Too Many FISBOs?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC

While I don't live in Page, AZ, I do work there and it is the center of activity for the Lake Powell area. Shopping, doctors, restaurants and entertainment are all based in Page.

For the past several months I've been doing a considerable amount of floor time at our Burton Brokerage real estate office, have acquired a couple of beautiful home listings and have been driving around the residential communities daily.

I've noticed over the past 17 years the amount of For Sale By Owner signs in Page but it was not until a few weeks ago I really started to mull over the WHY behind the daunting amount of them.

One Realtor told me last week "the residents don't think they need us". Another one said "they don't trust us". And finally a broker I respect said "they think they can do it easier without us". Wow.

I've written before on the isolated nature of Page and once again, I think this shows up as a symptom of the geographic isolation. Maybe the FISBO folks just feel like there has not been enough choice in Page or maybe they have had bad Realtor experiences. My bet is tho, that most with a FISBO sign in the yard have talked to someone who has had a bad experience. In a small community a bad experience spreads like wild fire.

I've not marketed to the FISBO community yet as I've been getting my feet wet and finding my bearings. Last night it occured to me what a sad state of affairs this is.

My hope moving forward is that the Lake Powell Real Estate Blog will become not only a place to find real estate information but a trusted community forum. Maybe with trust some of the FISBO's will decide Realtor's are not so bad after all.




Comments (13)

Nelson Bermas
EXIT Real Estate Consultants - Lexington, SC
Your Lexington REALTORĀ®

Like everyone else.  If you can get it for cheap or free, why not try do it yourself.  Sure I sold my old cooking books on craigslist or ebay, let me try to my sell my biggest investment the same way.  At least it makes it easier for you, you have a listing lead.

Feb 04, 2009 01:17 AM
Heather Rankin
Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC - Page, AZ
Lake Powell Real Estate

Nelson - The funny part is we don't have a Craigslist for this area - we are in with Flagstaff which is 135 miles away. It seems like most FISBO's are putting the sign in the yard, maybe a small box add in the paper and calling it a day. As a side note: Page is the most remote town in the lower 48 with a population over 5,000.  I am going to take my "expirieds" letter and change it around a bit and start with the FISBO's. I believe I can help most of them at this point with my net background.

Feb 04, 2009 01:44 AM
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

Hey, Heather. FSBO's aren't indigenous to Page. With the median-priced home currently down at $300,000 here, and commissions still sitting at a minimum of 5%, it's not hard to multiply 5% times $300,000, to arrive at $15,000 in commission dollars that can be saved by doing it themselves. Little do they realize....

I was in a subdivision in the Eastlake community of Chula Vista a few weeks ago and I saw five FSBO signs in just one block. Eastlake is our hardest hit foreclosure community with some estimates as high as 50% of the homes being in foreclosure or having been foreclosed, which would be many thousands.

Feb 07, 2009 07:03 PM
Heather Rankin
Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC - Page, AZ
Lake Powell Real Estate

Russel - We never really had the "boom" here - tho have always been a bit on the high end because of the tourist, recreation, beauty, isolation factors. For now, there are no foreclosures in Page with the exception of one business. My hope is that as we move forward there will be limited amounts of them.

Yes, they do see it as a "save money" opportunity but in the end .... recently a relative bought a home without an agent - and overpaid. Not by a lot, but still. So in that case the seller came out ok, the buyer, well, ok but could have been better.

Feb 08, 2009 04:22 AM
Sharon Harris
Keller Williams Keystone Realty - Hanover, PA

There do seem to be tons of FSBO here as well. Most think that they can do the same thing we do as Realtors but better. I blame it on the Internet. Too many sites giving false hope.

Feb 21, 2009 02:27 AM
Heather Rankin
Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC - Page, AZ
Lake Powell Real Estate

Sharon - in driving around the same ones are on the market, for the most part, as were last year. I agree with you.

Feb 22, 2009 03:14 AM
Elaine Grandolfi
Weichert Realtors Dunhill Group - South Yarmouth, MA

Heather, the FISBO problem is also a dilemma in Cape Cod, so I would like to join your group to see whether we can all come up with some creative ideas to show these people they do need us.  Some FISBO state on site like that they will work with buyer agents, where we do all the work.  How do we create ways to get these people to list with us.  i am ready to put a package together and knock on doors.  I look forward to viewing more comments on your site.

Mar 16, 2009 09:06 AM
Heather Rankin
Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC - Page, AZ
Lake Powell Real Estate


I just sent out a bundle of letters the first of this week to 12 Fisbo's. We shall see what happens. Mostly directing them to my website and giving them my card. Nothing corney, or over the top, just a hey, here's some info and a cool site to check out.

So far no calls, but I've found with expired letters and the like, sometimes it is months before the phone rings.


Mar 19, 2009 02:58 PM
Sallie Williams
Keller Williams Realty RED STICK PARTNERS - Baton Rouge, LA
REALTOR - MBA, Baton Rouge

Elaine, it used to be that when houses were in big demand the FSBO's could make a go of it better than they can now.  In a buyers' market they need us more than ever.  But how to convince them?  I just started marketing to FSBO's this past week.  We'll see how it goes.

Apr 05, 2009 05:58 AM

Greetings, as a customer, not an agent, I stumbled upon this discussion, and I can tell you one thing that really drives people to FSBO: the perceived lack of effort on the part of your average realtor for what seems like a very large commission.  I personally have bought and sold a home in the last 18 months and am in the process of selling again, and I just can't understand why the agents can't make corrections to the MLx listings in a timely manner, or add photographs, or even take decent photographs (for $12,000, why can't you invest a couple of hundred dollars on a professional photographer?  "Do it yourself" is okay for what you do to save money but not for when your clients do it?); why showing agents don't have the courtesy to leave their card after they do a showing (not a few, but 99% don't do this any more);  why agents don't keep lists of handymen as resources homeowners can use to help whip the property into shape.  FSBO is increasing because people aren't seeing the effort for the money.

If agents were willing to make some changes to give back some of the value then people might list again: such as charging a lower commission for more expensive houses (If you're not doing more work to sell it, and my experience tells me you're probably not, then why should you get such a large portion of my equity?); or reducing commission to help enable sales when the client gets offers below their breakeven point (and therefore can't close the deal).  If you guys think you work hard for such a large chunk of our equity, you haven't convinced many people outside your profession...

May 22, 2009 09:14 AM
Heather Rankin
Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC - Page, AZ
Lake Powell Real Estate


I disagee with you on many points but am not here to argue my profession. I have seen lazy agents but most of them have left, at least in this area, in the last year.

I just spent 81 days on a transation invovling a USDA loan which required remodeling a kitchen and a lot consolidation, all of which I headed up and followed through till the end. Had I not, the deal would have never happened - everyone would have left in frustration. As it is a first time homebuyer has a home and an elderly gentleman no longer has the burden of a home he no longer needed.

There are bad agents out there, no doubt. I do the best job I can do every day - for some that will never be enough, for others, they seem very grateful for my knowlege and dedication.




May 23, 2009 01:41 PM

I agree with Rich. I list foreclosures, as well as trying to build business for the future. Obviously, with foreclosures I get much more traffic and therefore experience a larger sampling of agents. There are still too many bad agents out there. There are some good ones as well. The good agents do provide a valuable service, but the bad ones give good reason for the negative atitude that the public has for the industry. Like my broker always says, the bad agents make it easier for the good ones to shine. I recently landed a sell/buy client, because he saw one of my signs and I answered the phone. He said that he had called 4 agents in the last few weeks. Only one returned his call. The other couldn't give him a definitive time to meet at his property. I got his property sold, even though it took a specific type of buyer as the property had some issues. The buyers wanted to buy it sight unseen just from the 20 plus photos that I had in the listing. Naturally, their agent was awfull and was difficult to reach. I had to do all of the work, but my clients were happy. We are now under contract on their purchase. I hear bad agent stories all of the time. I actually like what I do, and would like to stay in the business. Maybe that's why I treat it with respect. OK, back to work.

Dec 21, 2009 10:23 PM
Heather Rankin
Rankin Realty at Lake Powell, LLC - Page, AZ
Lake Powell Real Estate

Rich ~ I wrote the above post almost a year ago. I have now seen more of the "bad agent" behaviour than I had when i wrote the post.  The worst ones, so far, for me to deal with are the "part time" agents who have their friends home listed and have other jobs.

I just landed a very large set of listings due to some of the reasons you and Rich have mentioned. It is going to be interetsing, and a heck of a lot of work but I am looking forward to it!

Thanks so much for the imput!

Dec 22, 2009 02:14 AM