So You Are Thinking of Selling Your Home Yourself? (Part 2 of 5)

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

 This is the second in a series of posts concerning issues that sellers should consider if they are thinking about selling their homes without representation.

 Time - Most sellers have no clue as to the amount of time it takes to market a house (ask any listing agent). And in a market that favors buyers, marketing times have increased dramatically to 3 months and often longer. How much time do you actually have each week (in addition to your job(s), dealing with your children, maintaining the house in showing condition AT ALL TIMES, grocery shopping and other errands) to spend returning phone calls, scheduling appointments and showing the home, preparing for and sitting open houses (sometimes NO ONE shows up, or only curious neighbors), preparing and running ads, calling buyers and open house attendees to get feedback, etc. And what are you going to do if you and your spouse both work and can't show the home during the week when buyers want to see it?

 Objectivity - Keep in mind that this is your HOME and you are emotionally attached. Do you believe you can truly be objective when showing buyers your home, answering buyer questions, and overhearing them critique your decor and comment on every little defect they see? Are you going to sound desperate to sell when you are showing your home? Most sellers have a difficult time being objective when they get a low offer even when working with a REALTOR - how will YOU respond when you get that ridiculous offer from buyers that "fell in love with your house?" Can you respond calmly or will you be offended? Or angry? And how will you feel and what will you do when the buyers ask for concessions and repairs on top of their ridiculously low offer? Believe me, in this market, buyers are looking for a deal and have no hesitancy toward requesting minor repairs and lots of concessions in addition to the offer that is what you paid for the home 3 years ago.

 Disclosures and Paperwork - Have you sold a home before? Many states have rigorous requirements regarding paperwork and mandatory disclosures. Do you know how to complete the required paperwork correctly (for example, the offer to purchase in California is 10 pages - visit my website for a list of common seller forms for CA)? Do you know all the disclosures required by law in your state and what you MUST provide to buyers even though you are not represented by a licensed real estate agent (e.g., the TDS in California)?

It's a weighty and time-consuming task to market your own home. Stay tuned for the next installment, and please feel free to contact me with any questions.


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Chris Tesch
RE/MAX Bryan-College Station - College Station, TX
College Station, Texas Real Estate
Excellent points Jeff, in addition to dealing with all those non serious buyers and not being able to access the people who most need the house, relocation buyers.  FSBO's need to know that when these folks come to town they have 2 days to find a house, and they are our most motivated buyers.  They don't have time to call and wait for the call back, make the appointment and look at more than 3-4 houses.  They have a huge incentive to go through an agent.
Nov 26, 2006 04:01 AM #1
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Jeff, GREAT post!  You should have this printed up and hand out to all FSBOs.

Great job!

Ann Cummings

Nov 26, 2006 05:25 AM #2
Derek and Mariana Wagner
The Artisan Group- Keller Williams Premier Realty - Colorado Springs, CO
The Artisan Group - Colorado Springs REALTORS®
Excellent points, Jeff. Selling a home is  LEGAL process, and unless a homeowner is represented by someone legally versed in CONTRACT LAW (like a Realtor)- there is a lot of room for error and liability.
Nov 26, 2006 05:35 AM #3
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ
Well - actually I was thinking of selling my home myself - in fact once upon a time I was a FSBO.  That lasted about 3 weeks - then I wised up and hired a professional.  The following year I became a licensee!
Nov 26, 2006 05:56 AM #4
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Jeff, just as I thought this is going to be a really good series. I don't think that first time FSBO's have a clue as to what they are getting themselves into. All most of them think about is the additional money that they think they are going to make (which they don't), and don't give a thought to the time commitment or legal aspects of selling a house.

I am going to print this one out, and I am looking forward to the rest. 

Nov 26, 2006 06:34 AM #5
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Chris - you are so right. I have often had relocating buyers who are in a rush, and they have simply dropped homes off their list if they could not get in conveniently. I did the same when we were searching here in CA when planning to relocate.

George - so true. And I don't think they really consider the financial consequences, especially now when things are moving so much more slowly.

Ann - thanks. I am working on a more formal outline that I wll be using, and providing to FSBOs via download. Despite this, there still are a good number who want to try - not sure how many actually are succeeding in this market in our area.

Tony - great story. It's frustrating these days even for agents to sell, given the market.

Nov 26, 2006 08:27 AM #6
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

We don't see many For Sale By Owners in our market, but we get a few. 

I think we will see more if market values drop.  Seller's will not have equity to pay all the fees and will be desperately looking for ways out.

Nov 26, 2006 08:32 AM #7
Lauren Corna
Archway Realty, LLC - Southlake, TX
Jeff- Great Post !!
Nov 26, 2006 08:42 AM #8
Eddy Martinez
Nationwide Funding Group - Highland Park, CA
FSBOs here in california especially in the la metro go very fast. Everybody wants to live in la!!!!!!!!!!!
Nov 26, 2006 09:05 AM #9
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Featured for a good reason this is a good post! The section on objectivity strikes home for me. When I think of all the times I have been able to be the calm and cool 'messenger' regarding offers (and I'm sure this goes for you too Jeff) -- whereas if a Seller had been in direct contact with a buyer who made this offer they found insulting, the buyer may have just disappeared. We are able negotiators and can ease people through this part.  Good going

Nov 26, 2006 09:31 AM #10
Rob Wills
Gilpin Realty Inc. - Everett, WA
Hey Jeff this is a great thing to hand out to FSBOs.
Nov 26, 2006 09:39 AM #11
Michele Connors
The Overton Group, LLC Pitt & Carteret County - Greenville, NC
Your Eastern North Carolina Realtor

Jeff, very nice presentation/ format and I think you hit the points precisely!

Maybe I would add- 

 Active Competition!   Who are they Marketing to ?

Nov 26, 2006 09:40 AM #12
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks, Michele. Stay tuned - there is more on that subject later in the series!

Carole - isn't that the truth. I had some buyers that were BS because of the initial offer they got. We made it through the process after quite a negotiation, but they would have botched the whole thing if they talked to the buyer, and the buyers would have said...NEXT! The other agent and I spent hours on the phone getting this deal to work out.

Nov 26, 2006 09:50 AM #13
Netta Blackwood
La Rosa Realty - Kissimmee, FL
REO/BPO Expert
I've seen many FSBOs here have listed their properties now with Realtors.  They are in one tough competition for those who try to make it on their own.  We have too many properties for people to choose from now and its not easy for FSBO now.  Good information and thanks for keeping them informed.  We are not saying it's impossible for them to do, we are just saying it's harder especially now.
Nov 26, 2006 10:04 AM #14
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??
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