FSBO Questions

maredaJuly 8, 2014

Greetings all. I hope I didn't miss this in going through the tips threads, but I have a question. I am planning to put my home on the market and would like to get some CMA's. My first inclination is to contact some agents and tell them the truth, that I would like to sell my home myself and let them know I'm willing to work with them (hopefully negotiating a lower percentage, but I'll save that for later). But one person I know said she wouldn't do that because the agent might lowball it in order to make it work for one of his or her clients. Thoughts? And is there a better way to approach this? It's an uncomfortable request since I'm not planning to use their services.

Also, every one of my neighbors is telling me to leave a note up asking people to take off their shoes once inside the house. They've all heard or had horror stories because people don't treat others homes the way they do their own. I'm hearing in some cases it doesn't even seem like they wiped their feet and probably walked across a wet lawn to get to the front door. I know this has been debated here and different people have different opinions, but how tacky is the request? I guess I can live with a little tacky but horrendously tacky, I'm not sure about....lol.

Finally, are there any other sources for signs besides vistaprint that I should look at?

Thank you for any guidance you can give.

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I got my sign from buildasign.com.

We left a basket of booties by the front door, and assume people either removed their shoes or put the booties on. Not tacky at all in our area. Those who are offended at the thought of being barefoot or stocking-foot in someone else's house surely can't gripe with booties.

For getting pricing advice, I'd get an appraiser to do it for you for a couple hundred dollars, instead of using a realtor's services with no intention of buying. You need to be educated enough, however, to understand the comps they use and their formula for adjusting them. A good appraiser will answer your questions and take your input on the suitability of comps.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:02PM
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I wouldn't do the shoe thing. The people that will take their shoes off are the people that would make sure not to track wet grass through someone else's house anyway.

ETA- But booties are completely acceptable to have out.

This post was edited by cocontom on Tue, Jul 8, 14 at 13:44

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 1:43PM
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I have read on this board that it is important to get evaluations of the value of your property with reference to comparable properties from at least 3 Realtors. One might give you a strange number, but it is unlikely that all 3 would lowball you. Even if you tell them that you intend to go the FSBO route, Realtors know that many people who start out FSBO (which can be extremely demanding of time and energy) eventually turn the process over to a professional, so each of them will probably help you with at least the appearance of good will, hoping that you will remember that good attitude when you tire of the stresses of FSBO.

We are a no-outdoor-shoes-indoors household (our floors look great 11 years after the last refinish), but we never ask visitors to remove shoes and will not be expecting potential buyers to do so either.

This post was edited by probookie on Tue, Jul 8, 14 at 14:28

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 2:06PM
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Thank you all for your replies. I love the idea of the booties! I will definitely get some of those.

I am in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and have also heard we should get three CMA's. I initially thought it should be an appraiser but everyone I know who has used one said they run around $300 and really lowball the value of the home. I'd rather not spend $300 for that.

I am in a development where there were only five models sold. Recent activity shows my model under contingency for $480K but they upgraded the cabs and counters in the 2.5 baths and kitchen, which I did not do. They also have a finished basement versus partially finished basement. So I'm not sure what to do because I don't want to overprice but also don't want to underprice it.

I found a sign I really like on vistaprint but I'm on a windy corner and they told me not use their frame. I can't find a sturdy frame matching the size of their sign. Has anyone else bought the large sign from them and swapped out the frame?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 4:40PM
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Did those of you who went the FSBO route ask people who were not coming in through an agent if they had pre-approval letters? I've read some things stating you should ask that question before setting up an appointment with anyone. What are your thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:25PM
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Yes, I would ask for a preapproval letter or you will get a lot of people just looking around.

Are they still building in your neighborhood?

Wait until the house in your neighborhood closes to consider it a real comp. Without knowing the size of your house, my best guess would be to decrease the price at least $25,000-30,000 for the basement differences.

The Chicago Tribune has a great list of sold houses that allows you to narrow the search down by zip codes. It also has a map feature that lets you search that way. Find all of the properties that have sold in you neighborhood in the last 6 months. You should be able to look up the property information in a county website. (Each county is different, but look for the tax records or assessor's office).

BTW--call some local sign companies. They can make what you want pretty fast.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 4:23PM
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Look up sold houses on www.redfin.com as well as what's available. It gives you pretty much all the details.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:04PM
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Thank you, rrah. I'm bracing myself because I think people may be bold enough to be argumentative about needing a pre-approval letter. I hope I'm wrong. Do you take the call and then when they ask to for a showing, ask them if they have a pre-approval letter at that point? If they say no, do you then tell them you're sorry, but you're not showing the house to anyone who doesn't have pre-approval? You can tell I'm nervous about this point.

No new construction in my development. I've replaced some of the first floor with very nice cherry hardwood floors, replaced kitchen tile and carpeting in the family room within the past six years, and just replaced stairway and second floor carpeting last week. I was also thinking I needed to knock off about $30K since the bathrooms and kitchen aren't updated and basement only semi-finished. I have one of the largest lots, though, so I'm not sure if that plays in. A large corner lot.

I've been researching as much as I can. Two of my model went for $400K last month but when I checked the history I saw they had initially listed in December and January for a lot more money and must have had to get out in a hurry. I remember seeing the initial listing of one of them and it was completely empty. So it's these little factors I'm uncertain about.

Thanks for the heads up on the Tribune site - I hadn't thought to look there. I've been relying on those other unreliable sites which aren't always updated.

Will look for a local place for the sign - thanks for the tip there, as well.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:08PM
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Thanks, nosoccermom. That's one of the sites I've been checking, too. It doesn't seem like any one site is great, so it takes some digging to try and get all of the information, I'm finding.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:12PM
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Ah, the old "No Shoes Allowed" Debate. Many people prefer to tend not to take their shoes off in a stranger's home. They may have embarrassing foot odor, sensitive feet--they may even be worried they have holes in their socks etc. Booties pretty much solve that issue.

I would worry far more about clutter. Too many people seem overly proud of their decor (as well as personal taste in color) and think that is what will sell their home and, in reality, it becomes a distraction from the features home buyers want to see. Even so, some will point out how their buyers loved the decor, but let's face it, when people fall in love, they often use flattery to win you over. The best thing to do is make sure the decor is pared down and consistent.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:17PM
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Mmmbeeer, thanks for your reply. Good point about people being apprehensive about taking shoes off. I am going the bootie route, for sure.

And thanks for the reminder about clutter. I thought I had done a good job in this regard, but decided to walk through again based on your post and see I can do more. It's like a never ending process. At some point I think I'll just have to stop.

Thanks for the help - it's much appreciated!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 11:49AM
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"Mmmbeeer, thanks for your reply. Good point about people being apprehensive about taking shoes off. I am going the bootie route, for sure.
And thanks for the reminder about clutter. I thought I had done a good job in this regard, but decided to walk through again based on your post and see I can do more. It's like a never ending process. At some point I think I'll just have to stop.

Thanks for the help - it's much appreciated!"

This is one of the few ways in life that people have a chance to save themselves thousands of dollars, which can be a huge leg up in life. But, it really doesn't work 99% of the time if you're not willing to put effort in. I advocate FSBO but tend to remind people that a good Realtor really works hard to get that sale--it's not about just throwing a sign in a yard and putting up a haphazard listing online. Good luck to you!!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 10:41PM
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This is just my opinion, but personally, I would suffer through a few looky-lous rather than ask for a pre-approved letter. I also like the idea of weekend-only all-day open houses.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:28AM
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What does that get you?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:14PM
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Thanks, Graywings. I've actually got my little blurb down pat about needing a pre-approval letter and feel more comfortable asking for one. Is there another reason you might put up with the looky lous? I'm willing to listen to all opinions since I'm brand new to this.

I'm really up in the air about having open houses at all, because based on what I'm reading it's rare that they result in a sale that wouldn't have happened anyway. Still thinking that one through though.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:21PM
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Okay, from what I've seen, read, and observed this is why people claim Open Houses don't work. In a "normal" Open House, a Realtor is there for two hours. And, in many cases, we've noticed, the more astute ones probe you for what you're looking for because this is an opportunity to send you to another one of their listings if this particular one isn't right. And that's just good salemanship. However, two hours on a weekend is not enough to get maximum exposure.

That's why I recommend you consider your price as a FSBO, very carefully-- be sure that buyers know that they also "get a piece of the deal", which, if they've done their homework, they will know it immediately when they see your online listing. The idea is to host the Open House from 10:00 am - 6:00pm, Saturday and Sunday at a price you feel people will jump on. We sold three homes this way, all in less than 10 days. We had multiple bids on all three homes, which drove the price up. Because we priced well, when we held our Open Houses, potential buyers saw many other potential buyers interested in our home, which enhanced our home's perceived desirability. We had to schedule almost no private showings because our buyers came back multiple times within the weekend. Every buyer we had originated at our Open House. Pricing is key and it's not a strategy that would necessarily work well in a rural area where you may need more time to sell. The key is to price well to get attention, have your home accessible for a solid weekend (and a few times we let people in early or stay late for the Open House), take advantage of the first impression that a well maintained, clean, decluttered, desirable home makes on the market. You need to be priced better and look better than your comps. If you marketed well, the price break you give for not paying a Realtor will be bumped up by buyers competing with other buyers. That's what our experience has been.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 12:34AM
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It depend son your market. I probably wouldn't ask for a pre-approval letter; however, I would ask about their time frame and financing. Plenty of people are paying cash these days (even in the high bracket market).

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 12:28PM
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If they say they are paying cash, then they should be able to provide a Proof of Funds Letter. Doesn't matter if they drive up in a convertible Porsche. I have run into "buyers" that have driven up in a convertible Porsche, only to find out they were broke!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:38PM
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Mmmbeeer, thank you for the other side of the coin because it certainly changed my perspective about having open houses!

Nosoccermom, I understand. Mayble I'll play that by ear and see if I get a lot of looky lou's. NCrealestateguy makes a great point about paying cash.

Which leads to my next two questions. Say the three realtors value my house within a range of $430 - $440. How much lower would you go to account for selling by owner? And if someone offers cash, how much lower beyond that would you go?

And thanks to all the help everyone in this thread has provided - I really appreciate it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 11:39AM
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