Selling home FSBO, lots of showings but NO offers - strategies to make it sell (without paying for a realtor).

Asked by 9861danbury, 75035 Mon Jul 27, 2009

The home is in Frisco and we've had 30 showings since listing it 60 days ago on MLS. Lots of positive feedback - "beautiful home", "great upgrades" "well-maintained", etc - but NO offers. Is this a typical timeframe for Frisco? When do buyers here really start making offer to get in before school? We've spoken with a realtor who confirmed we are priced right......

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Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Mon Jul 27, 2009
Truthfully all homes are sold by the owner. You are selling without professional representation in order to save a few points of commission, probably 2 - 3 %.

There are some key facts of which you should be aware. I track MLS Entry Only Brokers and Discount Broker statistics in the MLS, and compare them to Full Service Brokers. Now, this is MY MLS, not yours, however, the statistics are probably close.

1. Listings by MLS Entry Only and Discount brokers FAIL TO SELL twice as often as Full Service Realtors.
2. When the listings DO SELL, they sell on average for 2 - 2.7% LESS list price versus sale price.
3. When they do sell they take longer to sell.

So, you need to sell, need to save money, what do you do?

The costs you are saving go to pay someone for their expertise. We see postings like yours a lot, with the same theme, "why is home not selling?".

Selling a home is not just putting it in the MLS, craigslist, etc., as you are finding out. Selling a home is more like playing chess. You need to know who your competition is and what they are doing.

Surveys show that the average buyer looks at 20-30 homes before they buy. So when a buyer is ready to buy, they contact a REaltor, they select properties to see. The information that you lack is what homes, that are your direct competition, are doing in your area. As the summer buying seasons draws to a close, you find yourself still waiting for a buyer, yet chances are a number of homes, like yours , have sold already while yours was on the market. The problem you have is that you don't know their selling price and which ones sold.

The truth is that if your home were priced correctly, it would have sold. The Realtors are not on vacation. They are showing buyers homes, and then writing offers. So the market it talking to you. It is saying you are not priced right.

To put things in perspective, in any given market, 20-25% of homes sell in the first 30 days, closest to asking price. In my MLS that means 99.7% of asking price. At 120 days they average 92.3% of asking. So that means that 75% of homes are not priced right or marketed correctly. And those are homes listed by REALTORS.

So you should not be surprised that your home is not selling, you are in the 80%. The only way you are going to get your home sold is to under price it.

Good luck.
3 votes
Patrick Jack…, Agent, McKinney, TX
Mon Jul 27, 2009
Hi Erica & Andrew,

You received lots of comments from your question on Trulia. I think the comments by Keith Sorem from California are especially appropriate. There are lots of comments about your price and the Frisco market. Your listing looks very attractive but if you have had 30 showings and no offers, you are priced above what the market is willing to pay. I do believe that your showings will slow down in August as school gets back in session. Buyers who do not have to make a move and have children have probably already made their choices. The buyers that see your home during the next few months will be less tire kickers and more serious buyers. There will also be some first time buyers who are looking to take advantage of the $8,000 tax incentive.

One thing that your feedback on Trulia did not address is what you are doing to market your property other than list it in MLS. While you are getting good showings, you may not be getting the attention of all of the buyers that are available. To start with, your listing only has 6 photos. The MLS allows 10 photos. There is not a survey, although you probably have one from when you purchased the home. There is not a seller's disclosure, floor plan, or virtual tour. All of this information helps buyers sort through the hundreds of listings that are available. Where is your listing going other than the MLS. There are some marketing services that you may be missing out on with a limited service broker such as: listing information fed to many other listing portals across the web; multiple photos and upgraded listing information on; marketing to agents who have buyers who are looking in your area; cooperative efforts of other agents in your brokers office; feedback from office tours to help you stage and price your listing correctly; and negotiating experience to make the most of the offer when you get it. A full service listing agent earns the commission that you pay them. If you aren't replacing those services or providing them for yourself, then you may be limiting the number of buyers who see your listing. Real estate is a numbers game. The more buyers that we can get to view your property, the better the opportunity we have to sell it for the highest price possible.

Best wishes for a quick sale!
2 votes
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Mon Jul 27, 2009
A few thoughts:

Talk with another Realtor and get a current CMA on the property. Often comments like the ones you're receiving are followed by " . . . but I just can't afford it" or ". . . but it's out of my price range." Make absolutely sure you're priced at the lower end of the comps.

Second, as another answer noted, FSBOs draw a lot of tire-kickers. True, because you're listed on the MLS and may be paying a competitive commission to a buyer's agent for your area, you also should be getting qualified potential buyers. Question: How many of those 30 showings involved agents? And--dirty little secret here--some agents are reluctant to show FSBOs. They will, but if there are 10 houses their clients might like to see, your home might be nearer to the bottom than the top? Why? Because some FSBOs are difficult to deal with. And because the buyer's agent knows that he/she may end up having to do all the work that your agent (if you had one) would be doing, too.

Still, you say you're getting a lot of showings. So the main problem is either that you're priced at the high end of the range or that there's something about your home or its location that's turning people off. It looks good on the Internet, but when they show up, it somehow falls short.

As for buyers hoping to get in before school begins--I don't know when school begins in Frisco, but in most parts of the country that time has already passed. Most schools begin either right before or right after Labor Day. Let's say September 1. It typically takes 30-45 days from contract signing to move-in. Now we're back to July 15-August 1. Many people--even very serious, motivated buyers, will take 1-2 weeks to view homes and make an offer. Now we're back to July 8-July 23. And, umm, today is July 27. That window of opportunity is already closing.

So: Pricing and staging. Plus, tour some of your competition. Similar homes, similar prices, near you. See how you compare with them. Then act accordingly.

Hope that helps.
2 votes
9861danbury, Home Seller, 75035
Mon Aug 24, 2009
Jerry -

I understand where you're coming from but we ended up choosing our agent because we had a personal relationship with her. I DO appreciate all of the answers I was given and have tried to show my gratitude already.

Thanks again for all of the great responses!
1 vote
Amy Downs, Agent, Dallas, TX
Mon Jul 27, 2009
There are three factors that determine the sale of a property: price, location and condition. Once these three factors are met, the marketing of the property must reflect the demographics of buyers looking for your specific property. We have a personalized marketing plan for each property that we list that creates a positive result.

Most qualifed buyers are working with a Buyer's agent that will require a 3% fee. You may be hurting yourself by not having a qualifed marketing agent representing your best interests. We have several marketing options available to assist all Sellers during this time, due to the number of short sales and foreclosures on the market.

If you would like more information on what we offer to get our listings sold at the highest price, least amount of hassle, in the shortest time possible, please contact us.

I also agree with Keith below. Great answer.

Best of luck,

Amy Downs, Realtor
Amy Downs & Associates, LLC of
Keller Williams Realty
Web Reference:
1 vote
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Mon Aug 24, 2009
Besi wishes with the sale of your home.........hope everything progresses smoothly!
0 votes
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Sun Aug 23, 2009

Eve though I didn't respond to this question, I just want to say "thank you" for your kind words towards the agents that did! It's nice to see appreciation for the effort agents put into answering questions, and trying to be helpful!
0 votes
Jerry Holcomb, , Dallas County, TX
Sun Aug 23, 2009

After reviewing all these great offers of advice from top Realtors in your market that took the time and energy to answer your questions give you tips and feedback. Why did you not choose one of these FINE AGENTS to list your property?
Every single one of these Realtors was capable of listing your home. Yet, you chose someone else?

I see the same thing on the finance side where we spend hours answering all the questions, help repair the credit so they qualify, show them the in's and out's of financing and they go to Lendingtree and won't answer our calls.
To all you Professional Realtors in this post, you had great information, thank you for giving up your time to help others.
0 votes
Margaret T.…, Agent, Conroe, TX
Mon Aug 3, 2009
Let us hear how things go. Good Luck
0 votes
Ronda Allen, Agent, Plano, TX
Mon Aug 3, 2009
Cindy is a respected agent in our area and you made a great choice going with the RE/MAX brand! The tools are amazing!! What a great example of Q&A at work!

Have a blessed day!

Ronda Allen, Realtor
Certified Purchasing Manager
CEO of
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs
0 votes
Loreena and…, Agent, Frisco, TX
Tue Jul 28, 2009
I think you guys did the right thing. Real estate is a complex transaction and if only signs sell houses, then there would not be too many realtors out there.

I've worked with Cindy. She is great.
0 votes
9861danbury, Home Seller, 75035
Tue Jul 28, 2009
Additional Update from Owner:

I can't even tell you all how much you have helped! With your honest feedback, my husband and I decided to get a Realtor after all. Obviously, our strategy wasn't working so hopefully hers will. Mark me in the column of the 89% of FSBO who end up listing with a Realtor. If you have clients in the Frisco market, please stop by to show the house.

Our agent will be Cindy Torgussen with ReMax DFW.

Thank you again for all of your honest feedback - I will recommend this site to everyone I know!
0 votes
Margaret T.…, Agent, Conroe, TX
Tue Jul 28, 2009
One of the things I have found to be a downfall with a for sale by owner is that you spend too much time showing the qualities of the home that are important to you. These may not be important to the prospect and you may be interrupting their train of thought on something else. You spend too much time directing or not directing them around.
Your professional knows what they are looking for where their hot buttons are. The professional Realtor knows when to step away and let them think or dream and when to direct them to a certain amenitie.
You could have an ugly home in my estimation and I would not tell you to your face, I was taught better.
Your trying to save the money has kept your home on the market longer. Let me ask you a question, If your home were your cracked knee cap would you have taken this much time trying to heal it first.
Your Real Estate Professionals in Texas are just that , the most highly trained and educated in the nation, you are fortunate to be in this state so take advantage of it and pay for it and reap the rewards.
Good Luck.
0 votes
Dp2, , Virginia
Mon Jul 27, 2009
I'll give you 2 strategies: 1) offer seller financing, and 2) offer to buy down the interest rate (as BarbaraQ often suggests).
0 votes
Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Mon Jul 27, 2009

I can certainly appreciate your willingness to save money, but we find this almost never happens with FSBOs, even when using the 3% MLS listing concept. Often we know we'll have to work most of both sides of the transactions and when sellers aren't getting good advice there are boundless things that can go wrong and it will end up being a difficult transaction for us and for the buyer. That's not to say you aren't expereienced and know exactly what you're doing, but how do we know that? In many cases we think it just puts too much risk on the buyer for things to go wrong. Another real issue for you is what do buyers think of your price. Typically they are pretty saavy these days. They know when owners are FSBO even when you have a sign in front, they often know who the discount brokers are. The first thing out of their mouths is often "there's a bargin" we can take 6% or even more off the price because they're not using a realtor. They're not thinking about the 3% or 3%+bonus. They're thinking how big of a discount they can get.
We normally want to see about 1 offer per 10 showings. If you've had 30showings you are probably right that the house looks good, but buyers feel it is overpriced. I'd think if you have 30 showings and no offers something is wrong......price, location, neighbors, something.
In Frisco market pretty much takes a big nosedive when school starts. You have your best shot to sell in the next week or two, to allow a buyer to close and get the kids in school.
I think your best shot now is to significantly lower your price and go back after all the people who have already seen it already.
0 votes
9861danbury, Home Seller, 75035
Mon Jul 27, 2009
Update from home seller:
I have it listed on MLS through a flat-fee listing service. It should not show a discounted buyer's broker fee - we are paying the full 3% and offering a $1000 incentive to the realtor on top of that through the end of the month!

I appreciate all of the answers thus far and look forward to receiving more feedback as we are very motivated to sell and trying to do it soon.
0 votes
T.E. & Naima…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Mon Jul 27, 2009
As a FSBO getting feedback from Realtor and buyers would make it difficult for them to give you negative feedback. We are a lot more candid with a listing agent.

30 showings is A LOT and you should have had more than 1 offer by now. Your neighborhood is very desirable and 95% of the homes sell in less than 30 days.

I think that discounting the buyer's agent commission hurts you too.

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0 votes
Loreena and…, Agent, Frisco, TX
Mon Jul 27, 2009
A home that is priced right according to features and location should essential sell in 30-60 days no matter what the neighborhood may be. I am familiar with your neighborhood so I think that time frame should work.

Feedback does not necessarily mean much. As an agent, until I get some serious inquiries, no amount of positive feedback is sufficient to produce an interested buyer (based on experience). Most people/ agents are trying to be nice.

In Frisco, we are in the job relocation traffic where buyers continue to buy even in non busy real estate months. I wouldnt necessarily just make a judgment based on school.

Based on my experience, traction should really start at the 3rd week with potentially offers/ serious interests. Something may not be right but your agent should be able to share with you.
0 votes
Mike Gonzalez, Agent, The Colony, TX
Mon Jul 27, 2009
I know as a "For Sale By Owner" you don't want to hear this, but qualified buyers typically go with Realtors because it's free to them and makes the buying process a lot easier. Please don't take this the wrong way but usually un-represented buyers are just "tire-kickers" as they usually haven't gone thru the trouble of getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan. Of course there are exceptions but that's just what I've seen out there.

As a FSBO, can you sell your own home? Sure, but it'll typically take a lot longer and in the long run 89% of FSBOs end up listing with an agent anyway. Unfortunately as a FSBO you've spent your own time and money (both in carrying costs and advertising) only to end up paying an agent anyway.

I wish you the best of luck and suggest you list with an agent that is sympathetic to your situation in the hopes that they offer you a reduced listing fee (I would certainly consider it).


Mike Gonzalez, REALTOR®
Listing Specilist / Buyer Representative
The Rivera Team at Keller Williams Dallas Northwest
Direct: (214) 783-4240 | |
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Mon Jul 27, 2009
How are you selling a home FSBO when it is listed in MLS? I pulled your info. reviewed MLS posting

Many factors come into play whether a family will purchase your home vs. another property. Why an agent will show your home vs. other homes in that area.

Discuss these particulars with your listing agent, have you compared your home to other houses on market which have sold in past 60 days? Room lay out, open floor plan, landscaping, curb appeal, updated lighting, furniture and etc.

You can have the prefect home can sit on market for years, have an "ugly home" with bidding war.

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0 votes
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