Home Selling in 02139>Question Details

Patty, Home Seller in Cambridge, MA

Can For Sale by Owner hold broker open?

Asked by Patty, Cambridge, MA Tue Jun 9, 2009

My husband and I are For Sale By Owner on our condo in Cambridge, MA. We offer 3.5% to buyer's agent. We have had some traffic but most brokers do not want to deal with FSBOs. Can we hold Broker Open House - I know that real estate agents do it and we are thinking of doing the same. We think of doing it on a Thursday from 1-2pm. Any advice. We are listed on MLS so I guess we could this information there

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Tim Cahill’s answer
Hi Patty,
I'd be happy to help find a buyer for you. I've created a web page for your listing (see below) and I've also posted a tweet referring to the web page. My web page links to your MLS listing. I'd love to know if anyone gets to you via the links!
In the meantime, I'll continue to help find a buyer for you.
--Tim Cahill
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 14, 2009
OK....this appears to be a simple question that requires a simple and direct response....not slamming, venting, or attacks.

It shouldn't be necessary for Patty to feel she needs to defend her right to sell her property, FSBO.

Patty, the fact that you are considering doing something a little more "above and beyond" is admirable. We wish you luck in your undertaking. It's a difficult time to be selling regardless of the approach that is taken.

Best regards,
The Eckler Team
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
Hey, we just sold our house. Check out my recent question to find out more! :-)
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 17, 2009
I know this is such an old thread, but we're thinking of selling our house this way/ more likely an entry only listing but it says here om July 17 09 you sold your house, can you tell me exactly how long it took you to sell from when you started listing to sold date? And is this July 17 date the date the closing happened or is it the day you accepted an offer? Thanks so much, just wondering about how much time it took total... Oh and one more thing, did the person you sold it to use a realtor and you ended up paying the 3.5% commission? (I am personally hoping if I do this that a buyers agent is involved, that will be worth half the commission for me personally I think:) Thanks for paving the way for others who have wanted to do this!
Flag Tue May 28, 2013
So we did the Broker's open today and had 3 brokers drop by. I guess that is not a very good turnout but at least we tried. I saw several brokers drive away when they saw the For Sale By Owner sign on the front. They ones that came were a bit surprised that we (as owners) are having broker's open but they were nice and professional.

We are determined to keep swimming against the wave. I feel like there are all these stereotypes we are labeled with and it is very frustrating yet interesting (like a study of discrimination of a sort).

Dedicated to all FSBOs out there,
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 11, 2009

This is a fascinating thread. As an agent, I understand some of the frustration of the other agents who replied here, because you are asking for free advice, but as far as showing FSBO's as a Buyer's Agent- I always show them if they meet the criteria of my clients. I never worry about my Buyers going direct because I have a contract with all my buyers. In fact, I have a closing coming up with a FSBO in 2 weeks.

Also, I have no problem if someone wants to sell their home themselves, especially someone who sounds as knowledgable as you. In a down market like this, however, it is much harder, and takes a lot of effort to market and sell a home, which is why you are having trouble getting a sale. (There are 333 condos for sale in Cambridge as of this morning.) I spend a lot of time networking with other agents, getting to know what they have for inventory, what they may have coming on the market, and what buyers they have. They do the same. I get calls from other agents who say things like " I have a new house coming on the market that might be the perfect fit for your XYZ buyers" or "you showed my listing to your buyers and I wanted you to know we just lowered the price." If I get a new listing, I immediately call the agents I know who have buyers in that category. So a lot of matches are made from this networking. Plus we do a lot of advertising for BOH's to get agent to come. ..

So regarding your specific question about a Broker Open House... there is no reason you can't do it. Whether or not agents will come is really a question of timing and interest. We have set days for BOHs for each town, so you should try to match that. Agents like to know the inventory, so agents will come if they have buyers looking in your price range. Sometimes there are few BOH's on a given day and you'll have more traffic. Other days there will be a lot of BOH's and you'll have very little. That happens to agents, too! The purpose of food is because most BOH's occur between 11 and 1, and it gives the agents more time to view properties- they can grab a bite to eat while they run around looking at homes.

Good luck!
Web Reference: http://homes.debn.net
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
Is Thursday the common day that broker tours are done in your area? You should find out when other offices hold broker open houses in your area. You might look into better marketing your property to the agents/brokers in addition to buyers. Perhaps have a raffle for something like a gas card/dinner gift certificate etc. If you had your home stagged you might involve your stagger solicit some of their client to come and see the work done. Really have some knock out materials to show you are on top of your part of selling. You might also find out when local offices have sales meetings and find out if you can talk with the agents/brokers about your property just like any vendor might & invite them to come & view or pre-view the property. If your on the local MLS-PIN you should be able to find out via reverse prospecting which agents have clents that match your property. That might help you with who to personally invite.

Hope that helps
Web Reference: http://www.MedfordHouse.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
@ David,

I'll take my chances. My experience in and around the Boston area is that Food and Drinks do not increase the broker traffic. I have been doing them for more than 16 years.

@ Deb,

Frustrating yes but according to most research... most FSBO's end up listing with an Agent. So why not offer advice in hopes of gaining a listing. Giver's gain...Based on your response. If I was in the market as a buyer or looking to list my house, I would cross you off the potential broker list.

As a buyer you won't show me a FSBO becuase it's too much work...3.5% is a pretty big number. I don't expect a broker to work for free but I do expect they will do whatever they can to either sell my house or help me find the house I want to buy.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
I am suprised that more realtors don't look at it that way. I can't really speak to the Real Estate listing/selling side of things but I know on the mortgage side prospecting is a huge part of what I do. Looking for potential customers. If I was a realtor that made my living assisting people either buy or sell a home...I would look at a FSBO as not only a potential listing but also a potential buyer. You already know they want to sell...and most are either down sizing or upgrading...they have to live somewhere.

If the statistics are accurate about the number of FSBO's that end up with a realtor is accurate. I would think a FSBO would be added to a hot list...Likely to do something in the next 30-90 days. I know that's how I treat a FSBO from the mortgage side of things. Then again not to easy to write your own mortgage so it's not exactly the same. But that would be how I would view a FSBO if I was a broker.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 12, 2009
Please, in all fairness, reread my post. You have put a lot of words into my mouth that I never said. You have made a lot of assumptions and come to conlcusions that are wrong. I don't think anything I said warranted your rant , but you are certainly entitled to feel how you do. I also understand your frustration and defensiveness. It was very apparent in your response. Maybe this site is upsetting you more than helping you.

Let me repeat, and reiterate what I said earlier:

I said............. I will alert my buyers to any fsbo's I know about............... I said I will give them the opportunity to go and see it on their own (as they can obviously work a BETTER deal without my commission factored in)..... I do NOT see that as a bad thing - I think I am being helpful to all involved.... ..and I ALSO said.......if they WANT me to ACCOMPANY them I WILL...I said it was THEIR CHOICE........what part of that was offensive to you?............How can you possibly find fault with what I expressed? All your conclusions about my feelings about fsbos were incorrect - they were YOUR assumptions, not my beliefs. You are telling me what I said, when I never said it. Where did I say "fsbos are bad"? Where did I group fsbos as being incapable. I never even referenced anything related to that .

I honestly wish you good luck.
I tried to offer some helpful suggestions, and tried, since you asked, to explain to you why agents might be reluctant to work with fsbos. If you don't like the comments that have been expressed here (and so many offered helpful suggestions to you), as Andrew basically said, it is what it is. You can't force agents to work with you. It's thier choice, just like it's your choice to be a fsbo.

I also mentioned very clearly that in MY AREA , you are not a typical fsbo - most fsbos want to sell on their own, WITHOUT paying anything to anyone! I still will tell my clients about those homes (most agents wouldn't). Many of the ads often say "NO BROKERS", A few ads might say brokers are welcome, but not always. Your situatuion is very rare compared to my area. I have never driven up to a broker's open house and seen a for sale by owner sign. I am just responding from my personal experience. It may not reflect what is common in your area.

On that note, let me once again wish you the best of luck........I truly hope you are successful, and have a smooth trip to the closing table.
Have a wonderful weekend...........
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 12, 2009
David: Ok, I started a blog here - we'll see if it gets any traffic.

Thank you for the support, and some comments do make me smile.

Btw, we are doing Broker's Open tomorrow (Thurs from 12noon-1:30pm) with food/refreshments. Let's see if anyone shows :-) - this will be interesting.

Hopefully there will be no picketing RE agents outside with signs (Greedy Home Owners trying to run us out of business ;-)
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009

Careful...you see my profile pick...Do I look like a guy that passes up free meals...what exit?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
So that means that 81% of people who hired a Tallahassee REALTOR® to sell their home failed to get the home sold during the listing period.'
Here you go, proof that FSBO's are not a good idea. ..... http://blog.manausa.com/2009/06/01/real-estate-fsbos/

Let this put the debate to rest forever!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
Patty- I'd like to start by admitting that I admire your insightfulness.
You understand the obstacles you face as a FSBO...it must seem like you are swimming against the tide.

My question to you is, if you are willing to pay 3.5% to a Buyer's agent, what are you actually saving?

I am not familiar with "standard" compensation for R.E. transactions in MA- but in North Jersey...
it's most often 5% currently... that's split between the Listing agency and the Selling agency.

What's "the norm" in your area?

It's recently been discussed on Trulia: If your home is priced aggressively, shows well, you are offering incentives to potential Buyers and compensating your Realtor fairly...you will get the exposure you need to sell your home...even in a challenging market.

Hang in there!
Web Reference: http://www.321advantage.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
@ Debra,

When you hire a plumber they will actually fix something. When you hire a realtor you hope they can sell your house. Guaranteed pay and no guarantee that you will get the job done....Sounds like a government Job!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
I love my profession and fellow Realtors.
We are so helpful and happy to do things for free..........we trek around and give up our weekends with people in our cars, only to find out they buy from a stranger, or not at all............we offer a free market analysis to anyone who asks, and arrive at their homes (usually in the evening when most people are home relaxing) smiles on our faces, as we display our marketing materials and share our ideas - .no strings attached, of course - all for free............we offer free advice to FSBO's who want to do it without us to save the commission, yet ask for our opinion and help..........we list and try to market homes, only to have the seller turn down a viable offer or decide not to sell...........we do all of this and more......for free...... I don't get it........who set this up as a business model??? I'd like to meet that person !..........offer free stuff and maybe get paid down the road........ did you ever try to get a plumber to come to your house for free to look at your leaky faucet?? nope, me either!
(ok - I just needed to vent a bit - it was one of those days!!) I feel better now!!

Good luck Patty.............this wasn't directed at you...........at least you're offering 3.5%

ps By the way, I have served lunch to agents during my open houses for 24 years - if you feed them, they will come - maybe the NJ agents are hungier than those in Boston!!!!! haha!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
Did someone just proposed Patty to get hold of other brokers in the area to do an Open House with her?
I wonder how well that idea will fly over with them.

Patty with all due respect, do you mind if I tell you few reasons why Agents prefer not to deal with FSBO's?

Reason # 1. Too many sellers are overpriced for Today's market. There is a gap of about one year between what sellers think their house/apartment is worth and what the buyer is actually willing to pay for it.

# 2. 9 out of 10 sellers I ever met, always believe that they own the nicest apartment, the nicest house with best views, best line, best yard, best renovations, etc.... This list doesn't stop.

# 3. Real Estate should be a business transaction, but it almost never is. Instead it's an emotional process. Especially for a seller who raised a family in one and put money into the property.

#4. Buyers feel uncomfortable previewing an apartment with the seller being present. Don't expect them to be honest. If they hate it they will still tell you that it's nice, you won't be able to get real, honest, genuine feedback. Worst of all, they will spend less time during their visit.

#5. Deals can take twice as long, unless the broker is great at prepping both sides.

Most buyers Patty prefer to work with brokers. And most brokers prefer to work with other brokers. When a broker takes his or her buyer to see a FSBO, they have no protection. That same buyer can turn around and go see you without the broker who originally showed them your property. Buyers sometimes think that they can negotiate a better price if a broker isn’t involved. The seller is now happy that he or she isn’t paying a commission, and the broker is now left out.
Just sharing some food for thought.

Good luck to you.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
To Andrew, they are interested in the free meal. That is how you get them in the door, treat it like an event. The Brokers open isn't like an open house, its just about exposure to some agents in the hopes that they have a buyer or will remember the place when they have a buyer.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
You can have one.... the trick is getting brokers to actually show up. I personally hate the idea of bribing agents to attend a broker open house for food and drinks...Are they interested in selling your house or getting a free meal?

The day and time for the open house should take place on the day an time the brokers in town already have broker open houses. If you do it at a different time you will likely have a poor turnout.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009

I just sent out the following tweet on twitter again (and note your home listing URL in the middle): Contemplate this cozy charismatic #condo in #Central #Sq. #Camridge: http://tinyurl.com/noelxo #cybergreenrealty #realestate #MA #forsale
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 17, 2009
Hi Deb,

Thank you for the information. We actually plan to replace the sign with just FOR SALE as we hope it won't turn away any more agents.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 15, 2009
Hi Patty,

I just checked back to see how things were going, and read your post about the open house.

You mentioned that some agents left when they saw the "For Sale by Owner" sign. You are probably not aware of this, but you should be using a sign provided by your Entry Only Broker, per MLS rules:

"Article IV - Prohibitions
Section 4.0 “For Sale” Signs
Only the “For Sale” signs of the Listing Broker may be placed on a Listed Property."

I'm not saying I agree or disagree with the rule- I'm just passing it on.
Web Reference: http://homes.deb.net
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 15, 2009
To all agents, Fsbo's are you potential clients, and should be treated as such. You will notice Patty says "We may give up eventually." Those who showed up to the Brokers open are the most likley to get the job of listing agent. What quality of client would you be getting? The highest, Patty would be educated about what it takes to market a home, show a home, and therefore would understand the value of your services.

Andrew, Patty could be a great source of business for you. Her buyers have probably not talked to a mortgage broker and she might need someone to qualify them before she considers an offer from them. You could/should be her biggest ally.

To Patty, once again good luck.

my 1.5 cents
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 12, 2009
Patty, Haven't they convinced you that all your efforts are for naught? You poor uninformed adventurer!

Hope you been following this... You offer a 3.5% commission and get feedback saying..
They ask about lower commission and get feedback saying..

You can't win unless you pay two agents to sell your home at 6%, more if you want them to be motivated. ; )
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 11, 2009
Hi again Patty.............ok here's my take on things

Just a little advice for the future.
In my humble opinion, when you decide to be part of a broker open house tour, you might want to take your "For Sale By Owner" sign down for those few hours. Since you are listed on the MLS, to me, it is confusing and off-putting for an agent to drive up to what they think is a "normally" listed property only to see your sign. The same goes for showings by agents. It might cause some awkwardness between the agent and their buyer for your sign to be so blatant. Now, maybe your MLS has a place for you to disclose that you are a fsbo, and it's a common practice; I don't know. It isn't something that is commonly done in my area. So, I'd lose the sign during those times. You can explain what your situation is to the agents who call or show up for the open house.

Personally, I don't show for sale by owners. I have nothing against them, it's just not what I do. I will tell my local buyers about a fsbo, if I have that knowledge, and think it's a house that might work for them. I am not comfortable showing them a house that they could otherwise see on their own, and probably buy for less without me. Unless I have a buyer who isn't from my area (and in that case, I AM performing a service), I feel anyone who is local could find out about any local fsbo. So, yes, I will tell them about it.......if they buy it, great - they are happy and appreciative, and will probably refer me to their friends in the future If they don't buy it (and the odds are that they won't) I have a client for life because of my honesty. It's a small gamble in a way, but it's one that has worked for me over the years. It shows my buyers that I am totally working on their behalf, even if it means telling them about a fsbo to see on their own. Of course, if they want me to take them, then I will. It's their choice. Many FSBO's in my area do NOT cooperate with agents, and don't want us anywhere near their homes.

I really have to be honest though Patty. Unless you think this is a fun experiment or a challenge (since you say you are "determined to keep swimming against the wave", maybe you do see this as a fun challenge), I really think the small (1.5%) you think you may be saving isn't worth what you are putting yourself through.

If you really want to sell on your own, then don't look to the brokers for help, or expect them to help - find that buyer on your own and "save" the 3.5%, too. Now, that's a challenge! I am really not being facetious....I mean it. Most people who want to be a fsbo, don't want to pay any commission , as that's the whole point of being a fsbo!!

You are willing to pay roughly 2/3 of a commission - why not just leave it in the hands of a Realtor for the small difference? And just for the record, once you find a buyer - the process has just begun! I understand someone wanting try it alone - hoping to grab that proverbial brass ring. But....you're kind of like a "partial" FSBO necause of that 3.5% you're willing to pay( !!)....Is it the savings or the challenge you are looking for?? Anyway, I wish you success in your endeavor!! You certainly have the spirit and determination...........as you have discovered from all the input - we're here when you need us!! Yeaaa for us!!

All the best
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 11, 2009
Andrew ............to clarify - plumbers in my area won't even come to your house to give an estimate unless they are paid (mine charges $75 just to walk in) - hiring them to do the job is another thing.......but let's not beat this "plumber" thing into the gound, as I was trying to be a bit humorous....(humor sometimes get lost when typing online).........

So Andrew........if you are ever in NJ & hungry, stop by my open house, and I'll give you a sandwich!!

Have a great day all -
Debbie (R) - so many "Debs" here!

ps (I just have to keep talking, don't I?) Patty - you said you are listed on the MLS - which means, unless I am missing something, somewhere I assume there had to be an agent involved to put you on the mls, so.....even if you are with a flat fee broker - can't you ask them to add you to the broker open house list? - you are entitled to be listed there if you are part of the MLS....

Good luck Patty - if nothing else, you certainly have stirred up a lot of discussion here on Trulia!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
Patty, could you blog about your home for sale? I think Realtor.com is way out of date, if you blog about it then I could reblog, tweet, digg.... about your home. In five minutes I could submitt it to twenty different places.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
I thought Deb N.'s posting was very informative as well (it is particularly useful to me since she's in MA :-).

Re: Barbara Q's comment on "what are you really saving?"
Well, 1.5% which is a difference between 5% and 3.5%. Plus, my husband and I really enjoy doing things ourselves and are always learning things and we do think we can do a good job.

Btw, I have considered getting a Real Estate license in the past (took a short course) and may even do so one day, at least to sell our properties :-). However, given that I am a PhD student now, I need to focus on finishing that first.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
Not that I need to earn your thumbs up but I thought Deb N's post was solid....Not Deb M
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
Patty, a few things I have noticed.

1. Your getting alot of conversation going here, and that 's a good thing. There are usually alot of opinions & your getting some notice.

2. In your profile on here there is no way to contact you directly and even more noticeable there is no link to the property you are marketing. When questions are answered & asked on places like this it pops the question back to the top of the list. For every comment on here there should be at least as many people (agents, buyers, brokers etc.) and without even a link to your property, the one that's become such a big topic. I've seen other buers & sellers (the public) have blogs on here and elsewhere.

3. In my opinion your answers & questions have been well thought out & explained, too bad you don't have your property linked so those finding these responses showing you to be an informed & motivated seller.

Keep up the good work, your making for some good reading
Web Reference: http://www.MedfordHouse.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
@ Deb,

Great Post

@ Barbara,

I was wondering the same thing. When you figure the time and aggravation of dealing with being a FSBO how much are your really saving?

@ Brokers in General,

I'm Jaded against food at open houses. I can't tell you how many brokers over the years have approached me for the privelidge of providing food for one of their broker open houses. Not a ton of benefit to a broker open house for a loan officer. I have no issues sharing in the expense of Co-marketing with a realtor partner, I just think there are better ways to co-market.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
To: Alen Moshkovich

Thank you for the advice regarding writing up an agreement to protect the broker. We have no problem doing this. The primary obstacle, I think, is that most brokers do not even get to the point where we can present them with such document :-( - they do not bother contacting us b/c we are FSBO. Maybe I am somewhat jaded but that is what 3 brokers who insisted (we did not lure them to give us free advice) to try to convince us to hire them as our agent. They said things such as:

"brokers filter out FSBOs before emailing the client property matches",
"my boss always throws her hands up in the air and strongly advises us to at all costs AVOID FSBOs",
"Most realtors tell their buyers to AVOID FSBOs if they can find another similar property"

maybe it's exaggeration but I am sure there is some truth to that. I am thankful to the agents here who seem to be less biased than others.

Anyhow, we will be sticking to our plan to sell it as FSBOs (at least for the next couple of months).
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009
Hi again Patty,
its Alen Moshkovich

Don't take this the wrong way. I simply listed some real scenarios along with the thought process that goes along with them.

I think the main reason why brokers wont mention your apartment to their buyer is for the reason I mentioned. They don't know you, they don't trust you and they are afraid that their buyer will go and negotiate directly with you, leaving them out.
You have a great attorney. Why not ask your attorney to write up an agreement which will protect that broker when they bring in a potential buyer. Something that will say that if broker X brings buyer Y and we have a meeting of the minds, I will pay broker X 3.5% commission.

This should do the trick in your situation and lure them into your web.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
And by the way, the main point the agents were making to get our business was:

MOST AGENTS will not even bother mentioning your house b/c you are FSBO !!! - sounds a bit unfair, doesn't it

We have taken professional pictures, done staging, made professional fliers, description of our house ourselves. We even have labels in our house to make the showings easier since we do make sure we are not around as not to intimidate the buyers - eg. washer, dryer, gas boiler, meters are labeled with apt# (it's a condo) and age in the basement as to make it easier for buyer's realtor to show it.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
Good luck Patty. I hope it all goes well.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
To: Allen Moshkovitz

Re: #1 - we have met with several agents in our area as we did consider listing with them because of difficulty of selling our home as FSBO. All agents told us that our home is priced very well and showed us reports of sales (within the past 2 weeks) of similar properties that were at the price we listed. Since then, we lowered our price even more. The agents said that the home is not overpriced, on the contrary, they said it is listed at the market price.

Re: #2 & #3 - we do not believe we have the nicest apartment. We know the shortcomings and are upfront about them to the agents. We have absolutely no emotional attachment to our house since it was an investment property and we never lived there

Re: #4 - we are NOT present at the showings, instead, we have a lockbox on our door and give out the lockbox code to the buyer's agent after we know that they are safe (get their real estate information)

Re: #5 - Well, we have owned properties and have been sellers in the past and actually ended up doing most of the work that was to supposedly be done by our agent - by know we really know what we need to do, have a good real estate lawyer to handle our side (the sellers).

To Deb: This is exactly what we are afraid of - buyer's agents NOT willing to show our property to others, even though they are getting good commission. It feels really lousy to be discriminated against without being given the chance, even though we do offer 3.5% to the agent.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
Sorry I must be crazy, trying to put sellers and brokers together.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
Deb, please read the whole question before answering, Patty is offering a 3.5% com.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
Yes you can, try to get together with some agents that are already doing one. Serve food and drinks that go along with what they are having.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 9, 2009
Patty - I think it's very admirable that you're trying to sell without an agent. We tried ourselves in NYC and it was a disaster for several weeks. Then we found out about how to get on the RLS (version of MLS here in NYC) via an agent assisted FSBO listing and things improved quite a bit.

It sounds like you did some sort of flat fee MLS listing as well but are still getting harassed by agents. In NYC it's quite a bit better because REBNY (real estate board of new york) is quite strict about solicitation by agents of other agents' exclusive listings. I've included a link to a good fsbo tips article from the guys at Hauseit which is a fsbo website I used in NYC. The fsbo tips should still be pretty applicable for you. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 16, 2016
I'm attempting to sell my 20 year old waterfront home in Brick, NJ. I have priced my home below the range of similar competing single family homes within a 5 mile radius even tho I have many more upgrades and amenities! Every RE office wants the listing - and I'm offering them 4% commission if they bring a qualified buyer. What am I doing wrong ? The brokers are polite and say the only way to sell is thru MLS ! I'm on Zillow, CL, etc. In this slow market isn't 50% of something better than 0% of nothing ?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 13, 2016
We had a recent FSBO open house. A real estate agent walked off with our Sign-In sheet. It was a busy, productive day. What would you do?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 15, 2013
I just sold my house myself using entry-only MLS. I offered 2.5% to brokers and had many brokers bring their clients over without a broker's open house. According to broker rules, BROKERS ARE REQUIRED TO SHOW HOUSES TO THEIR CLIENTS IF THEIR CLIENTS ASK. Of course, that assumes that brokers are ethical. (Save it, brokers.) I'm willing to guess that many of them make up reasons why they shouldn't show your place in order to circumvent the rule. Personally, I think that brokers don't do much to help you sell, notwithstanding their BS about what a wonderful network they have, how they'll market (ummm...that would be by posting an MLS listing) blah blah blah. ANYWAY...just make sure that your house isn't overpriced for the current down market (and prices ARE down, don't kid yourself), and it WILL sell eventually. Have you also advertised in the Cambridge Chronicle or equivalent? Posted at Harvard? Lesley? BU? Many new faculty members or junior faculty are on the hunt for housing and look first at the university's listings.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 24, 2009
I am suprised that more realtors don't look at it that way. I can't really speak to the Real Estate listing/selling side of things but I know on the mortgage side prospecting is a huge part of what I do.

LOL that's EXACTLY what I was going to say to Patty. Go ahead, you'll probably have about 40 agents pitching themselves to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 15, 2009

I think doing a broker open is a good idea. You are smart to offer 3.5% on the buy side too. I have done a few entry only sales where we got 2.5% but did all the work. The extra 1% should be enough to make those agents that do have to put in a little more work feel that they are compensated fairly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 12, 2009
I agree with Dave. YOu have to think of FSBO as your potential clients or source of referrals.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 12, 2009
Patty, there is nothing wrong with making a decision to sell your own home. If you decide that you need the help of a professional, then you can hire one. It is a little tiring to see people constantly slammed because they are exercising their right to sell the property. I can understand the frustration when someone is doing it 'on their own' but are constantly on web sites asking contractual questions (and getting them answered for free) but that's just as much our fault as anyone else's fault. We can't help ourselves. I know an agent who actual sat open houses for fsbos. He would not discuss any matters with the seller beside their asking price and certain facts and arrange open houses to pick up buyers (and sell the house if it worked out ok). If a buyer came, he would represent the buyer and get paid by the seller - negotiating against the seller and be sure he had disclaimers signed ahead of time. This only works when the seller understands that, even though they think the guys is a great guy and friendly, he is not their agent and not really their friend.

Being a real estate agent means that you are offering a service to a consumer. Some people feel that they can do it alone. they may mess up and lose a lot of money (or they may do fine) but it was their decision so there is no reason for agents to get upset about it. Just remember that, if you end up posting questions like most buyers and sellers and get valued assistance - well, just remember that we really are good people. Some people do their own taxes, cut their own hair, take care of their own investments and others feel more comfortable hiring those jobs out. It's a matter of preference. If you get frustrated, then interview some agents. If you are determined to swim upstream, do it. You may sink or actually get to the other side.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 12, 2009
Your right Andrew, I tried to canoe upstream once it took me four hours and I only went a small portion of the way, most of the time I was walking and pulling my canoe. When I went downstream it took me two hours for the whole trip.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 12, 2009
@ David,

I agree with Patty. I love working with FSBO's but as a FSBO and As Patty can attest...She is swimming upstream. You have to accept that fact...regardless of how wrong it is ...it is!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 12, 2009

You have to accept the things you cannot change. How most broker's feel about FSBO's isn't going to change. You do however have to expect them to feel the way they do and act the way they do into deciding weather to use one or not.

The bottom line is you want to sell your property. Ideally you would like to sell it on your own. It seems pretty apparant that your property will not get maximum exposure as a FSBO (You cannot make brokers show it). You need to accept that, because regardless of how right you are, you will not change how brokers view a FSBO.

You seem to have decided that you are going to try and sell on your own, even with those obstacles. The kicker is you will never know for sure if you are making the right decision. The Right decision is whichever meathod nets you the most. and you will never know if listing with a broker initially would have netted you more with a 5 or 6% commission.

I wish you the best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 12, 2009
To Debbie:

Well, it seems to be nice and commendable that you only pass the info on to your buyers interested in FSBO and choose to stay away. The thing is that many buyers do not feel comfortable doing their side without brokers' help. By specifically stepping away in the case of FSBOs, you are making many walk away as well. Basically, what you are saying is that you think FSBOs are not someone you would deal with professionally - you basically group all FSBOs as incapable of performing their side of the transaction. What kind of message it sends to the buyers? That FSBOs are bad and to stay away from them - no questions asked.

What is wrong with wanting to sell one's own house themselves????? If we feel 100% comfortable doing our part of the transaction and saving 1.5%. What is wrong with that???

Yes, we do offer 3.5% commission to the buyer's agent. It is for several reasons: one more specific to the Boston area - most buyers here come with agents and work with agents (they may feel more comfortable, maybe they have too little time to do all the work themselves - it is their choice) and agents do WEIGH IN heavily on their client's decisions . Basically, if an agent does not like us as FSBOs, he/she can influence the buyer against purchasing our house. 2nd reason is that not every buyer feel comfortable or is able to follow up on their half of the transaction alone (they NEED an agent to guide them) - for these buyers having an agent is important to the success of their purchase process.

By you, Debbie, stepping away, you are basically cutting off the needed support that your client (buyer) was relying on (and for which we, for example, are willing to pay 3.5%).

Another reason why we offer 3.5% is because of the prejudice agents seem to have against us. We are NOT expecting them to do anything for our side of the transaction (we know what we need to do) but regardless, we need to win them a bit somehow.

To Alen:
Yes, you are making many reasonable points. And I agree with many of them. They sadden me though, it is basically like saying - well, that's how things are and just get used to it and give up the 1.5% b/c we all know that the likelihood you will succeed as FSBO is small. No matter how capable you are of selling your house yourself, you are just not one of us.

Many agents here made a point of saying 1.5% is not much more since you are already paying 3.5%. Well, for a $317K property, it is ~$5,000. That would pay for the entire project of high efficiency window replacement in our current home. And, being a graduate student - that is 3 months of my student salary. Maybe you guys are so rich that $5,000 means so little to you but it means quite a lot to me.

We may give up eventually. I am very determined to try for a while longer but I am also rational.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 12, 2009
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