This is the last in my series for sellers who are pondering becoming unrepresented sellers. That is not to say that EVERY issue has been raised, only the ones that seemed to be most important and having the most significant impact on the FSBO. But stay tuned - I have some thoughts for a follow-up.
Price Setting - This is probably the most critical task, even for those working with a broker. There is huge competition these days, and pricing will determine if you sell, and when. Setting the listing price is not easy, even for professionals with lots of knowledge and experience.
- The KEY POINT to remember, if you remember nothing else, is that the market sets the price, not you the seller, nor any agent. No matter what you think it is worth, the market, and a willing and able buyer who wants YOUR particular house, will determine what it sells for.
- How are you going to set your price? How do you know what it's worth in today's changing market?
- Do you know what other homes have sold for in your area in the last 3-6 months? (and in a market that is shifting, even 3-6 months ago may be too far out and provide misleading information)
- Do you know where your competitors are priced?
- NOTE: Keep in mind that buyers who look at homes for sale by UNREPRESENTED SELLERS are looking for a deal. Since you are not paying a commission to a listing agent, they will look for this additional discount when they make an offer, at a minimum...and it will typically be a low-ball offer to begin with. You both can't save the commission!
Friendly, neighborly advice - I can't tell you how many times I have heard that a seller's friends, family or neighbors gave them advice on pricing and how to sell the home themselves.
- Are your friends, family members and neighbors experts on pricing and selling?
- Can they really be objective and tell you the truth about your's home value and it's salability?
- Do they know any more about the actual market conditions than you do? Or do they just read the papers, listen to the radio, and watch TV like you?
- These helpful individuals, while good intentioned, have no vested interest in your home selling - only you do. Just because your neighbor, who has the same house, got $X for his home 6 months ago does NOT mean you will now, with the changes that the market has seen.
- Be careful about the friendly, neighborly advice you get! And what you listen to. Your friends and neighbors aren't selling...YOU ARE!
Competition - this is a critical issue, and what selling in this market is all about.
- Do you KNOW who your competition is? And why they are your competition? Not just on your street but in the larger neighborhood and community, or in adjacent towns?
- Do you know the details of other properties on the market that buyers will compare to your home (amenities, age, size, bedrooms, interior and exterior condition, pricing, seller concessions)?
- How can you insure that YOUR home is not the one that causes the competition to be a better value (and, thus, buyers will purchase the competition's home rather than yours)? Part of this is pricing, but there are other factors as well. Do you know what to do to be sure your home is viewed as the best buy, not your neighbor's?
As I said at the start of this series, the intent is NOT to convince you that selling on your own is wrong. The purpose IS, however, to provide you with information you need to make an informed decision about whether to do so in this market.
The odds, unfortunately, are stacked against you being successful, and the value of a REALTOR is that YOU do not have these issues to worry about. Evaluate your selling situation carefully - what is your timing, and how important is it to sell quickly so you can move on with your life? Are you relocating and need to do so soon? Even if you are inclined to broker your own home, consider talking with a knowledgeable REALTOR first, then choose. Good luck in your decision making, and don't hesitate to ask for help.