FSBO check in

threepinktreesMarch 31, 2014

So, we put our sign up just over two weeks ago. We've had six showings, excellent positive feedback, and gone through 30 or so flyers in our box. It's not possible to get on the MLS here without a realtor, so we're just using Craigslist, our sign, and a couple flyers around town.

Are these good signs for a FSBO? Or does it all depend on the market? We're feeling very encouraged by the level of interest we've had so far, but I don't have anything to compare it to.

On a related note, we've held off on going to see any houses ourselves, to avoid feeling stressed out about selling. We've limited ourselves to MLS stalking. At what point should we start actively looking? An accepted offer? Or wait until post inspection?

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It's very hard to say, as real estate varies by market, but I'd be encouraged by the showings. It's likely you won't get much negative feedback, as buyers tend to avoid hurting your feelings by telling you directly.

You can list your own house on zillow, and you can buy a realtor.com listing through an outside realtor for $99. We got a few hits that way. Are you willing to work with buyers' agents? If so, consider emailing all the agents in your area a link to your property website and tell them the commission you're offering them. We got a few showings that way too.

I'd start looking as soon as you're under contract. I wouldn't wait until contingencies are done.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 12:49PM
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I will dive into the FSBO pool next month. I thought I would try to get feedback from lookers by asking folks to put a suggestion in a box or bowl filled with blanks so as not to be intimidating. Does anyone have a better idea to get helpful feedback?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 7:10PM
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Don't mean to hijack your thread but I wanted to share my FSBO experience. I have to say it was disappointing for one reason. Serious intent to buy. We put it on Zillow, in the local newspapers, everywhere online except MLS. We got tons of showings, more than I would have anticipated! We even got one couple who came back several times and told me they were going to pay cash, no mortgage. The thing is... nothing happened. We even tried to light a fire under that couple a little bit by telling them another buyer was planning to make an offer. All the showings took a lot of time (we had already moved out by then so we kept having to drive over there and wait around to meet people) and it was all for nothing.

Yes, we were willing to work with agents and we did get a couple of people looking with their agents. Finally we listed it with an agent, one of the agents we met who had brought her client by during our FSBO showings. It sold just fine after that and in fact got into a tiny bidding war where the price went up by 1k. .

My conclusion is that I think the people who are seriously looking, who seriously want to buy a house in the next few months, are working with buyer's agents. Why? You'd think that with the internet agents would be obsolete. I don't know why, but that's how it seems to work even still. In fact, the majority of people who came through during our open houses were our neighbors simply being nosy!

My husband found this frustrating since he thinks real estate agents are silly and there's not much they can do that the internet can't handle. So at the closing (out of earshot of the realtors!) he couldn't help asking our buyer why she didn't look on Zillow and find our house herself. She was going through a divorce and was planning on living in the house with her young child and needed a place big enough for when her other kids came home from college on breaks. In other words, she was busy! She simply stared at him and didn't answer. I don't know if she'd even heard of zillow.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:47AM
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I listed my house FSBO on March 17th and went under contract last Friday - about 3.5 weeks after I listed it. I got a great offer at $5k under my asking price and the buyer was not working with an agent. She did hire an attorney and I agreed to pay half of his fee not to exceed $500.

We are not in an especially hot market but we live in a university town with little inventory right now. This is also the time when professors get under contract for the upcoming year so it is a good time to list as there are usually quite a few buyers.

I think my situation was unusual and I certainly feel lucky. A few things I think helped a lot:

1) I paid a photographer $75 to take pics. Worth every penny and then some.

2) Good write up. We have a very large lot and are situated within easy walking distance of campus and our downtown. I marketed the property as a rare opportunity, with a one of a kind lot. My house is an 1860's Greek Revival and I have done the research to know who has lived here over the last 150 years. I knew that my house would be attractive to an old house history nerd like myself and so I used that in my listing.

"One of a kind home in ****. Walk to campus or redeveloped downtown and come home to your 1 acre wooded, fenced lot. Privacy and charm abound in this vintage 2 story which sits far back from the road. Screened in front porch, hardwood floors, and a sunken family room with fireplace opens to the updated kitchen. First floor laundry in the mud room. French doors lead to the private brick patio and wisteria covered portico with hot tub. Finished loft over the double garage lends itself to many uses. An unusual opportunity. If you are a lover of old homes with a rich history, this is a must see."

I am also a salesperson by trade so I made sure to show the house myself. I also talked it up a lot when I would talk to prospective buyers on the phone. I told everyone how much we loved this house and how sad we were to leave it, what a difficult decision it has been for my family to decide to sell it, and we still second guess ourselves if we made the right choice, etc etc. People want to buy something that other people want.

Good luck! I definitely think FSBO can happen. The downside I have seen is simply timing. Purchase agreements and contract changes take much longer with an attorney involved than with a Realtor.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:34PM
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The reason people still use buyer's agents is because they're "free" so why not. Because most buyers use agents, sellers have to list with agents to make sure their homes are shown. I'd say that's the linchpin keeping the whole system from changing en masse and quickly.

If buyers had to pay agents 3% of the purchase price directly, instead of indirectly through a higher price, I'm sure many more would opt to DIY it. And that would open up the market to more FSBO-ers, and the internet would bring them together.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:11PM
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Our experience so far has been that it's pretty easy to get people to come see your house as a FSBO. The more challenging thing is to get those people who are ready to jump on a house today. We've had several people who already own a home and are just looking for 'something bigger.' They're not out looking at other homes and then choosing one. So you're competing against something in their head that may not even exist, but they're happy to just keep viewing homes and waiting until they see it.

Back to your original question, I emailed people who had showings around 2 days after the showing and asked for feedback in a really friendly, non-pushy manner. I've had almost everyone email back with really helpful answers, so I definitely recommend that.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:14PM
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I sit here 2 weeks from closing on a house we just stopped by to âÂÂlook atâ because they had an open house and it was on our way home from church. ItâÂÂs a smart seller who does not write off the person who owns a house thatâÂÂs not on the market, and is very casually looking at other homes. Your house might be the one that shifts them from casual looker to active buyer.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Oh Louis, I'd buy your house just based on that description!!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:00PM
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Kris-ma-- that's what I'm hoping! I figure you can never know if someone might fall in love with your house. Haven't given up yet :).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:15PM
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