It Couldn't Be More Clear...I Do NOT Represent You

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 0225085927

When representing Buyers who want to buy a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) property, we have a number of forms for the Seller to sign, all reiterating, ad nauseum, that the broker/agent:

  • Does not represent the Seller
  • Has duties and responsibilities ONLY to the Buyer 

Among other verbiage, the forms say (more than once) "There is no Broker representing the Owner in this transaction," just in case they miss it on the other half dozen forms they sign basically saying the same thing. 

And just in case it still hasn't sunk in, there is even a For Sale by Owner Responsibilities form they have to sign off on.  The first paragraph states: 

Since this sale does not include a listing broker/agent to advise, guide or direct the Seller regarding the sale of their property, certain responsibilities become the duty of the Seller.  

Then it goes on to list a number of items for which the Seller is responsible.  The list is very helpful, quite honestly, considering the Seller has opted to go it alone. 

It couldn't be more clear. 

And, yet, at times, we still find ourselves in the position of being contacted by these DIY Sellers, who inevitably find one thing or another about which to be unhappy.   

I'm sorry  you were not aware you were responsible for ordering (and paying for) HOA documents (I will refer you again to the FSBO Responsibilities Form which documents all the things you may need to do as a For Sale by Owner).

I'm sorry  you moved away a few years ago and didn't hear the news about the new Congestion Relief Fee (yes, yes, it is a tax, but you know how politicians are) Sellers are responsible for paying (again, look at the FSBO Responsibilities Form).

I'm sorry  you weren't aware you would incur closing costs and taxes as a Seller (don't make me repeat myself, but it's there, on THE FORM). 

I'm sorry  you didn't know you weren't required to fix everything on the Home Inspection  Contingency Removal Addendum, but once again, that's not my job.  My job is to represent my clients, the Buyers. 

I'm sorry you just found out what your neighbors' house sold for and feel you were "ripped off."  For the record, my Buyers are very well aware of what a great deal they are getting and are appreciative you decided to sell on your own. It has worked out very well for them. 

I'm sorry  but no, we are not renegotiating the contract because you weren't aware of what your expenses would be nor how much you could have sold your house for. 

All of this is something a real estate agent could have helped you with, but since you decided not to hire an agent, nor engage an attorney, then you are truly on your own.  And it's not really my responsibility to fix for you - after all, it couldn't be more clear.  I don't represent you

Comments (91)

Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Love, love this list of what a for sale by owner's responsibilities include.  It always amazes me of what they think they are keeping vs. what they are spending!

Jan 26, 2016 03:28 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hi Susan, you hit all the points in this post perfectly. Lots of p's in that sentence. ;) I just talked a would-be FSBO out of doing in themselves, they really got it when I showed the list of what we do for them. 

Jan 26, 2016 03:46 AM
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

Very important post Susan and well written.

Jan 31, 2016 12:02 PM
Kimo Stowell
HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 - Honolulu, HI
REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i

Aloha Susan, people think selling a home is as easy as taking the cash and handing over the keys. Great post.

Feb 03, 2016 05:24 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Susan, aren't you sorry for being so sorry? 

What an excellent featured post!!! I really enjoyed reading it and can relate completely!

Feb 06, 2016 08:32 PM
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR

Susan Haughton People thing selling a home and even buying a home is as simple as that - we know better.  They should too.

Feb 06, 2016 08:56 PM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Susan, I am impressed by the number of forms you have to protect the buying agent and broker.  Our state forms are lacking after reading about your VA forms a FSBO seller must sign.  You represented your buyer well,  and the seller had a chance to have representation and expertise but passed in the name of "saving money".  It doesn't always work that way for the seller.

Feb 10, 2016 11:29 PM
Susan Haughton

Thanks.  Bruce Walter !  I agree, it is helpful to be able to say to a FSBO here is what you are responsible for - it protects us and our clients. And it helps the FSBO keep their end of the deal on track, too, which is good for everyone.  

Feb 10, 2016 11:41 PM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Hi Susan, stopping by to wish you a Happy Valentine's Day. Enjoy!

Feb 14, 2016 03:08 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Nearly every FSBO says they are selling themselves to save money and often only cost themselves more money, stress and aggravation, than they ever saved Susan Haughton 

Feb 14, 2016 08:10 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Susan- very feature worthy.  So many sellers aren't aware of the Seller/Agent and Buyer/Agent relationship and responsibility.  Selling a home on your own means exactly that... you're on your own. 

Feb 14, 2016 09:22 AM
Debbie Walsh
Shahar Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

Congratulations on this marvelous feature and AMEN!

Feb 14, 2016 11:03 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Susan, you are very smart to give the Seller Responsibility yinformation to FSBO sellers.  It comes in handy when they come back whining about something. 

Feb 15, 2016 11:35 PM
Susan Haughton

As they inevitablly will, Patricia Kennedy !  Thanks for the reblog!

Feb 17, 2016 05:42 AM
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Susan Haughton Thank you for this post and congratulations on well-earned Feature.  I will bookmark & pass along to agents in my training classes.

Feb 17, 2016 02:50 AM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

It is crazy how for sale by owners really don't understand what they have agreed to do. Great post!

Feb 17, 2016 05:12 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


This was an excellent article. I'm impressed with the dicslosures you have about FSBOs. I doubt many, or any (unless they have done it before recently) have any clue about all that hs to be done by the seller, and how buyer representation works


Feb 17, 2016 08:11 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I caught this through the re-blog.  Sellers that try to go it alone really want the buyer's agent to handle it for them for free.  At least in our state they do need a lawyer to close it, but they won't handle the process of preparing the sale.

Feb 17, 2016 10:19 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Susan Haughton ,

I read your post when Patricia Kennedy re-blogged and so glad I did. Excellent post..having disclosures really make a difference and there is a reason they are given....Congratulations on a well deserved feature!!

Feb 17, 2016 07:57 PM
Anthony Saunchez
Campa Properties - San Bernardino, CA
How can we be of service

I just love this. Too many people need the service without having to pay for it.

Feb 18, 2016 12:29 AM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I have found that most FSBO properties are investors flipping their investment and knows the process enough to close, don't you? The other FSBO sellers are simply uninformed or misinformed and therefore, the primary reason most FSBO properties generally end up with a real estate agent listing the property. 

Feb 28, 2016 06:58 AM
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Great post. I imagine this was an eye opening, learning experience for these sellers.

Sep 06, 2016 02:50 AM