Question Details

AK, Home Seller in Orlando, FL

I listed my house through a "Buy Owner" service and it has turned out to be a distaster!!

Asked by AK, Orlando, FL Thu Aug 9, 2007

Through their advice I believe the listing price is a bit high, since there has been no interest in 4 months. I need to sell my house to relocate, but don't want to give it away. At this point I'm leary about trying to find an agent to get the house sold, because it seems that so far in this experience what is in MY best interest has been last on the priority list. That other company got my money and I still have an unsold house with no help. What would yo

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You have already "out there" for 4 months. Day on the Market can kill you OR HELP YOU. What you need to do is keep it OFF the MLS long enough to reset the DOM clock. Take that time to interview Realtors, stage the house, prepare a marketing blitz, mentally start over and even check the weather forecast. Then when you put it back on the market, the DOM "NEW" will work to your advantage. Plan your "Grand Opening" for the most effective time. If your target market is people relocating from out of town, a holiday weekend (Labor Day) may work to your advantage. But if your target buyer is local, they might be out of town and you would lose your impact.
Good luck,
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 10, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
It is a good idea to interview potential real estate agents before deciding on whom to hire. Don't just settle with the first one but interview until you get a good fit. Just as Gina says it is better to hire a Realtor because we abide by a code of ethics and we have fiduciary duties to you as a client. In this type of market with so much supply it is better to have professional advice and representation, this way your property will be marketed correctly and based on your needs.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 9, 2007
In our area a "buy owner" service has its own website and does not feed into mls. If it has not been on mls yet, you don't need to waste valuable time. Get those interviews done get it listed. Interview agents. Make sure you will get one that will work for you. What kinds of questions would you ask in an interview?
What is your list price to sales price ratio?
What is your marketing strategy?
If you needed to move a property in 30 days what would you add to your game plan?
What is the absorption rate?
Don't be afraid to ask them what is in it for you, and what is in it for them!
Good Luck!
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 10, 2007

Don't throw good money after bad, and don't forfeit more time. I assume you are listed on MLS and from the 'Buy Owner" service. Your DOM (days on market) are counting, and you don't need to add to the count, nor take more time to sell your property.

Selling a property is so much more than an MLS lisitng. While MLS remains a backbone of how agents share data and look for proerties, it is not the end all to marketing a property. You need an advocate on your side, evaluating how best to position and market your property to generate showings and create an offer.

After you receive an offer, you still need your advocate in your corner to protect your best interests through the negotiations.

You should be able to termnate the listings with the Buy Owner service easily. For the most part, those services earn an upfront fee and have little interest in whether you sell or not. They have been compensated for the service of placing the listing in the locations they represented and have fulfilled their obligations. Sometimes a "buy owner" type firm will allow you to use one of their referrals and have your initial fee be applied toward the commisison. I seriously do not recommend that.

Find the best agent for the job, hire that person, and chalk up the current situaiton to experience.

Interview at least 3 agents. Focus on what they are going to do to market your property, with emphasis on the internet versus print.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 10, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in ,
Since you ended your statement with the question: what would you ... let me tell you what I would do...

I would contact my family and friends, inquire with my neighbors, and see what agent has sold recently in my neighborhood......

You have just fallen into the 89% of Buy Owner clientele who have found that this process can not only be daunting - but that you are out there all alone.

A Real Estate Professional has a fiduciary responsibility to serve their client and keep YOUR BEST INTEREST in mind at all times. This is why we do what we do. Once you are a client we have a responsibility to you and you only.

We put your needs before ours and never divulge your personal confidential information to anyone - most especially a buyer interested in your home.

We are here so you don't feel alone and we negotiate for you because that's what we are trained to do. We go to great lenghts (and personal expense) to market your home for maximum exposure.

This is why I have always worked with an agent when selling my homes - I enjoyed it so much so that I know sell others!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 10, 2007
Seller, When interviewing your agent ask about their marketing plan. This is important to verify in writing what they are planning to do to promote your home. Strong marketing skills is needed in this area. Yes they do not get paid until they sell your home, but also make sure they know the value of agent who just puts a sign in your yard and puts you on the local Multiple Listing service may not be what you need at this time. The skills of Realtors these days are remarkable. Ask them, they will have no problem telling you. Good Luck... if you have any questions on suggested marketing, just email. I would be happy to help.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 9, 2007
Hi AK,

Sorry about your experience. But it doesn't have to mean you give your home away just to get it sold either. Ruth is correct about taking it off the market long enough to have the 'days on market' clock reset. It will appear as a new listing on MLS - generating new interest. (I still think she would make an excellent agent:))

Do a little research and find three brokers to provide you CMA's. Ask them to price it to SELL. Cover your bases and assure each agent that you won't be selecting one based on their suggested list price, but by the marketing plan they present. And do that.

Marketing is key here.

Feel free to contact me directly and if I have a connection in your area, I'll be pleased to provide you with one agent name to consider. And be sure to take the advice in many of the answers here - ask friends and family who they recommend.

Best of luck to you! (But if you find a terrific agent - luck will only be the frosting on the cake !)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 10, 2007
I'm sorry for you situation. It is common in our business. In most locations FSBO is not the best way to go in a slow market if it ever is a good way to go. I think there are just way to many risks and downsides such as the one you experienced. I see over and over and over this same senario. One I just saw, tried to do it luck....then tried discount luck.....months and months on the market...then tried full service and sold in a couple of weeks. It was a great house, totally remodeled and priced decent, but there are a lot of benefits you get by using a Realtor you just can match any other way and those benefits do cost. You probably just have to decide what is your best interest. Is it to make money or not loose money, or is it to get the house sold and move. They may be mutually exclusive. To me every month you hang on to a home you don't want costs you more money....taxes, insurance, interest and perhaps lost income from your new location. If prices are stagnant or falling you're not getting any of that money back. Remember the house is only worth what a willing buyer is ready to pay or can pay. So what you think the house is worth or even what the "buy owner" company suggested or what your new Realtor will tell you is an estimate or educated guess.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 9, 2007
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
We had clients last year who were in the same situation as yourself. They were relocating and hoped to save on commissions by selling their house themselves. They signed on with a for sale by owner company and their house sat on the market for six months with no showings. The contract they signed with the for sale by owner company prohibited them from cancelling and listing with another broker, so they were stuck. Once the contract expired, they called us. They told us that they were totally on their own when it came time to price their house. They paid the for sale by owner company a significant amount of money, which was used to "market" their home. They received no professional advice or support. By the time we got involved, market values in our area had fallen dramatically. We dropped their asking price to be competitive and agressively marketed their home. We sold the house in less than 90 days, and although they ultimately sold for less than they had hoped, they were thrilled that they sold quickly and were able to move on. Our advice would be for you to first check the contract you signed with the for sale by owner company to see what your obligations are to them. As soon as you possibly can, contact a real estate professional in your area who will represent YOU and your best interests. Good luck!
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 9, 2007
As the saying goes, "You get what you pay for." So, you paid $300-$3000 for a "Buy Owner" outfit instead of paying 5%-6% of the sales price to a full service agency. The full service agent would say, "You get what you pay for" meaning you tried to save money by paying less than the commission price and therefore received less service. But as YOU said, "so far in this experience what is in MY best interest has been last on the priority list." I somewhat agree with where I think you are going with this. A full service agent is really paid NOTHING if they don't sell your house and thus the "you get what you paid for" again. If the agent sells your home at the "give it away" price, the agent makes their commission which is in their best interest, not yours.

The solution, pay for someone who has your best interest as their priority (if that is really ever possible). What I mean is a licensed appraiser, a real estate attorney, a consultant, a public relations firm, someone who is not working on commission.

In the end, you should and will probably interview at least three good Realtors and list your home with one of them. But there is another saying too, "Trust but verify."

Here is some advice by Keith Sorem answering my selling question:

TIME is you enemy. The market already knows that the home DID NOT SELL FOR.

This is my strategy
1. Change brokerages
2. Change the price
3. Re-shoot the pictures - you need a virtual tour
4. Repaint the front door
5. Add more flowers and the curb appeal looks different...not better ...but different.
6. Increase the commission to the selling office...if you need to, add it to the price,
7. Make sure the new agent sends an invitation to theopen house to at least 400 me and I will send you my template.
8. If you don't have ten showings, or two offers in two weeks, lower the price 5%.

I hope Keith appreciates the credit as opposed to me stealing his thunder.
Good Luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 9, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
Limited Service Companies do not market your home, but only collect a fee to place your home on their site or sometimes just the MLS. A full service REALTOR will market your home and only get paid once they've sold the house. A REALTOR wants to get your home sold as much as you do in order for them to earn their commission especially in this tough market.

A REALTOR also abides by a code of ethics and has fiduciary duties to you as a client.

Interview a few REALTORS in your area and choose one you feel most comfortable with and one that offers the most valuable services.

Please feel free to visit my website for informative seller reports at

Best of Luck to you!
Southeast MI REALTOR
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 9, 2007
Hello AK - Not sure what your question is......But I'll throw out an answer.....If you want to go looking for an agent, ask the agent for references, then call the agent's past clients and ask the clients what they thought of the agent. Hopefully somewhere in conversatio with past clients you will find answers as to whether or not they thought the agent in question acted in their best interests.

Godd Luck with your project !
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 9, 2007
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