So You Are Thinking of Selling Your Home Yourself? (Part 3 of 5)

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

This is the 3rd in my series of posts intended to provide sellers with a list of issues to seriously consider before making the decision to sell their homes without the assistance of a licensed real estate agent. Selling your own home is time consuming and has a number of risks and liabilities, especially in a competitive buyer's market. Do not make the decision to take this on yourself lightly; give careful thought to these issues before plunging in!

 Marketing - Marketing a home is lots of work, and unless you are a marketing expert, you may be taking on more than you can realistically handle.

  • Do you own a digital camera that will enable you to take lots of high-quality photos of the interior and exterior of your home? Having an abundance of photos is critical; buyers want to see photos of homes in listings and property flyers and will simply pass ignore listings that do not have photos (ask any agent who works with buyers about this).
  • Can you set up a virtual tour (again, buyers like to see this sort of technology and it will provide a competitive edge)? Keep in mind virtual tours are NOT FREE!
  • What is your MARKETING PLAN, and is it well-thought out and written? How much money are you willing to spend on marketing?
  • Can you develop a high-quality property flyer to showcase your home's features and include multiple photos? Do you have a brochure box for these flyers?
  • What signage will you use and what will it say?
  • Where are you going to advertise (both print and Internet are essential)? What publications will give you the best exposure and why? Keep in mind that a small ad with a photo can cost several hundred dollars, or more. What websites will you use, and why (80% of buyers use the Internet to search for housing)?
  • How will you get the word out to the real estate community to let agents know you are willing to co-broke and pay a commission (if you aren't, you are eliminating the largest potential pool of buyers)? Do you know why you should?
  • Do you know your TARGET MARKET? What kind of buyer will be likely to want your home? How do you find that buyer?

 Open Houses - An open house can be an effective tool for the FSBO, but only if done well.

  • Do you know the advantages, and disadvantages, of holding an open house?
  • Do you know how to run an open house effectively?
  • How will you advertise your open house? When will you hold your home open?
  • How much time do you really have to sit at an open house (probably a minimum of 2-3 hours), not including the time needed to prepare materials, etc. You may need to have multiple open houses - do you have this kind of time? What about your other weekend plans- are you ready to give up more than one weekend? How do you feel about sitting around for 3 hours on Sunday, only to have no one show up?
  • How will you manage the open house and the flow of buyers (maybe you will be lucky and have multiple buyers at one time? How do you find out who is at your open house?
  • Do you know what questions to safely ask, or information to share without violating any laws (state and federal)?
  • How do you keep from turning off a buyer who comes to your open house?
  • Do you know the red flags to watch out for when a buyer shows up? What about personal safety issues?
  • Do you know how to qualify prospective buyers? How will you handle folks who are "just looking?"
  • What is your plan for following up with open house attendees? How much time can you allocate for this?

The value of a REALTOR is in not having to worry about these issues! Are you really ready to take on selling your home by yourself? If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let me know, even if you decide to go it alone.


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Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Jeff, another good post. My listing partner did something interesting; she met a couple who wanted to sell their home and in fact had it for sale by owner; she focused on educating them and supporting them. Their house is located in an area that is tough, only in so far as recouping the money they put into it -- it is completely rehabbed, down to all new plumbing. Now it's year later and they have listed with us. The 'qualifying the buyer' part is what really threw them for a loop. When you don't have representation from a Realtor® there are people who are less than genuinely approved to buy who will try to tell you they are.


Nov 27, 2006 04:44 AM #1
Scott Gormley
Oak Valley Mortgage-California Home Loans and Refinancing - Chico, CA

Yea, I'm a mortgage broker and we took a stab at it...then, we went to an agent...There's no getting over the time saved and value added with an agent...I'm a believer :) And while you're trying to save the commission, the market is softening and your asking price is dropping daily...


Nov 27, 2006 05:06 AM #2
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Congratulations, Carole. I have been working on two local FSBOs for 6 months now, trying to provide support, suggestions, etc. They are hanging in there! We'll see what happens. It is not a market I normally chase after, but things are so much slower that I feel the need to do so.

Scott - so true. Convincing the FBSO of this is another matter. Knwoing what I know about selling, I can't imagine going it alone just to save a few perceived percentage points (which are probably a fantasy anyhow).

Nov 27, 2006 12:27 PM #3
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert
Jeff, more good info, thanks.  From what I have seen, I would say that the answers to most of those questions is NO. a FSBO is lucky if they do more then two or three of them things. I look forward to the next one in the series.
Nov 27, 2006 01:25 PM #4
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate
Part of prospecting FSBOs is educating them about the sales process and planting seeds of doubt. These are some real good questions to do just that.
Nov 27, 2006 08:17 PM #5
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

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