For Sale by Owner (or FSBO) signs are popping up through cities across the nation. Seems the homeowners are becoming more determined to compete with, or eliminate the real estate Agent. Each FSBO has their reason for not using an agent. Some have had a less than pleasant past experiences with agents, and feel they can do a better job at getting their property sold. Others must sell their home on their own, simply due to the declining property values; they can not afford to pay an agent. Also there is the “experienced” home seller; they have purchased and sold before therefore they do not feel the need to share proceeds with an Agent.
What ever the reason, home sellers are determined to act as their own agent. Here are a few tips for you FSBO sellers to consider when selling your home.
- CLEAN and STAGE. You must keep your home extra clean and clear away the clutter. Fancy up the curb appeal by manicuring the lawn and add some flowers for a splash of color. Use a pressure washer to clean up the exterior (in our “red clay” country, so many homes have a shabby or premature aged appearance due to the clay formed around the lower half of the exterior).
- ADVERTISE. You must get your home in front of buyers. Dropping a sign in the front yard and telling the neighbors you want to sell, will not cut it. You must utilize the publications in your area and invest money in advertising. Also, you must get your home online. There are several online resources; some are free to homeowners, that will allow you to list your property on high traffic websites. This is a technology based world, and buyers look for homes online. Avoiding the tech savvy world, is only avoiding potential buyers.
- PRICE ACCORDINGLY. The number one mistake FSBO’s make is pricing the property. Most buyers prefer to enlist the services of an agent (read my blog regarding Buyers Agents) and will not purchase a home without representation. Buyers who are willing to purchase direct from the owner have one intention in mind; ironically the same intention as you FSBO’s…SAVE MONEY. Don’t become greedy, because buyers are educated these days and they have the power to pull comparable home sales in your neighborhood. Today’s buyer will also realize that YOU are not paying an agent, so they expect that your property should be priced far lower than a listed home.
- ALLOW a BUYERS AGENT to SELL your property. Understandably, some FSBO’s feel the Agent is the “enemy”. Often, homeowners become inundated with calls from agents requesting to list the home; coupled with prior unpleasant experiences, this may cause the homeowner to resent agents. Not all agents are looking for the listing. If you are clear upfront (and in print) that you will offer a percentage to a buyers agent, this will give more exposure to your property. If an agent has a buyer, and you want to sell, working together will net the desired end result for everyone. True, you will have to sacrifice a portion of your proceeds; however, it may make the difference between “for sale” and “sold”. Having your home sit on the market will net you ZERO proceeds. Offering a percentage to a buyers agent will save you money since you will not be paying a listing agent, not to mention it may reduce the time on the market which ultimately adds money in your pocket.
Ultimately, a listed home will likely sell faster and for a higher amount than a FSBO property. The key is to find an Agent that will work with you, and for you. Your prospective agent should be able to offer a guarantee, which will release you from your listing agreement should you feel they are not fulfilling their obligations.