Home Selling in 12401>Question Details

Amy Bernhard…, Real Estate Pro in Rhinebeck, NY

FOR SALE BY OWNER Any success stories out there? Many properties that had been for sale by owner are now

Asked by Amy Bernhardt-Moore, Rhinebeck, NY Fri Jul 10, 2009

listed with a real estate brokerage. What are the real challanges you face when trying to sell a home by yourself?

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The most difficult part of selling our home was like anything else, the preparation. After we were fully prepared, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked the kind of "living on the edge" feel we had from never knowing for sure when someone might call. We really didn't have to sell and were very relaxed about it. I had fun with it, and treated showings like a mini-party.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. He had fun, but what about Mrs. Rockinblu, with all that cleaning and scrubbing, and keeping the house constantly show ready. Hey, the whole home sale was my baby which included keeping it show ready. I am retired, and that was "my job." Without going into details, Mrs. Rockinblu already had too much on her plate to take on the task of keeping a house show ready. She was very helpful in getting it prepared initially, but after that, it was all mine. When the agent fired me, Mrs. Rockinblu actually thought it was hilarious. She loved to razz me about it when our friends asked how the home sale was going. It became quite the comical topic of the conversation. Ha Ha. I had the last laugh. LOLLOLLOLLOL.....I needed to laugh the hardest. Sorry about that.

As far as our buyers, we did not know them. They found the house through our ads on craigslist and Zillow. We were not even on the MLS. After our agent gave me the boot, I thought I would leave the house off the MLS, and allow for a DOM reset. I had planned to re-list after the holidays, but I thought I would give it a try as a FSBO while waiting. We ended up with multiple offers. The one from the buyer who saw it on craigslist and Zillow, and another that was agent represented, who had viewed the house while we were still with our agent, and another one waiting in the wings if we could wait until spring, who viewed it during an owner's open. The agent represented buyer decided to get off the fence after he found out we had an offer. In all fairness, I think it was a situation where he still needed to sell his house. While his offer was for more, it was not enough to fully offset the buyer agent commission that I had agreed to. The young couple who wanted us to wait were dead serious. She grew up in the neighborhood, and had always admired the house. Her mother still lived in the subdivision and was thrilled that they might move there. I still feel badly that I didn't wait.

My buyer, after signing the contract, sold his house as a FSBO in a matter of a couple of weeks to a previously unknown buyer. I should also mention that the agent represented buyer who had viewed our house while we were represented gave great feedback. A short while after that showing, we did a slight price reduction. I asked our agent to do a follow up with that buyer to inform him of the price reduction. He refused, and shortly afterward fired me.

Oh, I almost forgot. The paperwork was a breeze, as we did have an attorney who I insisted that in his explanations to me, that he limited them to words of two syllables or less. Negotiaions were done face to face with the buyer over a drink. He knew how much he was willing to pay, and I knew how much I would sell for. Fortunately, the figure was the same. :)
3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 13, 2009
First and foremost on the top of that list was a poster named Almay, and later named ELV!S. Mmmm.... wonder whatever happened to him. :)
Haven't seen him in a while, but I hear that Jimmy Olsen runs into him now and then, and I'll have him send your regards. :-)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 15, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
I was just kiddin' Rock.

didn't mean to diminish your accomplishment at all. You did a bang-up job, with great success. I'd like to duplicate it at least oncet a week. (yes, I said "oncet"!)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 14, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Hey Alan,

I'll be the first one to admit that we got lucky. What are the chances? Please read below.

1. When Zilow had a separate fields for address and city, our buyer accidently typed Glendale in the street field instead of the city field. He wanted to look in Glendale which is a suburb of St. Louis, but somehow our listing popped up on Glendale Dr. in Glen Carbon, IL. He was taken by the photos, particularly of the yard, and actually his job was at least 40 minutes closer to our house.

2. With our listing still in mind, he went to craigslist to look some more. Amazingly, I must have just re-posted our craigslist ad, and it was one of the first to show up in the St. Louis area.

3. Although he was a St. Louis resident, on his trip to work he passed within 10 minutes of the house everyday to his job in IL..

4. The couple who bought had the same first names of two of our children. :)

A lot of coincidences, but I think sometimes things are just meant to be.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 14, 2009
But Rockin'... you make it sound so easy.

Why if they were all that easy, even I could become a real esta... oh, wait. riiiiggghht.

never mind. :-)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 14, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Dear Rockinblu,

I love your story. Your home was desirable to several buyers-how fortunate you were. May your good luck stay with you in your new location!

The "living on the edge" feeling you had is a daily experience for many Realtors. It never gets turned "off." I am so glad you can appreciate the rush of never knowing when someone may call. For me it's a lifestyle.

So, thank you for sharing your story. I do enjoy hearing about homeowners who successfully sell on their own. While not everyone has the time nor the inclination to take on the task of selling their home on their own you sound as if you handled the "job" well.

Have you ever thought about becoming a Realtor?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 14, 2009
"FOR SALE BY OWNER Any success stories out there?"
Yep. We had agent representation for three months, and the agent dropped us due to a number of reasons. Certainly the fact that I wasn't interested in dropping our price by 20k was one of them. We went FSBO and sold for about 20k more than where the agent was trying to lead us. The three months that we were FSBO included the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holiday period. Our buyer was unrepresented. Total savings of about 30k by doing it on our own, and not following the agents advice.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 10, 2009
We recently sold our house FSBO. We were willing to pay a buyers agent, but the couple that bought our house didn't have one. We sold them a great house at a fair, market-value price, and gave them a credit toward closing costs in lieu of an agents commission. Their inspector brought up two items - one we repaired and the other we provided a receipt for a prior repair. We had the house professionally cleaned for the buyers after we moved out, and gave them an appliance warranty for an problem that was not listed on the disclosure form and the inspector failed to find.

It took us half a year to sell the house. We're building a house and have not yet broken ground, so waiting for a buyer was not a problem for us. Although half a year is not too uncommon in a down housing market, it was not for lack of traffic. We did the flat fee MLS listing and offered to pay a buyer's agent 2.5%. We had showings nearly every week - some potential buyers spent hours and raved about the house, but no offers until the couple that came in without an agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 3, 2012
Good for you, Cheryl.
I still see people struggling with this, and I am glad all went well for you.
Best wishes on your new home!
Flag Wed Nov 7, 2012
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 17, 2009
"didn't mean to diminish your accomplishment at all."

Heck I know that, but I wanted to. It was what it was. However, I would've never got to the point where I had the luck I did if it wasn't for the help and moral support from the gang at Zillow. First and foremost on the top of that list was a poster named Almay, and later named ELV!S. Mmmm.... wonder whatever happened to him. :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 14, 2009
"Have you ever thought about becoming a Realtor?"


Maybe shortly after we sold the thought crossed my mind, but I quickly regained my senses. :)
I would go broke in a blink. On the buyer side, I would never let a co-op influence me. On the listing side, even with sold listings I probably would end up with my expenses exceeding my commissions given all the marketing I would be prone to do. Also, I could never say no to people because of a bad house and would spend way too much time and money on it. I never would have the sense to just say no, or throw in the towel and move on. I possibly might make a good agent, but a broke one. :(
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 14, 2009
I recently looked at a FSBO property that was very nice, and I would have loved to place an offer on it. But it was priced too high and they didn't want to pay the 3% to my buyer's agent. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about real estate, but since I am a first time home buyer I want an agent to protect myself. Rolling the 3% into my loan so "they" could pay him afterward would have pushed what I needed for cash on hand into an unsustainable range, not to mention a price point in danger of not assessing for the loan I needed.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with the idea of FSBO. But I think those situations work best when the owners have some idea of how real estate works, and are dealing with a properties that is likely to attract buyers on their second or third home. IE - Ones with past experience. I think people that have only owned one home, and are selling to first time buyers really shouldn't be FSBO, and if I had to guess I'd say those are the ones that end up going to realtors in higher numbers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 13, 2009
How fabulous that you successfully sold your home on your own. Can you tell me what was the most difficult part about selling on your own? Did your buyer find you or did you already know him/her?

Amy Bernhardt-Moore
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 13, 2009
These are difficult times for established agents and seasoned companies. FSBO's are feeling the heat as well because their "thunder" has been swept away by "short sales" and "foreclosure" activity.

To compete in this market FSBO's need to be willing to price their property relative to current market trends.....something most are unaware of or reluctant to accept.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 10, 2009
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