One of the more memorable customer stories was during our strong sellers market, just a couple of years ago. We would often see FSBO [for sale by owner] signs around town because many sellers believed that there was nothing much to selling their property; with such a strong demand at that time and many buyers looking, they believed only in "saving the commission." Of course there were and are FSBO's who successfully sell their property - but unfortunately as a professional REALTOR® I tend to learn more about the many "horror" stories that transpire.
One such story was of a delightful couple who decided to sell their property on their own with no more than a sign outside in their yard and an ad in the local paper - they did in fact find a buyer.
The good news was that both the buyer and seller had an Attorney representing them - the bad news was - just as in all professions there are those who do the job better than others. Suffice it to say that the sellers 'performed" according to the contract - and even purchased another property prior to the closing and had actually moved out of the home. Then on the day of closing - there was an "issue" that had not been addressed during the transaction and so the buyer didn't close.
I learned about this only because the couple who owned the property contacted me and asked if I would advertise their home at my website to assist them in selling it on their own by providing more exposure for them to reach other buyers and I simply told them that no - that's not the service I provide. Instead I offered to prepare a detailed CMA and the opportunity to list their property, sharing details of my service that included client testimonials.
I can still remember the husband admitting that he neither liked nor trusted REALTORS® based on a prior experience; they had decided to come and see me because they knew of my reputation and respected me. I was sorry to learn of their previous and unpleasant experience but focused on where they could go from here.
I offered to provide a detailed CMA at no cost or obligation to them and asked if this may help them at least in their decision making. They agreed. I viewed the property and prepared a detailed CMA - only to discover that they had previously "sold" the property for at least $70,000 under market value.
They made the decision to list their property with me - and within a couple of weeks it was under contract with a new buyer - at full list price. I ensured that every "t" was crossed and every "i" was dotted so that there would be no surprises. I then ensured that during each stage of the closing process - everything was achieved by both parties in a timely manner, again to prevent any breach of the contract by either party and also to ensure that there would be no surprises. The property closed without incident and the transaction for both parties was smooth.
I was delighted to learn from the sellers [in particular the rather skeptical husband] that he wouldn't consider buying or selling any real estate in the future without me.
Although the sellers had to pay expensive attorney fees in the prior transaction without accomplishing the sale of their property, they acknowledged that by using my services they had actually sold their property for more and walked away from the closing table with more money than they would have - had they sold it as a FSBO.
It's interesting that many homeowners/sellers often believe that selling without a REALTOR® is a way to "save" money, by not paying a commission but unfortunately what they don't realize is that they can experience high costs because of what they don't know - even with other "professionals" involved in the transaction and still not achieve the sale of their property if it isn't handled properly.
Today of course, we're experiencing a very strong buyers market with lots of inventory for them to choose from and actually fewer buyers looking. For sale by owners will of course exist in all markets but they're having a much tougher time in today's market and are therefore much easier to convert to a listing.