FSBO - which one?

lnhardinFebruary 28, 2009

We've pretty much decided to sell the house ourselves. Our first plan was to call a real estate agent and let a pro do what they do for a living. We did call one, they went through the house, oohed and aahed over it, said it was a great house and they would "get right back to us" after they ran the comps. So 2 weeks went by with no contact at all. At 2 and a half weeks I got impatient, threw up a sign, built a website and designed some flyers. They called back right at 3 weeks to go over the comps and left a message a few days later saying they saw we were selling it ourselves, thought we had it priced right, good luck, and call if they could help.

I want to get us more exposure - including listing on Realtor. com. I've been on the FSBO websites and am most interested in "For Sale By Owner" or "Owners.com". Has anyone used one of these? Any feedback? I think we need the national exposure to get to people moving into the area so I want the Realtor.com. We cannot get an MLS listing here - the local Board of Realtors is blocking that.

Some background: I'm a marketing/PR professional (though not in Real estate), so brochures, website, ads, signage etc is no trouble for me. The house is 2 blocks walking distance from the state university. In an up market, homes around here go by word of mouth alone. I'm not counting on that in a down market. There are 2 markets for this neighborhood - first as rentals, parents buy homes here to put their students in and get roommates to help pay the cost (the dorm rooms are obscenely expensive). Second market is faculty/staff with families who want to walk to work. We fall into the latter category and have improved the house quite a bit. So much so that it is probably too large/too nice (gourmet kitchen, etc) for students. The house is in an area of older homes, but over the last 5 years we have improved everything - new roof, electric, remodeled baths, etc. Currently the homes are probably 2/3 student occupied and 1/3 owner occupied. That mix ebbs and flows back and forth over time. Right now I see that mix work somewhat against us. We are staging the house - will be done by end of week.

Any input is welcome, particularly dealing with the FSBO websites.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just hire an agent that is responsive and professional... and then you will have the mls presence.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 6:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd interview a few more to see how you felt in the mean time research the FSBO sites. I wouldn't sell it myself in this market but that's my opinion. From what you are saying about your area you might not need an agent.

As you know your web site key words are what will get the site picked up by web crawlers so make sure those work for you.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 6:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you use an agent, don't bother with the first one. Good agents, particularly in this market, are on top of things. Anyone who doesn't bother to get back to you within a couple of days, max, is either incompetent or not hungry enough for your business to work hard for you.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 7:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've done a successful FSBO (land) recently, and I don't think the pay-to-play FSBO sites are any good. Your own well done web site will be a better draw. You should run ads on craigslist.org (free). You should also sign up on city-data.com (also free). The latter has an ad forum that is indexed by the search engines. You will want to include a link to your own web site. Craigslist ads are also indexed by the search engines, but links to external sites are not indexed, which is why you need the city-data ad.

You should also investigate to see if any of the local paper or TV outlets run a popular real estate web site. If so, bite the bullet and pay for a listing.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 11:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You just need a discount broker to get you into the MLS. Usually you can find these for approx $500 flat fee. Then you agree to pay the commission to any agent that brings a buyer (they find this in the MLS). Usually this commison is approx 2.5%-3.5%.

Basically, you are acting as the listing agent, thus only paying half commission to the agent that brings the buyer.

However, if you find a buyer that does not have an agent, then you owe no commission. Make sure the listing agreement with the flat fee broker/aka discount broker allows this.

Also find one that allows you to post at least 4 photos in the MLS.

Yourigloo dot com used to have discount listings. Also you can find one locally...try www searches with your city/town name and the words: discount mls flat fee broker. Another way to find them, pick up some of of the local real estate mags that are in the grocery stores and such and some flat-fee brokers list in those books.

FYI...I used a flat-free broker when I sold and it worked very well for me. I ended up selling to a drive-by and worked directly with the buyer and didn't have to pay an agent commision. I gave the buyer this amount as a discount, which I am sure helped with the sale.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 10:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are no local stations. This is a small town in the boonies with a University. There is an 18% population turnover on an annual basis. The reason I want to get a Realtor.com listing is for the national reach. There are many people moving into the area from other states who are newly hired faculty/research people, etc. Also a huge influx of new students each year, many of whom will be put in houses by their parents instead of apartments or dorms. Again, I really don't think the students are the market (unless they are REALLY spoiled), but I do want to reach the incoming adults. I have my own site and will post to Yahoo real estate, Craigslist and the rest, but it seems that Realtor.com is the most viewed and I need to pay one of those FSBO sites to get on it as it is owned by the National Real Estate association. If anyone has information to the contrary, I would love to know about it.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 10:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sold a home not too long ago in similar circumstances to yours and found that local real estate agents brought out of state potential buyers through on the basis of local advertizing and free FSBO web site. No need for MLS listing then. The ambitious local agents found the place without it.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Are you ok with posting what area you're in? I think you'd get a better response towards what you want if you say so. When I was buying there were so many FSBO sites I didn't have time to pick through them; some were geared towards NJ.

I would pick one for your area just to get the realtor.com exposure then link to your won web site if you can.

When you do your key words make sure you add the university name as well as others you can think of related to your area. I'd also add your state, county, city / real estate as well as FSBO

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 5:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know of any FSBO site that links with Realtor.com. Only MLSs.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

But the MLS exposure ends up on realtor.com which pulls from the MLS; from what I've seen anyway.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are some national and state-wide discount broker firms. You need to search and try your county and other towns too. I used a discount broker that was in my state but was 4 hours away from the property. The broker had been set up with all the local MLSs within the entire state. The broker got me listed in realtor.com and also the local MLS too.

Many of the bigger FSBO related sites will get you into MLS similar to the discount method, but you need to make sure you are only paying a flat fee to list and then the commission to the listing agent if they bring a buyer. Some FSBO sites might try to get 5% from you and basically they are acting more like full-service price where you pay the 5% no matter what. A true flat-fee will charge a fee to get you into the MLS and then you agree to pay the agent that brings a buyer IF an agent brings a buyer.

Also - when you get into MLS - often (if not ALL) of the cases, the contact info will be that of the discount broker. This is because by law, brokers have to list themselves. When I used a flat-free broker, the agent's phone and contact info was on my MLS ad. But then the agent forwarded all calls/emails/inquries directly to me. This was important. Else, if the flat-free broker forwards these calls to another agent, then that other agent could very well get the commission if the caller was a direct buyer.

Also note that lots of the callers were agents setting up appts to show the home to their clients. In these cases, you act much like the listing agent - answering questions, giving lockbox info and scheduling times for when they will show.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 12:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with NCRealEstateGuy. I also don't know of any FSBO sites that will get you in the MLS. Realtor.com is strictly for REALTORS. The information is pulled from the MLS and the only way to get into MLS is to list with an agent. THis would include discount brokers but not FSBO sites.

How are people from outside your area going to find your website?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 2:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We sold our house FSBO in October for more than the asking price. We had a bidding war the second day after we started showing it! I was amazed. Here's what we did:

I'm a web designer and I made a beautiful web site for it with tons of photos. I borrowed a photographer friend's wide-angle lens to get great shots, and wrote enticing descritions. I modeled the web page on the realtor.com pages so that the placing of information was familiar and user-friendly for buyers. I purchased a domain name for the house using the address, i.e. "123mainstreet.com". I made a very-professional looking sign which read, "4 BR House for Sale. www.123mainstreet.com."; and then in smaller type, "call owner 999-999-9999". We had it printed, two-sided, on that corrugated plastic signboard at Kinko's, and DH made a cedar signpost for it to hang from.

Our realtor friend (also our buyer broker) agreed to help us minimally for a small fee. He put the listing on realtor.com for us (with a prominent link to our web page) and advised us on contracts and stuff. He was awesome!

The best thing we did was run ads on craigslist with a few photos and a link to the web page. A LOT of people found us that way.

Nearly everyone who called or came to see the house commented on the great web site and how nice it was to have all that information and photos. I really believe that people rely heavily on the web these days, and the better you can present yourself there, the better chance you have for a good, quick sale. Just my 2 cents from very limited experience, obviously!!

By the way, this was a starter home and most of the buyers were young couples, so clearly a web-oriented market to start with...

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 10:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well here's the end of the story....

You can indeed get on Realtor.com from a flat fee company. Got a premium listing on Realtor.com, no MLS listing. We got the Realtor.com listing up at 9:45 AM on Tuesday. Loaded about 10 nice pictures.Got a call from an interested out-of-state potential buyer about 2 hours later. Got a call from a local agent that they had been using about an hour later asking if she could see the house for them the next day. An hour later I got an email from potential buyer saying her husband also liked the pix and they were coming the next day with the agent. Apparently they drove all night (about 5-6 hour drive). Saw the house Wednesday morning. Made an offer Wednesday afternoon. We countered Thursday. They accepted today.House is sold.
By the way, if anyone is interested, I ended up using flatfeelisting.com. They were very helpful and responsive.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Great story! It confirms to me, that an attractive looking listing at the right price will sell in todays market.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 9:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No one said you could not get on Realtor.com through a flat fee listing... we are saying that Realtor.com does not pull their database from any FSBO sites. You hired an agent, even though he was a linited service provider, he put your listing in the MLS, and Realtor.com pulled it from there... end of story.
Same scenario as StaceyNeil... she hired an agent that got her listing in the MLS, which is where Realtor.com aggregated it from.
If you want your listing to be on Realtor.com, you have to hire an agent, be it a full service agent who legally represents a clients best interests , or one that would rather do data entry all day.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 6:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 8:51PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Happy story: my sis just bought her first house
Just thought I'd share a happy story! My sister's been...
robo (z6a)
Realtor company fee
Buyer agent told me there is $300 fee to realtor company....
For those of you who have swapped out your brass hardware....
For those of you who have swapped out your brass hardware,...
How to Flip. Remodel doubles price of house
The prices are San Francisco values, but it's a terrific...
Best time to List a House
Is there a best time to list a house for sale? We have...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™