Take The FIZZ Out Of The FSBO
Debunking Myths About For Sale By Owner Properties
By George L. Rosario of Coldwell Banker Kueber
Contact George at www.GeorgeRosario.com
Why do home owners decide to sell their own properties? Some will say it is because they've heard bad things about real estate agents, and others will say that they are sure they can do a better job than any agent, or any other reason. The truth is that most sellers who go the FSBO route do it because in their minds, they can do the same job as a Realtor and save themselves the 6% commission a Realtor would charge them. It is all about saving themselves a few percentage points on the sale of their home.
Is it impossible for them to make it? Of course not. I've heard of a few successful FSBO's in my years in real estate. Notice I said I've heard of them. I've been in the business since 1990 and I am starting to think that I will have better luck meeting Big Foot before I ever meet one of these successful FSBO's.
I have on the other hand met some very unsuccessful, desperate FSBO's and heard enough first hand horror stories to fill up a journal. NAR (the National Association of Realtors) reports that 86% of For Sale By Owner’s hire a Realtor within 7 weeks of putting their house on the market. This means that most FSBO's spend almost two months trying to sell their home on their own, only to end up listing with a licensed Realtor. The latest public records show that only 9 out of every 100 sellers will sell their home through the FSBO forum. Out of those 9, an average of 8 will get far less than what a licensed Realtor could have gotten them.
Why do FSBO's end up with less money? Well, because the only people that go show a FSBO's house is a buyer’s agent (a licensed real estate agent who is an expert negotiator on the part of the buyer). When buyer’s agents approach a seller’s agent, also known as a listing agent such as I am, they know they are facing an expert negotiator that is there to work for the benefit of the seller. Think about this as a court case. In a court case scenario, the buyer’s agent is the prosecutor; the FSBO is a defendant who foolishly decides to defend himself; I am the defense attorney who is hired by the defendant that knows the importance of having an experienced negotiator on his side.
The National Association of Realtors latest statistics show that most home owners will not go past more than 3-4 real estate transaction in their entire lives. An average Realtor goes through an average of 15-18 transactions per year. I average 28 completed transactions per year. Wouldn't it make sense for all home sellers to hire someone who averages 28 completed transactions per year to negotiate on their behalf?
There is this trend among sellers to allow websites such as ForSaleByOwner, Zillow and Trulia to mislead them into listing their own home on their sites under the FSBO section. These sites convince sellers that they will save money if they sell their own home without the expert services of a licensed agent. What they won’t tell sellers is the fact that statistics show houses sold by Realtors sell for 42% more than houses sold under the FSBO title. That means that the seller is sold on the idea of saving the 6% commission they would pay a Realtor, but are not informed that they are literally trading that 6% savings for an additional 42% cost. That’s like trading 6 oranges for 42 oranges. The person giving away the 6 oranges has obviously given away far less than the person giving away 42 oranges.
So what are the benefits of hiring a Realtor?
Realtors have access to tools that most For Sale By Owner’s don’t have. We have access to the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). We have several webpages to advertise your home. We have access to pre-appraisal tools like Geo Data Direct, Realtor.com, Property Shark, and many other Realtor exclusive tools.
The most common method by which homes are sold is the MLS. Realtors will advertise your property on the MLS so that all other local Realtors (hundreds if not thousands) have instant access to details about your home. These Realtors then forward the information to their buyers and seek out the best qualified buyers to show your property to.
Geo Data Direct helps Coldwell Banker Realtors put together a detailed property value comparable, helping us position your home for best possible results in the market. This tool gives us the ability to see everything that has sold and at what price, as well as access to tax info and other pertinent information to the sale of your home.
Tools like Realtor.com, Homes.com, Property Shark and other Realtor exclusive sites allow the public limited access to them, but reserve full access for Licensed Realtors. The limited access given to home owners can become costly, and often prove to be too time consuming for owners to use to the full potential. While home owners use these tools before and after work, or during their free time, Realtors focus a large bulk of their day to putting these tools to work for them and for their clients.
I hear FSBO's tell me they can just as easily put out “Open House” and “For Sale” signs on their properties and spend far less on those marketing tools than they would spend if they were to pay a Realtor a commission to do so. Well, let’s look at this one carefully.
When you are shopping for a car, you know that if you go to a Licensed Dealer, particularly a Certified Pre-Owned car dealer, you will pay more for your car than if you go directly to the guy who puts a 99 cent for sale sign on the windshield. So why would anyone go to a car dealership. Simple! The buyer expects a higher quality product from a dealer than from a private seller. The Licensed Dealer’s product is more money, but it is more trusted and it is therefore more desirable to the buyer.
The same is true with a sofa you purchase from a certified furniture showroom as opposed to the sofa sold at a yard or garage sale. The buyer sees the store bought sofa as being cleaner, more trustworthy and more reliable than the sofa that a private owner is getting rid of on his own.
Buyers who see a For Sale By Owner sign in front of a house go in expecting to pay a lot less. Many buyers will take the owner’s asking price and deduct 6% before they even make an offer. They do this because they figure since the owner is selling it on his own, he doesn't have the expense of paying a Realtor’s commission, so why should the buyer pay that extra amount.
When a buyer meets a Realtor selling a house, the buyer understands that the owner has hired a professional on his behalf, and the buyer perceives that home as being a higher end product and will be more willing to bargain up than down. The bottom line is that the FSBO sign in front of the house may get more offers, but it will always get much lower offers than what a For Sale By Agent sign will get. When you go with the world's most recognized real estate brand, Coldwell Banker, you increase your property's visibility to all of New York, the entire United States, and 49 other countries throughout the world.
I won’t even go into detail about the screening process involved in selling a home. FSBO's are inviting strangers into their home without taking the necessary steps to determine if this stranger is a serious buyer, a tire kicker, or worse, a criminal. There are countless horror stories of break-ins, armed robberies, attacks, thefts, rapes, and even murders of home owners who open up their doors to strangers in the attempt to sell their house. You don’t have to take my word for it. Research this topic online and you will find out just how dangerous it is to tell potential criminals that you are handling the sale of your home without consulting a professional.
The bottom line is that home owners owe it to themselves and to the success of the sale to consult several Realtors prior to putting their home up for sale. The right Realtor will convey a sense of security, professionalism, experience, knowledge and ability when selling a home. The right Realtor is a buffer, taking on the responsibilities and stresses of selling a home, sparing the home owner of all the headaches involved with the process.
Feel free to contactme for a FREE, no-obligation, in home consultation. I will help you figure outwhat your home is worth in today’s market, what your most beneficial sellingoptions are, and I will help you put together a comprehensive plan to make thesale of your home quick and painless.
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