Home Selling in Minneapolis>Question Details

Jkostrzewski…, Home Seller in 55434

Trying to sell house with the internet not with an agent, any advice?

Asked by Jkostrzewski69%40gmail.com, 55434 Sun Jun 3, 2012

Help the community by answering this question:


I think it's time to reiterate that the laws pertaining to "disclosures" also apply to properties that are for sale by owners. The forms generally used by Realtors are at least 9 pages and can easily run into more. If you fail to disclose something, you become legally vulnerable to a lawsuit. You must educate yourself about the required seller disclosures and make sure that you comply with the laws.

Effective January 1, 2003, the State Legislature passed a bill requiring sellers of residential real property to disclose all known material facts pertaining to adverse physical conditions of the property which could adversely and significantly affect (i) an ordinary buyer's use and enjoyment of the property, or (ii) any intended use of the property of which the seller is aware.

Additionally, there's a Lead Paint disclosure, a Methamphetamine disclosure, well and septic disclosures, and some others that may apply.

The required disclosures must be made PRIOR to any agreement between the parties to sell and purchase the property.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 11, 2012
Hi, Jkostrzewski69%40gmail.com

Well, you have received SOOOOOO many responses about why you need to use an agent, some responses about what you could do to advertise, etc.

BUT, I have a question for you.........why aren't you using an agent? Is it about the money? If so, I totally get that. The point's been made that agents actually earn their money, so I won't go there. But, if there's any other information that might help us as agents learn what we could do better, that would be great if you would share that with us.

One more question: With all of the legal ramifications of a real estate sale, would you take on the responsibility of selling your neighbor's home? If not, why are you taking that risk with probably your most valuable asset?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 4, 2012
That was a great last question, Susan! A thumbs up for you, my friend.
Flag Mon Jun 4, 2012
All the comments are great and address issues that can arise between paperwork and not making the disclosures as required by law. However, I think your question is specific to Internet Marketing for your home. As someone who is an award-winning marketer, I can confidently say that you will want to make sure your house is listed on all the real estate listing websites (i.e. Trulia, Realtor.com, Zillow, etc). You could hire an agent as a "facilitator" to have your property listed on these sites via listing it on MLS. Have you thought about that?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 14, 2012
The first important step in getting a home sold whether you list with an agent or not, it making sure it is priced to sell. Make sure you know your market and price it accordingly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2012
I just completed writing a blog post on this topic. If you are interested I have attached the link.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2012
Finding someone that is willing to "coach" you through the selling process may be helpful. There are agents out there that provide this service with no strings attached. advice, paperwork, recommendations etc....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 11, 2012
Stay within yourself.

Don't try to play Million Dollar Listing or Selling New York.

Keep it simple. A simple flyer with one big photo of the house with a blue sky behind it will take up half the page; just list the basics about the house: bedrooms, baths, square footage, lot size, year built, property taxes. List the neighborhood schools, the walk-score if it's useful . . . don't try to get fancy with the prose or you'll be writing about stuff that doesn't matter.

Try not to "sell" the property. Set the experience up so that the customer wants to "buy."

Selling is a service business, and one of the things you have to do is to make it easy for people to see the home. One great thing about having a home listed with an agent is that they can provide a secure keybox, so agents can show as it fits their schedule - every missed phone call or obstacle to setting up a showing gives a buyer one more chance to pass your property by.

Finally - know what you're going to tell real estate agents, who are going to call, and make sure the message is consistent. If agents have a buyer, they're going to want to know if you're paying a commission; if they don't have a buyer, they're going to want to talk to you about listing with them.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 11, 2012
I am wondering why you asked a group of real estate agents for their expert advice and guidance but you're not willing to pay them. If you were asked to work for free, would you? What we do is worth what we charge.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 11, 2012
Thing is, it's NOT like selling a car or a boat. The thing that struck me when I first became a professional REALTOR is how much legal liability there is with a real estate transaction. You're taking on a big risk.

And, to be truthful, you may just get away with not having any issues, but why are you taking that risk? I always say to people, "IT'S NOT A PROBLEM............UNTIL IT IS!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 11, 2012
Be careful about how you deal with the paperwork. I don't know in what state you live, but messing up on the paperwork may come back to bite your behind, even years later.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 10, 2012
It seems you got every Realtor's attention with your question. Selling a home is a science these days from pricing (knowing the competition and the market), to staging, to a complete marketing program. Our company spends over a million dollars per MONTH on internet marketing. My listings are seen on literally thousands of websites.

After marketing may come showings. Are you planning on doing showings and open houses on your own? Most prospective buyers do not want the sellers in the home when they are going through. They feel the seller's presence inhibits them. How will you publicize your opens?

Maybe there will be an offer. Are you confident in your ability as a Real Estate negotiator? Can you write and understand the contract, contingencies, and addenda?

Several studies have shown that typical FSBO's net the seller less money then if they had used a competent Realtor. A suggestion would be to meet with two or three Realtors who do a lot of listings in your area. Ask them about their marketing plans (hopefully more than an MLS listing and a sign in the front yard!). Ask for references and check them. Gather as much information as you can before you make a decision either way. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 5, 2012
I still say....

That if a founder of FSBO.com relied on a realtor to sell his house, then that speaks volumes in what a realtor can do for the seller.


The article states:
"But sometimes, FSBOs are just owners who have UNREALISTIC expectations of how easy it is to sell a property — why, JUST LIST IT ON THE INTERNET and the buyers will come, they theorize. That’s why it was a sweet tale for every real estate agent to hear that Colby Sambrotto, one of the founders of Internet listing site ForSaleByOwner.com, ended up hiring a real estate agent to sell his $2 million condo."

Read more: http://moneyland.time.com/2011/08/17/fsbo-com-founder-sells-…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 4, 2012
Hi There are places on the internet where you can put your property for sale....
Have you done it before? Or is this the first time?

Remember the REaltor will bring valuable advice, information and guidance to the table and make the entire process easier on you....you will be constantly kept informed about the market - what has sold, what has come new on the market and so much more, advice for staging your home and have it
ready for sale, but most importantly have it price RIGHT in the current market.

So try it on your own, but then reconsider working with an experienced area REaltor.

If you need recommendations let us know and we would gladly give you some good recommendations ..... I cannot add anything the other agents have not already mentioned.

Good Luck to you...


YourRealtor4Life! Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients Buyers, Sellers and Investors alike, covering the city of Chicago, all N and NW suburbs, and the fine homes of the North Shore ...
and with partner agents all states in the US and worldwide properties...
Edith speaks French, German, English,Spanish and more

@PROPERTIES NORTHSHORE 30 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, Il. 60093
For details about my expertise, services etc. etc. visit my website

Have a great Day :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 4, 2012
WOW talk about a ton of responses for your question on Trulia! I figured I would just tell you what has worked for other FSBO's before!

1) Sign a flat fee agreement with a broker to get access to the MLS- there is one thing that holds very true in real estate, and that is the fact over 90% of buyers are represented by a realtor, and those realtors never will frequent forsalebyowner.com or craigslist. They do not give a rip about you unless they happen to be driving by the home with their buyers and are forced to do it. Not all realtors act like this, but the MLS provides so many properties they usually just don't need to look anywhere else.

You are committing suicide if you do not pay a buyer's agent 2.7% of purchase price. You could go as low as 2.5% but that is rock bottom and will hurt your marketing. In other words, agents do look at commission when decided to push their clients one way or the other.

2) There are some realtor brokerages out there that are flat fee brokerages that will charge you around $500-$1000 to put your listing on the MLS (just google FLAT FEE BROKERAGE) and then also do the paperwork for the purchase agreement so you do not need to worry about that. The only thing you should pay extra for is good photos. I have a professional photographer I pay about $170 for and get top notch photos. Since all buyers look online first for their purchase photos by far are the most important piece of marketing. This also goes into prepping your home for pictures (and for sale).

3) Go to forsalebyowner.com and for sure get on that website, and then I would also try to get a yard sign. You need to create brochures so people in the neighborhood can know about the home for sale.

3) Postlets.com is a great website where you can create your posting to shoot online for places like Craigslist. CREATE A SEPARATE EMAIL ACCOUNT FOR THIS! You will get a lot of spam so best to not use your primary email, but Craigslist works amazing. If you can do seller financing like a lease option or contract for deed FSBO'S dominate that market and do very well.

4) Boy that should give you a start! I will say this: At the end of the day if you TRULY have the same goal as every seller it comes down to getting the home sold. We are at the peak of our selling season, and if you are in a "move up buyer" price point ($200,00+) you have essentially until September 1st to sell the home before the majority of the market shifts (think parents want to be settled before school starts). These price points get a lot tougher to sell in the fall.

If you are at a price point of $170,000 and below it is worthless to not use a realtor you just have to do the math. Unless you plan on not paying a buyer broker commission the only savings you are gaining is on the listing side. 2.7% of 170,000 is $4600 so you are essentially saving about $3,500 if you successfully complete this yourself, but THAT IS ASSUMING YOU GET THE SAME SALE PRICE AS A PROFESSIONAL WOULD NEGOTIATE.

If I can't negotiate a better deal than you...well I should probably not be in this business. If my time is not worth that much to you then we are not the right fit. I have also given you about 70% of my marketing, but I believe my time and expertise is worth this.

If you are in the 200's+ that is when things get a little tricky. My business is somewhere in the middle between flat fee brokerages and full listing brokers. I think you do get to a point where the seller is getting screwed by the commission. That is the only reason why people go FSBO unless they just hate working with people hahaha!

I have found the biggest negatives about flat fee brokerages is people think that automatically sells your home. It doesn't you still need to pick the right list price and do your marketing well. Flat fee brokers don't do this for you, and I see the majority of expired's on the MLS from people who use flat fee brokers.

So, good luck on the listing and I wish you nothing but the best. If you would like to explore options of using me and how I can provide great service for just slightly above flat fee brokers by giving you more, but well below full listing brokers that try to rape you on commission awesome!

Otherwise I have definitely given you enough ideas to get started listing your home! Hey don't forget about listing it on Trulia!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 4, 2012
Thousands of closed real estate deals over decades and I can count on one hand the number of purchases that did not have at least one Realtor involved. My closing attorney told me they account for about 1% of her volume, way more than my percentage. However, she also told me that out of that total number 98% of those were between relatives. I thought that was very interesting. I have never heard anyone before break down a profile on a FSBO.

Jim Simms
NMLS # 6395
Financing Kentucky One Home at a Time
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 4, 2012
Hire a pro so you can get the job done - time wasted is money lost. Online marketing is key to the success I bring to my clients, but much of that depends on the vast exposure that I can deliver and much of that is broker dependent. I do not think you will be able to replicate that on your own.

If you insist on trying on your own, give it a month and if you are not successful, hire the best agent you can find. You are heading into summer now, buyer's focus will begin to shift quickly to summer plans. Recommend you get a move on and try to catch them before that happens.

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 4, 2012
My bets advice is make sure you have a solid marketing plan. You will need to know what websites are most effective, how to properly list using key words for search engine optimization, and most importantly understand what is most important to todays buyer.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 4, 2012
The case for using agents has been well made by others and I don't need to repeat any of it. I have worked with many FSBO owners and have noticed that they often can get buyers that we don't (some buyers want to "save" on the commission: 1) even though they don't pay it, they figure the owner will come down that much more; 2) there are also groups who for religious-related reasons prefer not to work with anyone who charges a commission, though they usually don't frequent places where just homes are being sold). What I have seen is that FSBOs get a WHOLE LOT more tire-kickers. They also get FAR more lookers who will say they are interested and then never follow through.

Your best chance to sell by yourself is through folks that you know. Tell everyone, friends, relatives, neighbors. Put out a professionally made sign. Advertise in local papers and pennysavers, Craig's List and any place you can find on the internet. Advertise any place that other FSBOs use as well as places professionals use (note: some of those will be unavailable to you). Don't be afraid to spend a lot of money doing this; you'll probably need to unless you get lucky. And you may have to advertise in multiple places at the same time, several times. I'd budget several thousand for this. You may want to hire someone to word the advertising. And don't just use the same wording in each ad, vary it.

Make sure you have an attorney who can draft all the documents you will need (the ones an agent would normally do) as well as do the closing.

Here's a suggestion: Find a real estate firm that you feel can do the job and ask for an Exclusive Agency. Exclusive Agencies will get you on the MLS and, If they will do this, you will retain the right to sell it yourself. ;You pay a commission only if they procure the buyer, none if you do. Or you may be able to work with them, offering a reduced fee if they draft the documents and help you through the closing. There are many way to skin this cat.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 4, 2012
Well, since you are asking the question I am only going to guess that things are not going well with selling your home on the Internet without an agent?

I presume that the goal is to get the house SOLD?

The nice thing with using a Realtor, is that we take on all of the costs and risk of getting your property listed, marketed, and sold, and you only pay the commission if and only if your house sells at a price that you agree to, and not until at the closing table. So if you are paying the commission, your goal has been reached.

I would say give a local, experienced agent a chance to market your home, at no up front cost to you, and you decide which route is better. You have nothing to lose and the sale of your house to gain...

Good luck. There are a lot of things agents do day in and day out that buyers and sellers might not see, but is part of the endless pursuit of making our buyers and sellers happy. Our goal is the same as yours... and any agent would welcome the opportunity to help. Thanks.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 4, 2012
Ok, I just have to get in on this one. It is possible to sell your own home but most buyers want to use an agent so things go smooth. If you welcome buyers with agents and pay them at least 2.7%, you are on the right track. I just helped one of my buyers purchase a FSBO. We were told that the seller had sold the property multiple times and it was listed more than 30% below what they had put it on the market at. I believe it was worth more than we paid.
The biggest thing I would ask is Why? What is going on that makes it worth the risk. If you are upside down, quit a few Realtors are willing to help you for a reduced fee.
If you are a short sales, visit the site attached for over 2000 pages of information on doing a short sale.
Web Reference: http://www.joeniece.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 3, 2012

If you had an offer come in....what would you do next?

Do you know how to qualify the buyer before signing the purchase agreement?

Do you have a lot of experience in negotiating?

What is your knowledge of real estate law? How about all the real estate contracts? I just took a moment to literally count every single blank real estate document that I have saved in a file folder on my computer. I have 101 of them. And at any given moment....I need to know EXACTLY which one(s) of them that I need for a given situation. I have to have them constantly up to date (as these change regularly throughout the year). I am required by my broker to attend legal updates with our legal counsel twice a year in order to stay up to date. Please note that aside from one competitor of ours (no names) that has recently hired a corporate counsel available to their agents, we are the only ones that get this extra training. And I have four lawyers that I can call on....any day of the week....when I have a question about something peculiar. And I do that on a weekly basis and don't mind telling you that. Because real estate is very complicated and the ONLY thing I care about is my seller's (or buyer's) best interest. Yes, after all these years I still call them weekly, and sometimes 2-3 times in a week.

How do you do an open house correctly and draw the traffic?

How do you or did you come up with your sales price to make sure you were right on with a strong market value? I have no idea how you could do that. I have some very expensive and detailed software that I get from our company that takes me about 2 1/2 hours to complete a full CMA. But when I am done......I am RIGHT ON the money. It takes a lot of skill do get the price right.

If you did get an offer, how much of that commission you saved are you going to cough up to an attorney to not only get them to look it over, but to monitor the rest of the transaction, not to mentions the money you will have to spend to actually CLOSE? I take care of all of that for my sellers.

When I list a house, it is an all out BLITZ to get all of my marketing materials ready and out there. And who are you marketing to? I market to BUYERS...I market to agents and brokers.....and will tell you with no reservations that wihin 4-5 business days of the listing going live.....your property will be on over 1000 websites. This is the deal.

The big question is how do they sell? Okay, good question. The last two properties I listed went well. I listed them for the proper market price. They both went on the MLS on a Friday afternoon (this is normally my choice). By Sunday....just two days on the market....they each had 29 and 30 SHOWINGS respectively. One had three offers by Sunday and we picked (duh!) the best one. The second one I had 3 agents saying they were sending over an offer. The first one came in and it was a no brainer: full price, no closing costs....so we signed it and informed the other agents that we were done. In both cases we got full price+. Do I walk on water? No. Do I do that every time? No. But in this market we are in the house that is price right and is marketed properly will have 10-20 showings and a couple offers within a few days.

I hope to hear from you, J. Have a great week!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 3, 2012
PART 1......

My dear colleague, Joe, is absolutely correct, my friend. I could honestly talk for an hour on this subject, but not because I would be trying to get you to call ME......it just doesn't work.

I tell you what, you asked an honest question and I will give you an honest answer. I will be brief. But I recommend giving me a call to talk candidly about this. Your feelings and concerns are probably warranted and you probably want to save some money. Understood.

The statistics change every years, J. But over my career I have watched this change so much, but not in favor of the FSBO (for sale by owner). Years ago, it was not uncommon to see someone with a sign in their yard, and maybe they got help from a company to get their listing on the internet. And some would actually sell. I will be very honest, J., I actually don't know the exact current statistic. But I will give this a poke and shoudl be awfully close to reality. I will wager that in this market that only about 4-5% of homes sell FSBO. That is not a lot. Realize that for every home that DID sell FSBO, there were 6-10 others that tried, maybe for a year or more, and finally gave up. The stats from the National Association of Realtors will tell us, I believe that the greatest majority of those 4-5 % that sold, maybe as high as 80% of them, were to relatives or friends that they know.

You must understand how the industry works and this will make complete sense. In short, buyers do not pay their agent any commission. The sellers pay. So the buyer's agent needs to make money to run their business, so they only search on the MLS for properties that are sold through a broker, that offer a healthy commission. Now, you may have yours online, but maybe you are not offering a healthy commission? I don't know. If you don't have an agent, and the remarks state that all showings and negotiations are to be handled directly with the seller, then the buyer's agent know he is dealing with a FSBO. And when the buyers sees that they instantly know one huge thing: that if they submit an offer to this FSBO....since they don't have an agent.....that THEY....the buyer's agent....will be taking care of BOTH SIDES of the transaction.....doing twice the work.....for less than half of what they normally would make. Is this making sense to you?

Then there is the other issue of marketing. Most FSBOs (I am not saying you, J., just most of them) feel that if they take a couple photos of their home and stick them on the internet, that they will get a ton of showings, a couple offers, and in the process somehow would save 3-4% commission off the top. Hmmmm....the problem is that this does not work. If I had 20 minutes I would list for you exactly what I do to market a listing. I don't. But I can share it over the phone in 5. The only point I will say is this: you cannot sell a home today by sticking a sign in the yard and sticking it on the MLS. Yes, of course one could get lucky. But in this market, you don't have time to get lucky. It takes a significant amount of skill and a TON of marketing and exposure.

Statistically, it is said that the average property that is sold FSBO - that does sell - gets approximately 20+% LESS than the same property sold by a realtor. I was just looking for that current stat and cannot find it. But it is very true.

There is a lot more, J, but I really have to get to bed as i have showings first thing in the morning and two more meetings right after that. But just to leave you with a few questions that I normally would ask a person in your situation.....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 3, 2012
Mike Kelcher, Agent, Minneapolis, MN
This is a great idea! It's funny nobody ever thought of it before. Why the heck would the owner of a $300,000 home pay someone nearly $20,000 to sell their home? Are they nuts? Why do so many do such a dumb thing?

Selling your home is simple. Everyone should do it.....or at least try it once. Take some great photos of all of the finer features of your home. Write up an awesome description of the home and put it on Ebay and Craigslist for about 50% of what it is currently worth. Buyers should be plentiful.

Then you can arrange to be there when they'd like to see the property, because otherwise, you'd be letting total strangers into your home with no supervision. Be sure to hide anything valuable. Have your neighbors watch for moving vans and other suspicious behavior. If you don't want to involve the neighbors, you should probably watch from your car, parked across the street. You still won't know if they are stuffing their pockets with your jewelry, so installing surveillance cameras throughout the home is a good idea.

I would recommend against talking directly with a buyer since the buyer can later claim that you made statements that you didn't make, and later sue you for those false statements...unless you both filled out the arbitration agreement. I suppose you could record all conversations to cover yourself, but I'd keep an attorney on retainer just in case you failed to adhere to the laws concerning disclosure....which also apply to homes sold by owners.

Once you and a buyer have reached a verbal agreement, just fill out the necessary paperwork. You can do that yourself. You could hire a title company to handle the closing, but heck, you can do that too....how hard could it be? Best of luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 3, 2012
good luck. This market makes your job difficult, and statitistics show that agent sales usually net the seller a better return. OF course you can do it anyway you like. This reminds me of that ad that shows your doctor playing the violin as a stand-in for you the violinist. I feel it is like that for an owner, and usually when I sell my own properties, I use the services of a colleague or a partner, since my knowledge and ideas along with my ego could stand in the way. Objective representation is valuable in these situations. I guess it is like any do-it-yourself transaction. Liz, 612-986-4105
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 3, 2012
Well, heck

If even the FSBO (For sale by owner) founder uses a realtor to sell his place, then he obviously saw the value in using a professional to get the job done.

See this article

Funny that you should ask this question on a site where folks consult realtors for advice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 3, 2012
I think just about everyone you ask is going to tell you that your going to be much better off using an agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 3, 2012
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