Just Ask The Neighbors.

Commercial Real Estate Agent with Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker AZ BR 528507000

A recent Q/A question discussed the main pitfalls a FSBO might face.


I am reminded of a story recently told by my neighbor. His friend wanted to buy on my street, and the across the street neighbors just happened to be moving. I knew this because they approached me about listing the house. I had no hesitation in declining.


The homeowner was a 'professional handydandy' who did a lot of work for local contractors and agents. His work was inconsistent at best, and there were a few times I know someone had to be hired to 'fix it right' after being promised 'he'd make it right' which never seemed to happen. But you would have thought on 'his house' he would have done it right. 


You'd be wrong. 


So my neighbor's friend was informed that Handydandy's house was available, and he felt confident enough to 'just save the commission' and DIY. Unrepresented buyer, FSBO seller. No state purchase contract, just the title company's forms. No inspections.


My neighbor, who stops me to chat as I walk Luna, told me "Ohhh, he's had so much trouble with his house! First, the AC leaked through the roof and had to be replaced, and the roof repaired."

(Oh, is that what ServiceMaster was doing there. I thought maybe duct cleaning . . . )

"Noooo, it wasn't for the roof . . . THEN he found out the dishwasher drain line was never connected when he turned it on and left the house, came back and the entire house was flooded. Then, the freezer in the garage caught fire."

(I am stunned. I don't suppose Joe had inspected the property or purchased a home warranty . . .)

"I didn't know he could do that! And I'm sure he didn't want to spend the money."

So how much did this end up costing him?


"He says pretty close to $10,000! Homeowner's insurance is covering the flooring, but he ended up having to buy a new freezer, dishwasher and AC, plus repair the roof and make sure there was no mold from the leak."


I'm not sure Handydandy's gonna be on the hook for anything . . . some things I don't need to know and won't ask.


You think representation is costly? 


Just ask the neighbors.



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Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

This is quite a learning experience for the buyer who was saving all that money

Apr 29, 2020 04:54 AM #9
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

OMG too funny.  I'm really surprised it only cost $10,000.  But, I'm sure there will be more problems to come.

Apr 29, 2020 05:14 AM #10
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

When I pass out the blank Sellers Disclosure Statement, I always remind the owners that “ the Neighbors Tell All 

Apr 29, 2020 05:25 AM #11
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

yep... if you think hiring a professional is expensive... just try doing it without one.

Apr 29, 2020 05:30 AM #12
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

It is a funny story in the sense it does happen and this is one of the top stories. People think they know better and trying to save a buck costs them tens of thousands in the end

Apr 29, 2020 05:40 AM #13
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Passing on a $400-500 (whatever) inspection and paying $10K in repairs. Hmmmm.... In hindsight I bet that wasn't a great idea.


Apr 29, 2020 06:02 AM #14
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hey Candice,
I'm sure we all have these kinds of stories to tell. I know I do. I've written about a few of them. Buyers beware, indeed!  

On the flip side, I have a friend in the midwest who is going to be FSBOing his house soon but willing to pay a buyers agent. I'm worried about him getting taken advantage of due to not having his own representation. 

Apr 29, 2020 06:03 AM #15
Erik Hiss
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Worthington, OH
You can trust me for all your real estate needs!

Very true and so much we all could post! When it comes to real estate don't you know everyone is an expert!? ;-)

Apr 29, 2020 06:32 AM #16
Ron Tissier
Chapman Hall Premier Realtors (404) 580-9069 - Atlanta, GA
Defining Homes. Defining Lifestyles.

In my experience, a handyman is typically a "jack of all trades and master of none".  Unless licensed or certified trained, can they really call themselves professionals?

I've always enjoyed using this phrase with homeowners, FSBOs, "If you think I'm expensive, hire an amateur!"


Apr 29, 2020 06:50 AM #17
AndreaBFerreira CRS - SRS - CLHMS
Keyes Co. - Davie, FL
Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County in FL

Great post, for  sure a good message to be shared with so many who wants to save on commission....thank you 

Apr 29, 2020 07:48 AM #18
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Quite the story, and thanks for the Stones song.  Had never heard it!

Apr 29, 2020 08:17 AM #19
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Always love your stories, they are so educational and this is so true, not having representation is costly.

Apr 29, 2020 08:25 AM #20
Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana!
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Crazy neighbor from hell.  Yup we all know one or two!  There's one I wouldn't touch with a 1000 ft pole.....nope.

Apr 29, 2020 09:47 AM #21
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Oh my goodness this is awful. Crazy idea but you are correct it is sometimes to just walk away.  Walk walk walk away. 

Apr 29, 2020 11:21 AM #22
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Good for you for not pursuing that listing!

My son bought a repossessed house that was built by a "professional home builder." He was aware of a lot of the problems before he purchased it, but a few were hiding where the most thorough inspector couldn't find them!My son found them when he got deep into remodeling.

The whole place seemed to have been built with leftovers from other jobs - so (among other things) doors and windows were odd sizes that didn't match.

Apr 29, 2020 08:49 PM #23
Brian DeYoung
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ithaca, NY
Brian DeYoung

i always tell similar stories with, well the repairs and problems cost 18,000... but at least they saved their HALF of the 10,000 commission.  people usually get the point.


i had a potential seller a few months ago that sold their home for 100,000 instead of listing it for 130,000. but the saved commission!

my friend bought it did 3,000 in work LISTED it and i am selling it UNDER CONTRACT for 151,000.

but.... he will have to pay commission.

Apr 30, 2020 07:15 AM #24
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Will this guy admit his mistake? Probably not.  I see a lot of sloppy contract work in flipped homes.  For some, it's all about the MONEY MONEY MONEY.

Apr 30, 2020 08:20 AM #25
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Holy cow!  That's a lotta repairs, stress and unnecessary work.  Good thing you turned down that listing!

May 03, 2020 04:12 PM #26
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Very true & great story. Sometimes it pays not to go for the listing & your intuition was correct. No matter what - always pop over & talk with the neighbors to see what's really going on.

May 05, 2020 07:49 AM #27
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Good thing you knew the reputation and back story for that homeowner. I'd have walked away as well. Trouble ahead for the new hoeowner, fo sho! 

May 20, 2020 12:48 PM #28
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