting to sell our home in Wakefield, MA ourselves. We purcahsed an MLS listing number ($300) and advertise frequently on Craigslist and the Boston Globe for open houses, etc. We feel our house is reasonably valued given market comparables, but we have received no offers after 3 months. Are we missing other online resources? Anything we're doing wrong? Eventhough we are paying an average buyer's broker fee of 2%, I'm nervous that our 'for sale by owner' tactic is still being avoided by the realtor industry..........looking for additional insight!! (MLS#70748422)

Help the community by answering this question:


Finally, another person who gets it. Someone who understands the many problems associated with FSBOs. Courtney, take a look at the totality of the opinions, none of them asking for your listing, and summarize the advice for yourself. These people are not out to get your business, they are telling you the truth based on their experience. The post on a blog that no one reads isn't going to help you.

You want to sell the house? Don't pay another two or three months of mortgage payments while the agents ignore the "listing." Find a damn good listing agent, offer a decent commission amount (2.5% to 3%) to motivate the buyers agents to bring their buyers to you, make sure the house is in the best condition possible, remove excess personal mementos etc. that stop the buyer from "moving in" in their mind, and let your agent do the best.Just like over 90% of home sellers do.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 25, 2008
Territory said:
"This is what is wrong with the RE industry ... Too many agents (admittedly) chasing commissions instead of helping their client find the right house. My agency does NOT steer based on who offers what commission and i find it repulsive that agents do such a thing."

So pick me, pick me, pick MY firm. We're NOT like all the big, bad, commission-chasing others!

Bowen nailed it. Pandering to the max.

I happy that you've clarified your policies! So whenever I get 6% listings, I will offer you 1.5% as a buyer's agent. I assume that you will be happy with that since you care not what commission you earn. Good luck staying in business.

I am in business. I am in business to help others, but I am in business to make a profit.

Do you think that StairMaster will discount their $3000 machine to help me have a longer, healthier life? Do you think that the neurosurgeon thinks that my health is so important that he does the brain surgery for $1000? Do you think that the lawyer is so concerned that a DUI not impact my life that he represents me for free? Nonsense!

The FSBO represents more work (up to twice the work), lower commission, more chance of the deal blowing up, more legal liability, dealing with one side ignorant of the usual process, forms, areas of conflict, strategies for resolving conflict, dealing wth one side so personally invested in the home that they can't detach and settle disagreements, and overpriced (since they are asking a price as if a broker was representing them when they are not paying the commission) as well! Never mind that throwing FSBOs into MLS for $299 and bringing buyers to FSBOs ultimately undermines the business that real estate agencies are in... Brokerages that use MLS have more than enough good listings to show buyers, especially these days, and don't need to show FSBOs to find the best house for their buyers.

Nothing like a discount version of the doomed Redfin model to bring the business of real estate brokerage to its knees.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 25, 2008
Oh, golly, I hope no one calls me rude names over this. I just want to give a helpful answer!

I'm not in MA, so the culture of real estate might not be the same, but I will show homes listed by a brokerage before I will show FSBO's. The main reason is that I have increased liability in the transaction, since I am the only licensee involved. The next reason is because if an agent is on the other side I expect to have a smoother transaction, because we have lots of practice.

I tell my Buyers in our initial meeting that if they see a FSBO that they are intrested in, I will contact the owner to see if they will work with an agent. If the Seller is adamant about no agents, then I let them persue the home on their own.

If the Seller will work with an agent, I show the home. If they Buyer's want to write a P&S, I'll do it just like any other sale--except with a lot more care to document and cover my "parts."

A question: you say you've had no offers--have you had showings? Do you call them for feedback? What do they say?

Best wishes, Linda
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 25, 2008

Take a look at the thread attached to the link below. If it doesn't work, just copy and paste it in your browser. Good luck to you.

2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 24, 2008
If you priced your home using broker-assisted comparables, then your correct listing price should be 2.5% to 3% lower. You are not paying the brokerage commission; very few buyers are dumb enough to pay you what you are not paying. If the house is not priced below market comparables, it is overpriced.

Second, how is the condition? Many times sellers think their house is "lovely and livable," but buyers require a much more strictly cleaned listing. For example, have you removed all clutter and personal photos etc.?

Third, many real estate agents do not show For Sale by Owner homes. A good number of real estate brokerages prohibit their agents from doing so. Also, buyer's agents know that if there is no listing broker involved that they will end up having to do both the listing agent's part of the work AND their own. Or, if they don't, because the owner doesn't understand what is required during a real estate sale, the deal can blow up for a variety of reasons. Twice the work for the same commission, with a longer, more problem-ridden deal likely. Not likely for many brokers.

Fourth, many real estate brokers also skip showing listings that offer only 2%. Why waste a buyer on 2% if other properties are offering 2.5% or 3%?

Best luck!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 21, 2008
Thanks, Irene. No question the name calling from mr melby from milton and jonathan the FSBO "kooky" detector is just adding to their clearly exposed grotesque sales tactics and character, and nothing good ever comes from that; Pure business science. Not to mention mr melby from milton and jonathan's fear doesn't scare (or hurt) me, it motivates me. Without their terrified venom it wouldn't be as obvious that the rest of us are on to something great.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 28, 2008
Terribly sorry Courtney but you seem to have started something bigger here. At least from the responses you can see that we are not all the same.

Johnatan and Mr. Melby there is no reason for you to become that unprofessional and attack someone. We all have different backgrounds and different goals. Territory Re has been tremendously informative and quality of his responses does speak for itself.
Further as a Buyers agent you do OWE your clients fiduciary duties and should find them a home that fits their needs and their budget. There should be no discrimination between FSBO or MLS homes. If they value your service they will pay for it.
Calling someone a bottom feeder come on. You do need to get on with the times. Internet has revolutionized the way many businesses operate. Entry only? Why not. Obviously they make a living.
Further no one likes loud mouth- pushy sales people.
Let’s stay professional here.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 28, 2008
The answer is a Simple Yes-Hire A Realtor! As always "You Get What You Pay For" was The $300.00 A Waste of Money?How About Your Time?What is That Worth?

The Property Seems To Be Priced Right Although If It Was My Listing I Would Want it Under $350k

($349,900).Why Do You Ask? The answer is this Most Buyer's Search Online and The First Question

asked when performing a Search is Price Range.i.e. If They Are Searching from $300k-$350k They Never

See Your House!

Also,This is a Terrible Market That We Are in Right Now and As Realtors We Have To Work

Alot Harder to Get These Properties "Under Agreement" And Then Closed.Do Not Beat Yourself Up You

Gave it a Shot and Now it Is Time to Call in A Professional.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 28, 2008
And we have another commission chaser, folks ... You heard it hear first.

This is fantastic ... Please, keep it coming, because while i wasn't "pandering" before i will have absolutely no need to ever do so in the future as one by one agents shoot themselves in the foot , here, live on trulia. It's like a tv show.

Oh, Mr. Melby from Milton, get real.
Does stairmaster charge based on what county you live in or what street you live on? Does your neurosurgeon charge based on your height? There is no "discount" here. I simply charge what it costs me to due business plus a good profit margin all in the form of a flat fee. I don't gauge clients based on the number of bedrooms needed or the number of 0's on their purchase contract. I would be very careful mr melby from milton, you are about to be exposed. Or maybe you are comfortable being exposed, which, i guess in some strange twisted way I respect (?).

Regarding your FSBO rant ... Again, beee careful mr melby form milton, you are towing the line of generalization on FSBO's . And, the point is/was, as long as you are properly DISCLOSING to your buyer clients that there is a good portion of the market that you are not be showing them, it's fine.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 25, 2008
Jonathan, WRONG. My answer is honest - and i built a company around this honest model - which clearly can't be said for yours because by calling my honest answer "naive" you have now pigeon holed yourself as a commission chaser too.
Your answer:
"I usually show "Entry Only Listings," which your listing qualifies as, only when specifically requested by my buyers, as a last resort or when the commission is at least 2.5%. Otherwise, I would rather show a listing listed by an actual real estate firm with actual real estate agents."
Just curious if you disclose this to your buyers ahead of time (in writing) because i find it outrageous that you choose what to show your buyers based on your personal opinion and interests. If you were my agent i would be more than furious if you were intentionally not showing me properties without my knowledge. This might call for a blog post on my site. Incredible.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 25, 2008
TerritoryRE, your answer is at best naive and at worst pandering. Ha, ha!!!

Courtney, I usually show "Entry Only Listings," which your listing qualifies as, only when specifically requested by my buyers, as a last resort or when the commission is at least 2.5%. Otherwise, I would rather show a listing listed by an actual real estate firm with actual real estate agents. I suspect many other real estate agents feel the same way and employ the same tactic although they probably won't tell you that. And it's not just the money. I generally don't like to deal with FSBO's because many of the FSBO's I have dealt with in nine years of selling real estate have been just flat out kooky. Good luck, Jon
Web Reference: http://www.bowenboston.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 24, 2008
I think the biggest mistake an unrepresented seller makes is thinking that all a Real Estate professional does is place the property on MLS & put a sign in the yard and it sells. There are many more factors that go into the proper marketing of a property. Did you consult with any Realtors prior to placing the property on the market? How did you arrive at your price? Is your property "positioned" on the market to make it attractive to buyers looking for your type of home? Staging is extremely important in this market and it is very difficult to have a house ready at the drop of a hat for buyers who will make their decision in the first 2 minutes of a visit, sometimes before they even walk in the door. Realtors have experience with buyers and understand that the slightest negative in this market will send them on to the next house in their price range that meets their needs without batting an eye so they will point out the things that should be addressed before it goes on the market. The buyers out there have a very good grasp of market value they have studied the market and know if your property is priced correctly or not and if they are working with a buyer's agent it is usually the first question they will ask. If the buyer isn't working with an agent and is also unrepresented they are usually looking for a deal and may beat you up on the price because you aren't paying an agent or they may have a property to sell before they can buy so they have no urgency neither is good for you. How comfortable are you about getting candid feedback from any prospect that has viewed your house? Houses in Wakefield are selling if they are priced correctly for their location and condition. There are currently 17 houses on the active market in your price range and in the past 90 days 9 have gone under agreement and 10 have closed which means at that rate it should take about 2 months for your house to sell if it price correctly. The photos look nice so I don't think staging is your problem. The house sits on a hill on a busy street which may be a drawback for some buyers but it's a great place for a sign and exposure. As for agents passing over your house because it is a FSBO, I don't think that is the case if they have a buyer who is interested they'll show it. Some agents are not thrilled about dealing with an unrepresented seller because it is a lot more work for them than if they were working with a RE professional who deals with the process on a daily basis. In this market it takes active reevaluation of a market data. A long time ago I heard a Realtor at a conference and he said if a house is on the market and getting lots of showings but no offers you need a "slight" price reduction, if it is getting only a few showings you need a "moderate" reduction and if you aren't getting any showings you need a "drastic" price reduction. We like to blame everyone and everything else for why a property doesn't sell but is always comes down to what a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept with a specific set of requirements at a given time. So since I'm almost running out of characters I'll wish you luck and hope this helped a little.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 24, 2008
One of the previous discussions at http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Buying/Are_there_any_advan… was about this subject.
One of the respondents said
"As far as marketing the home we took out a $200 Run-It-Till-It-Sells ad in boston.com, we took out Sunday ads in the Globe, we paid $195 to get listed on the MLS (an entry only agency), we printed listing sheets (much better in layout and information provided than your average MLS listing sheet), we listed on Zillow and craigslist, and we placed a sign in the yard. Oh, and I should add that we hired a real estate attorney to handle the paperwork, etc. for us ($700 fee)." It worked for them perhaps it will work for you too.
Best of luck

And by the way thanks Territory RE not all Realtors are avoiding the FSBO's. If it is suiting our clients needs that we will show it. Might require few more papers but in the end is the client’s best interest we serve.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 22, 2008
This answer is disgusting:
"Fourth, many real estate brokers also skip showing listings that offer only 2%. Why waste a buyer on 2% if other properties are offering 2.5% or 3%? "

This is what is wrong with the RE industry ... Too many agents (admittedly) chasing commissions instead of helping their client find the right house. My agency does NOT steer based on who offers what commission and i find it repulsive that agents do such a thing.

To answer your question, Courtney, there are a couple alternatives to being FSBO. Some companies offer larger packages but still at a discounted price ... For example some marketing tools to go along with the MLS number. Keep searching on the internet. I bet you will find some.

I took a look at your place and it looks very nicely decorated/staged so perhaps it has more to do with the local market. I checked out what was going on in Wakefield and it seems the average days on market is 97 and the sale price to listing price ratio is 96% which means that on average things are being discounted at about 4% off asking price. 151 properties have sold over the last year - that's about 12/month absorption rate - and the price range that your property falls is the most active in this town. Right now there are 70 properties on the market including yours - about 6 months of inventory on the market - which means it isn't a buyers market or sellers market per se but rather somewhere in the middle. What you have to understand about buyers right now is they are willing to wait for that "perfect" property or that "perfect" deal so a lot of properties in the suburbs are sitting much longer than anticipated.

You may want to consider doing something drastic to get the buyers attention like pull it from the market for a week and come back with an aggressive price drop (say $340,000) and a disclosure saying all offers being reviewed by X date (a tactic that creates demand).

I hope that helps. Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 21, 2008
The average buyer's broker fee is only 2%? I'm not in your area, but the average broker commission here in the Triangle, NC area is 2.4 - 3%. Offer a higher buyer's agent commission and see if you get more activity. Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 21, 2008
For sale by owner, is in most cases are a red flag for most people who are looking to buy, and also by real estate personal, a few reasons are: it may be a sign that the house may be underwater and is been sold by the owner for much more than the current market value , or there may be issues that an agents don't want to deal with, the longer the house is on the market is the more difficult it will be to sell, each situation is different, but the bottom line is, most houses that are sold are houses that were referred by an agent to a client and almost all agent will not refer a house that will not give them a commission fee, to avoid such situation most people have their property listed.
You can google (free for sale by owner websites).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 29, 2011
... and here is the blog post i promised:


Courtney, I gave your property some love for having to endure this nonsense. Hope it helps.
Web Reference: http://www.territoryre.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 25, 2008
Go online! Advertise in the globe and other newspapers online for about a buck a day. State "brokers protected" in your ad and raise your commission to 2.5%.
Go to Point2homes.com and see all the internet sites that are avail out there.
All the best,
James Joseph
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 21, 2008
There are a couple of factors of which you should be aware:
First, you do get what you pay for. When you bought your home, did you use a Realtor? Most buyers do -about 90%. Realtors, just like you and me, have a job to do, and use the most efficient way to work because time is money..
Second, because Realtors are busy we don't really have a lot of extra time to look and show listings that do not meet the needs of our clients. That means that if your home is in the MLS, and it's not getting showings, the Realtors are out showing other homes that show more value to their buyers. If your home is not receiving 10-12 showings in the first two weeks, the price is too high.
Three, homes that sell in the first 30 days of market time sell closest to asking price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 21, 2008
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
Hello Courtney- Good advice from the others here. I am not a real estate agent, but have plenty of real estate sales experience, as well as being a mortgage broker.
Don't get too frustrated with the 3 months. Many homes in Massachusetts are not receiving offers for 6-9 months, or more. And these are listed by agents. Times are tough.
That said, there are some ideas out there. Maybe instead of hiking up the co-broke commission outright, you can try a temporary broker's "bonus" to try to get some immediate traffic and calls. Maybe offer an extra 1% broker's fee until August 30th?
I'd strongly recommend a professional and decent looking For Sale sign in your yard- especially if you live on a relatively busy street. Those $2 Home Depot signs just don't attract attention and look pretty cheesy.
There are some other ideas on my listed website below.
Thanks, and Good luck,

Ken L.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 21, 2008
Haven't looked at your listing yet (I will), but my first question is how did you arrive at your listing price? How many people are showing the home? If after three months you are consistently showing the home, but receiving no offers, you need to look closer at the price. If no one is showing the home, you need to look at the marketing. Being on MLS is a good choice (better than the Boston Globe ads IMHO). Post a free ad on Craigslist. How about posting here on Trulia? 2% is not totally out of whack for a commission rate (2.5% probably more common), so non-lazy, commission hunting Realtors should not avoid your listing because of that. I will take a look at the listing and feel free to contact me at the address below if you want some additional insight to what you might want to try.

Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 21, 2008
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