Home sellers know that there have always been alternatives to hiring a real estate agent to sell their home. One way is to do it yourself, For Sale by Owner (FSBO). The lure is that they would, if successful, save the commission, which, although negotiable, is typically 5-7% of the sale price. That is a lot of money! However, that is if you are successful with the sale. The statistics are not in your favor: the NAR (National Association of Realtors), tracks this information annually. Statistically, FSBO sales have been on the decline since about 2001. Today, the success rate is below 13%, with 87% of the sales coming from buyers with real estate agents.
5 Serious Problems Posting Homes for Sale on Craigslist and Facebook
1. Scammers and Dishonest people flock to sites like Craigslist to do harm because they can be “transparent”. Make up a name or email address and they are in business!
2. Scams include pretending to be interested in your home, only to come and “stake it out” to break in later. Sometimes they set a showing and 3-4 people show up!
3. Some will even produce an offer (using online forms, or worse yet, a fake attorney), and all the seller has to do is pay a retainer fee which will be returned at closing (except there will be no closing).
4. Often Agents will input a listing on Craigslist, and it shows up soon as “For Rent”. Scammers look for vacant homes (from photos). They then seek to get deposits to hold the house. Of course, once they get it, the money is long gone!
5. Odds: what are the odds someone responding on Facebook to your listing is qualified to buy; does not have a house to sell first; and would choose YOUR house over competitors?
Setting Showings on Your Home
How do you know who is coming to your house? Agents prescreen their buyers, and get them prequalified with a lender BEFORE showing them houses. When you get a call on your FSBO home, who are these people? It can be a real risk taking time off work to meet someone you have never met at your home, and let them in to look around. Use caution! Agents do as well!
Filling Out and Processing the Paperwork
It can be daunting! Real Estate Agents have to take ongoing annual classes in contracts and all of the paperwork involved in a real estate transaction. My most recent closing had the following: 49 pages of contracts, addendums, and disclosures. An additional 30 pages of inspections, resolutions, receipts, and assorted other paperwork to the transaction! For liability protection, we are required to keep all of this paperwork for a minimum of 4 years! According to the NAR, the average Realtor has 8+ years of experience with contracts and buying and selling homes. How much experience do you have with contracts? Larry has 31+ years of experience! The bottom line with a FSBO is that the experience is often accompanied with a lot of pain and aggravation, wasted time, and potential danger for a very small chance of success!
Other options to Sell Your Home
The commissions to sell and buy homes have always been negotiable. Some Brokers offer a lower commission structure in an effort to win your business. So called, “discount brokers” have been around for many years, and new ones keep springing up every year. Most promise to sell your home for a reduced commission. A select few promise “full service”, but with a discount for commissions. As a professional Realtor, I have seen many of these companies come and go. Some will put a sign in the yard, input information into our MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and hope for the best. Some don’t even do that! Many do not even input your home in our MLS system. Some make YOU, the seller, set the showings. What a bad idea! When is it convenient for YOU to take off from work and show someone your home off a phone call? Some are out of area, or even out of state. This can present many problems. Often, there is a problem with access. Their Board lockboxes may not work with our local agents access keypads, or, worse yet, they use the old “combo” lockboxes which are very dangerous and easy to break into. Also they don’t track who has been in your house. Our Board lockboxes have a chip in them that registers who was there and what time. No one can access our boxes except a licensed real estate agent, or a member of our local Board of Realtors.
Additionally, an out-of-area agent does not know your area, subdivision, values, and local issues affecting your community. For this reason, I ALWAYS refer clients who want to purchase or list a home outside of my market area I am familiar with. I even referred my siblings to an agent in Denver, 45 miles away where I grew up! Local Agents live in and know the area!
I compete against many of these companies to get a listing and, generally, I win out. Why? Because I can show my multitude of marketing items I will do to get their home sold, including a proven, comprehensive, written marketing plan designed specifically for your home. Which one results in the sale? Experience has taught me that you have to do all ten marketing items on every listing, no matter what the price point is. If all we had to do was one thing to sell a home, that is all agents would do, and there would be no unsold homes. However, that is not the case. Every year, no matter what the market is, a percentage of homes will not sell. Some go through multiple agents before they sell, and some never sell. Why? Usually, it is because it was not marketed properly.
When shopping for a professional Realtor, just like any other professional, first look for referrals from trusted sources, such as friends, family, or coworkers, and second by what they will do for you. Don’t pick an attorney based on price. Nor a doctor. Nor any professional. Get the best you can get! It may cost a little more, but you will be happy with the results!! A Happy Seller means you know you got your money’s worth from your agent! Over 87% of my business is from REFERRAL!
I give exceptional service to my clients, they refer me to other clients! That is the best way to run a business, and that is the way I have done it for 31 years!