Can You Successfully FSBO In This Washington, DC area Market?
After all, the market in the Washington, DC area is quite robust. And for many would-be sellers, this inspires thoughts of, well, who needs a Realtor, anyway?
If you are thinking about selling your home by owner, I think I would be insulting your intelligence to say that you can't do it - that a Realtor is a crucial part of a successful transaction. And having said that, there are pretty predicable mistakes that most FSBO's make.
- They start off at too high a price. It's hard to be unbiased when you are evaluating your own home, and comparing your home to other recent sales in your area. You may also not have accurate information when you come up with the magic number. And when they finally list with an agent (as most do), they have to lower the price and pay a brokerage fee.
- They aren't the only ones trying to save the commission. So are the prospective buyers out there. If they aren't using an agent, they will likely subtract six or so percent from whatever you are asking.
- They don't do enough to get the property ready for prime time - or they do the wrong things. It's hard to see your own place as a commodity or to know the trends that buyers are looking for. Most sellers need help with neutralizing and staging their homes.
- They don't want to pay a brokerage fee to a buyer's agent. Most of the buyers out there are represented. If you don't want to pay the agent, your buyer will have to pay the fee in addition to the down payment and closing costs. Also, there is a chance the agent will talk her client out of your house.
- When offers come in, they tend to go for the bottom line. Price is a big thing. But so are the terms. How many contingencies are there, and how long do they last? What do the buyers' financials look like? Do they already have their financing lined up? If it's all cash, have they furnished proof of funds?
- A lot of FSBOs are difficult for buyers to get into. They may be able to get in if you hold it open on weekends, but during the week, you may have to leave work to let buyers in. A lot of FSBOs resist this.
A FSBO that is well-priced and well presented can sell relatively quickly and for top dollar. And if you aren't using an agent, you should probably pay an attorney to help you put together and perhaps negotiate the contract. You also need to make sure that your buyers are not just willing, but also ready and able to buy your place. Get a reputable lender to ensure they are credit-worthy and able to actually qualify for a mortgage to buy your home.
But keep in mind, that the vast majority of sellers who start off trying to do it themselves do eventually throw in the towel. And while I'm a full-service Realtor and think that's the way to go, you do have a lot of options in the market place for agents who will offer some, though no all, of the services to help you get your home sold.
If you are planning a move to or from the Washington metropolitan area, I can help. I am licensed in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Please contact me any time at:
Patricia Kennedy, email@example.com, or call 202-549-5167