How Hard Can it Be? Selling Your House FSBO

Reblogger LaNita Cates
Real Estate Agent with REMAX of Joliet

EXCELLENT POST by Holly Weatherwax--Your Realtor® in Northern VA of Momentum Realty,LLC.

There are so many pit-falls in listing and trying to sell your home on your own. The safety aspect should be the most important - letting total strangers in your home walking around. There are so many other reasons why selling a home on your own is difficult but safety would worry me more than anything! Great Post by Holly!

Original content by Holly Weatherwax
I am well aware that the general public believes that Realtors are overpaid (I could spend a whole blog post letting you know how the commission we receive is divided and spent until we get a fraction of it to deposit, but I will save that for another day).

Friends of mine are always saying, 'we might try to sell it ourselves.' My response is always, 'you should.' And then I go on to tell them how they should handle the security issues and how they want to be sure to get legal advice as they go through the contract negotiations. Sometimes they give it a try, and sometimes they don't. I never want to take on a client who does not believe my services and time are value-added. If they are concerned, by all means, they should try it on their own.

The truth is, it is far more complex than putting up a sign and buying ablue house with sold sign combo box.

That brings me to the concept of using a fee-for-service brokerage to advertise your home (which usually goes hand-in-hand with putting up a sign and installing a combo box) . I have seen a couple of things that make me (and I am sure other Realtors) cringe. If you are going to take this on, here is what you should keep in mind.

  1. Your choice to discount the buyer commission could negatively affect your traffic. I am not saying it will, I am just saying it might. Look to see what competitive homes are offering and give yourself a chance by remaining competitive.
  2. Know your comps and understand how appraisers assess value. You might think your new carpet is a huge asset, but the market (and finally the appraiser) determine the value of your home.
  3. Understand how a home inspection works and how you will get technical information during negotiations. As a buyer's rep, I can present our requests to a FSBO, but I cannot provide additional information or opinion on how they should respond. As Realtors, we don't understand every system in the house, but we have a strong network we can go to to ask questions and get clarification on issues. 
  4. Understand the Home Owners Association rules and laws in your area. Here in Virginia, you CANNOT just hand over the packet you received when you bought the house. It must be ordered and updated.
  5. Make sure you understand the legal definition of rooms and don't misrepresent what you have. The biggest violation here are basement 'bedrooms,' which are often not bedrooms at all.
  6. Be kind to the Realtor who brings you a buyer. They are likely doing twice the work--and often for less of a commission than they would normally receive as a buyer's agent (see #1).
  7. If neither the buyer or the seller has a Realtor, you would be unwise not to hire an attorney. The transferring of real estate is subject to many rules and regulations. Make sure you understand your obligations or hire someone to guide you through the process. The last thing you want is to be sued over your efforts to save some money on your home sale commission.
Make sure you understand the laws and regulations in your community and do your part to make sure you do the best  possible job of representing yourself in the sale of your home. If you decide it sounds like a lot to take on (and it is in our current real estate climate) be sure to hire someone to help you. You may be reluctant at first, but I think you will find it money well spent.


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momentum Realty

I believe that buying or selling real estate should be a GREAT EXPERIENCE. If I can help you, your friends or family buy or sell their next home in Northern Virginia, please let me know!

If you need help with a home outside of Northern Virginia, I have an extensive network of referral agents and will make sure you are working with the best!

The contents of this blog may not be copied or reproduced without the permission of Holly Weatherwax.


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JOSH EVANS *JoshEvansHomes 516-655-5000
Village Properties of Mineola, LLC - Mineola, NY
Great blog and great job. Keep up the good work and good luck to you this year. Thanks.
May 09, 2012 09:01 PM #1
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Good morning, LaNita....good reblog.... we don't have many fsbo's in our area..... most sellers understand that it's well worth having a real estate agent market their homes.....

May 09, 2012 09:01 PM #2
Charles Stallions Property Manager
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pace, FL
Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management

It is easy to tell most (not all) FSBO by going that way are letting you know that they are too cheap, complain more, and have too high of expectations and that usually is the price. When I see a FSBO sign I take it as a warning sign. You can usually tell in the first five minutes whether they need an education or a pacifier.

May 09, 2012 09:21 PM #3
Insurance Solutions Unlimited,LLC
Insurance Solutions Unlimited, LLC - Winter Haven, FL
Insurance Solutions Unlimited,LLC

Great Re- blog with good information on FSBO, its best to Hire an agent!!!  

May 09, 2012 09:23 PM #4
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Many FSBOs will spend MORE money by having their attorney do paperwork items at an attorney hourly rate than they will by paying the commission to a real estate professional

May 09, 2012 09:56 PM #5
Yvette Chisholm
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Rockville, MD
Associate Broker - Rockville, MD 301-758-9500

Some clients like to hire an attorney in addition to hiring an agent.   Some clients think real estate agents are attornies (and in this changing economy - sometimes they are)!    There are very few people who can sell their homes by themselves and there are even fewer agents that can sell their own home by themselves.

May 10, 2012 10:52 PM #6
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