For Sale By Owner and Security

Real Estate Broker/Owner with J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY License # 49FA1074963

I have blogged about security and home sellers before; I debated how to approach this subject today, because I don't want to give any wing nuts any ideas. But bad people will do bad things anyway, and good people will be good anyway. And I don't think any creeps read me. So here it is.

I got the following email from one of my agents: 

Hi Phil,
I just called up a FSBO.  This one had paid some company to list it on MLS but the appointments are handled by the owner.  The property is vacant.  The owner gave me the code before verifying my name and agency.  She never asked for a phone number, or any other identifying information.  She really has no idea who is going into her house.  I think this should be a blog -  this is why everyone needs a listing agent.  They do not have the tools to verify, over the phone, who is entering their house.  I don't know if it is worse because it is vacant (easier to steal stuff) or would be worse if it were occupied - might be personally at risk.  Of course, they are not at risk from an agent, but what if someone is just using our name ... Then we <and they> are at risk and we could never have even heard of the house.

Let's do the math. The home is vacant. The seller does not verify the identity or licensure of the agent calling to show. An imposter COULD steal an agent name from a directory as a matter of fact. If there is an issue with the house, the owner really doesn't know who has been there or when. This is a recipe for disaster. 

Let me stress that I am not knocking hybrid/flat fee or FSBO assist models that do an MLS entry only with no or limited service for a flat fee. I am knocking inattention to security. Whether they are on the MLS or not, FSBOs have security risks that agents do not have. 

For example, we put our listings on CSS, or Centralized Showings. They verify the agent's identity via a non-public showing code. The homeowner and agent then get a confirmation email. If the agent did not make the appointment (never happened) they now know someone is using their name. This is one of the many things a good broker will do, and why we are worth every cent we are paid. If you are selling by owner and think you are saving the agent's "cut" and nothing else, you would be well advised to understand the many things we do that you haven't even thought of.

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Home Selling
Active Rain Newbies
Independent Brokerages
Running a Brokerage
40 Somethings

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Jon Budish
Resident Realty - Fort Collins, CO

Those are only a few of the negative consequences that are risked by that type of "listing".

Sep 07, 2010 05:31 AM #1
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)


We're anxious enough when another agent calls us after hours to set an appointment on one of our showings.  We confirm their info from MLS before granting the appointment, but even then, all the info you need is on the state directory.

Sep 07, 2010 05:40 AM #2
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Security is just one of the many perils FSBO's are setting themselves up for. The list is too long to mention. Great job sharing this with us Philip.

Sep 07, 2010 05:59 AM #3
Deborah "Dee Dee" Garvin
C2 Financial - San Diego, CA
C2 Financial

Philip,  It is positively scary that anyone would randomly allow access to their property....particularly if it is occupied.  There are so many scenarios running through my head after reading this!  And, none of them are good!

Sep 07, 2010 06:01 AM #4
Deborah Byron Leffler BzyBee Real Estate Lady!
Keller Williams Realty Boise - Nampa, ID

WOW....very scary for sure....I just think that some times the Seller doesn't think things through correctly...   I called on a FSBO a year or so ago....when I asked if I could meet him to see the house...he said no I couldn't meet up with him but that I could just go in the house...they kept it unlocked!!!! WOW...after they had just remodeled the home to leave it vacant and open was really shocking to me! 

Great Post!

Sep 07, 2010 06:13 AM #5
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Philip I called to schedule a showing last week.  Usually I will state my name and my company name when the person answers the phone.  This time, I guess I must have been distracted when I called the broker and I distinctly remember thinking that she gave methe access code  and NEVER even asked my name or any other identifying information.

Sep 07, 2010 07:58 AM #6
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

They are trying to save a dollar but can potentially lose a lot more than what they think they can save.

Sep 07, 2010 09:04 AM #7
Fran Gatti
RE/MAX Integrity - Medford, OR
Managing Principal Broker - RE/MAX Integrity

What are these homeowner's thinking?  That's just crazy.  Thank you for blogging about this. I hope homeowner's who use this type of service will make sure they verify who is coming into their home. 

Sep 07, 2010 03:49 PM #8
Kristen Correa, Broker
Kristen Correa Real Estate & Reedy Creek Realty Services - Keller, TX
I love coffee & real estate. I am out of coffee!

The part in purple is so true. I often wonder how the consumer perceives the part of my speech when I say DO NOT OPEN YOUR DOOR FOR ANYONE! Let them use the keybox so as to record who's been in and out, seeing as so many of them do not obey my rule :( which is there for the protection of all parties.

Sep 07, 2010 04:01 PM #9
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Interesting.  I'm sure most FSBO's don't even realize or consider this.

Sep 07, 2010 11:39 PM #10
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Frisco TX Real Estate Co. - Frisco, TX
Real Estate Agents

There are so many things that FSBO do wrongly.... Gosh, it's scary how easy you can get information from anyone.

Sep 08, 2010 12:05 AM #11
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Jon, it is the tip of the iceburg. 

Liz, a FSBO doesn't have that level of access or the resources to even know that. 

Craig, it is a very long list, and that is just security never mind the actual sale.

Deborah, we have our hands full with all our tools, believe me. FSBOs have none.

Deborah- case in point!

Charita- it happens every day all over the country.

Fran, they are NOT thinking. That's their problem. 

Sep 08, 2010 12:44 AM #12
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Kristen- think how much easier it would be if people actually took our advice. For us and them. 

Debbie- they don't. 

Loreena- it is scary, and if you bring it up you are accused of being an alarmist!

Sep 08, 2010 01:22 AM #13
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


J. Philip Faranda

Ask me a question
Spam prevention

Additional Information