A Cheat-Sheet For FSBO Owners
There are pros and cons that have to be weighed in making the decision whether to use a Realtor or sell as a FSBO.
I work with both FSBO owners and listed properties, so I will not steer you either way, only show you the pros & cons of both.
(You can also use this as a to-do list if you decide to do a FSBO.)
(Just for the record, FSBO owners do not pay for me for help, however they reciprocate with referrals of buyers who have ruled their home out already.)
The Benefits of selling “by-owner”
No commission to pay at closing (the commission you save could be 4% to 6% of your total sale price.
Some sellers choose to pay 6% to promote more agent showings, leading to better odds for multiple offers and bidding frenzy. Others choose 5% because they feel their home is equal or superior to comparable 6% listings.
4% listings are possible too, but not always recommended unless there are no competing listings, because some (not all) buyers’ agents might assign 4% listings as their Plan-B, to show only if needed (whether they admit to it or not.) Buyers’ agents that have been working with their buyers for many months tend to feel entitled to a full 5 or 6% commission (which they equally split with the listing agency and then split their half again with their office at whatever split they agreed upon based on their experience level or production volume.
What is the expected sale price of your home? $______________
Times the dollar amount above by your choice of 6%, 5% or 4%) enter the expected commission below
$________________ (example $100,000 x .05 = $5,000)
Next, assign a dollar amount reflecting what you believe each service below is worth to you...
Let’s do the final math now...
Estimated commission saved by selling by-owner that you posted above: $__________________
The total of hypothetical dollar values you placed on agent tasks listed above: $__________________
$_______________ Estimated Savings By Being Your Own Agent.
If you decide to hire an agent, and you are not in my area, ask if they are also employed anywhere else.
To learn that your agent is unreachable from 9 to 5 while on their other job, after the listing agreement is already signed, can be devastating!
Most sellers don’t really know what to ask when interviewing agents, so feel free to use the above as a checklist to discuss each task with any real estate agents you interview before signing any contract.
I listed things I do, but not all agents work the same way. Some agents just list a home and wait for another agent to sell it for them while they go hunting for their next listing!
Addressing the above tasks will clue you in on how hands-on they are.
If you are located in my area, I will be happy to answer any of your questions to help you get your FSBO on the market with confidence, by providing you with a blank LOI to write buyers offers up for your attorney to review, open house sign-in sheets, town data, other useful materials and professional staging and marketing tips from my 19 years experience at no charge.
If you are one of the “8-out-of-10” FSBO owners that eventually list with an agent, of course, I would be happy to discuss the benefits of a full-service listing with you, and see if we are a good match to work together on your home sale or not.
The top benefits are:
1. Represented homes typically sell 13% to 18% higher in price than comparable FSBOs
2. Your Realtor pays for professional photography, food at open houses, promos and advertising out of her own pocket.
3. (Professional photography increases buyers’ perception of home value by 12% on average, according to The Wall Street Journal.)
4. Coverage under your agent’s errors & omissions liability insurance reduces risk to personal law suits.
5. Preparing for your move is stressful enough, without taking on all of the tasks above yourself, and dealing with solicitors at the same time.
6. Other realtors are not allowed to solicit you once you list with you own agent.
Let’s Begin Estimating your Savings…
What would you pay yourself, or will you someone else to…. (place a dollar amount next to each item)
$___________ Estimate your home value, preparing a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) which compares your home in detail with current listings and recent sales in your neighborhood. The purpose is to help ensure that you price your home accurately from the start.
Since about 80% of all showings are typically during the first 60 days of a home’s debut, it is important to be in a fair market price range. You only get one debut.
If your home is snubbed by agents and home shoppers during its debut because of being over-priced, you will lose many potential buyers.
If you under-price you could lose too; unless you have maximum advertising exposure from the start to create a bidding frenzy because of the low price.
$_________ Review the CMA market data details with you and answer your questions
$_________ Craft marketing strategies, implementing the right tools to get maximum exposure and offers
$_________ Assist with personalized home staging concepts and ideas
$————— Provide professional photography ($300 to $600 depending on size of property)
$_________ Advertise & present your property with snacks or catered lunch for a “brokers-only open house” followed by advertising and hosting public open houses.
$_________ Reduce the risk of scam artists posing as buyers by pre-screening buyers online before showings
(An online background check saved me from meeting up with a phony buyer recently. I have no idea what his intentions were, but when I asked him to bring ID for the guard at the gate, he cancelled. That is what prompted me to verify his name and address information leading me to his real ID and his long, ugly criminal history!
$_________ Personally notify agencies pool of buyers about your new listing via direct mail or email.
$_________ Feature your home on many web sites, MLS and print advertising
$_________ Schedule showings of other agents, then follow up by phone with each agent to get constructive feedback. (Honest feedback is very helpful and is typically given to agents, but rarely spoken to the homeowner in fear they may take critiques personally)
$_________ Host public open houses and private showings; screen and follow-up with buyers the next day
$_________ Share unique strategies which open doors to a new buyers if the home is not sold in 30 days
$_________ Verify buyer is prequalified for a mortgage or has cash on hand to help ensure the home is being taken off the market for a good reason.
$_________ Present and compare written offer contracts in full detail with owner, knowing from experience of possible red flags to look out for in contract language that could increase risks to seller.
$_________ Negotiate price, terms on seller’s behalf to be sure it is the buyers highest and best offer. Is the buyer prepared to accept a counter-offer? Or will a counter-offer kill the deal?
The seller’s agent will typically ask the buyer’s agent strategic questions to know how to maximize counter-offers. The buyer’s agent wants the sale to happen too, so together two cooperating agents may derive the best solutions to make both buyer and seller satisfied. (This is one reason why agents sell homes 18% higher priced than FSBOs)
$_________ Draw up contracts, riders, addendums and required documents for the buyer’s mortgage lender, title company attorney or agent. (What would your attorney charge to prepare these documents if FSBO?)
$_________ Coordinate appointments for buyer’s home inspection, town inspection for fire safety and certificate of occupancy (if required by your town) and lender’s appraisal.
$_________ Be sure all deposits and mortgage commitment are received on time to avoid breach of contract.
$_________ Open the home for inspectors, appraisers and service or repairmen when possible to save you from having to take time out of your schedule.
$_________ Coordinate with title agents, attorney, buyer’s agent and mortgage rep for a smooth closing.
$_________ Be there for support during the emotional experience, and be a Liaison between you and the potential buyer...