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Should I go FSBO?

Posted by jockewing (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 18, 11 at 10:25

My grandmother passed last year and left me her house. I just had a very successful estate sale this past weekend and we were able to clear the house completely--even sold the drapes off the wall!

The house is about 30 years old, 3 bed-2 bath in a nice safe neighborhood in a great shopping and school district area. The street is quiet and clean. It is about 1750 sq feet with nice curb appeal. Her house is in excellent shape--new carpeting, brand new A/C. My grandparents were the only ones to ever live in the house and they kept the place immaculate and well maintained. All I really have to do is touch up paint. I have already ripped down a couple of rooms with wallpaper.

Unfortunately with the way the market is, the few real estate agents I've been talking with are telling me these really low prices. The home is paid for and I don't need the money right away. I would like to sell quickly, but I'm not going to give it away either. My thinking is that I didn't have to pay commission, I could offer it at a lower price and still make more money. A couple of months ago, the lady across the street just stuck a sign in her front yard and got 19 calls the first day, and sold within 2 months without paying an agent--right at the initial asking price--and my house has far greater curb appeal and is much cleaner and nicer on the inside.

I made up a nice flyer that I passed out at the estate sale and already had 2 or 3 people that are interested. I figure I will finish with the few things I wanna to fix up and clean in the house and then stick out a sign. What could it hurt to see if I get lucky? If nothing happens in a couple of months, I could always go the realtor route.

Any thoughts?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Should I go FSBO?

If the lady across the street can do it, so can you. Do I remember that you're in the Dallas area - or is it just your name that makes me think that? The market is still pretty good here. I'd give it a shot. Good luck.


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RE: Should I go FSBO?

No, I am in the New Orleans suburbs, but I can see how you might think Dallas from the user name!


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RE: Should I go FSBO?

"Unfortunately with the way the market is, the few real estate agents I've been talking with are telling me these really low prices."

If every agent you talk to gives a price lower than you are thinking about, then you are thinking too high. They know the market better than you.

Yes, you can sell a home FSBO. Realize though that the vast majority of people use agents when they look for a home, so you are probably going to end up paying 2-3% to that agent anyway. Also, beware that many people looking at FSBO expect to get an even bigger discount because they know you aren't paying an agent. It doesn't necessarily make sense, but it is a perception.


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RE: Should I go FSBO?

I agree with Bill here...


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RE: Should I go FSBO?

You also need to be around whenever people want to see the house and fill out all the paperwork and pay a real estate attorney come time for offer and closing. And if you price too high from the outset, you could be doing this for months. How much is your time worth? If the house is as inexpensive as the agents are saying, how much of that 3% will you get to retain?

BTW, I'm not an agent or even related to one; just someone whose spare time is hard to come by and who doesn't have the skills to sell his own place for top dollar.


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RE: Should I go FSBO?

Steve_o makes a good point.

"You also need to be around whenever people want to see the house and fill out all the paperwork and pay a real estate attorney come time for offer and closing. And if you price too high from the outset, you could be doing this for months. How much is your time worth?"

You say your house has far greater curb appeal and is much cleaner and nicer on the inside than the neighbor who sold in two months.

I'm a buyer and am trying to avoid foreclosures. I'd be interested in a FSBO. Especially a well maintained house that has had one owner and is paid for.

Perhaps you could use one of those FSBO sites that will put it on the MLS for you and see how much attention it gets before you go with a realtor.
If you get a cash buyer, all you'd need is a real estate attorney to do the paperwork and closing.


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RE: Should I go FSBO?

What did the comps say as to the price? I sold mine myself after interviewing realtors and trying to find one to list with. I had a price in mind and knew it would get that price, but all the realtors came in ~40-50K less than that and after looking at the comps they had and going over it with them most came back with a number close to what I thought, only one who lived in my neighborhood had the number close to that. I ended up getting 15K more than the asking price and I paid a buyer's agent.

I didn't mind paying a buyer's agent, I had planned on paying full commission to agents anyways, but sold through word of mouth before actually even selecting the agent and listing.

This was when the rest of the market had tanked everywhere and the market was just starting to slow down in my area.


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RE: Should I go FSBO?

The comps are in a large range -- as low as 127,000 (which sold in 19 days) and as high as 175,000. Most are in the 145,000 to 150,000 range.

From the flyer I passed out at the estate sale, I already have a man who already lives in the neighborhood that has called me several times. He is interested in buying my house to move into and then using his current home as a rental. He said he needs to finish his taxes and assess his financial situation before he decides what to do.

My thinking is what would it hurt to stick a sign out there and see what happens first? If I don't get any interest in a few weeks, then just find an agent.


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RE: Should I go FSBO?

What could it hurt? I'm sure some people could come up with a bunch of scenarios for you, but I say go for it!


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RE: Should I go FSBO?

I'm just visiting this site on GW today, but had to comment on this post. I would also suggest doing an internet presentation of the house - details and pics - that could be sent via email. I'd send it to all my friends and colleagues and ask that they pass on the information to anyone they know who might be looking for a home in the area. I sold a house I inherited by doing that, to a friend I didn't even know was house hunting. One showing, one inspection, no commission! Sold! Good luck.


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RE: Should I go FSBO?

"The comps are in a large range -- as low as 127,000 (which sold in 19 days) and as high as 175,000."

Those do not all sound like comps.

Has the place been updated?

Or is the kitchen 20-30-40 years old?

FSBO sellers almost always seem to have a higher opinion of the value.

I have purchased many 'old lady' houses (a good number from heirs and estates).
Many of the 'new' owners have looked at recent nearby sales and expected used that as a price.

They failed to account for all the updates and improvements that have been done that are missing from 'mom's house.'


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RE: Should I go FSBO?

I think you should get an appraisal. Sounds like you could be way off on price. Do you really have a good feel of the real market value? An appraisal usually is below $400. Well worth it versus selling quickly for $20k under market or for pricing too high and having it sit on the market too long.

FYI - FSBO is more than just sticking a sign in the yard. I sold FSBO before, more than once. I always went to a sign shop and got a custom sign made (under $100). I never said By Owner on the sign. Just For Sale, your tel#, several key factors about that home, such as # bed/# bath and other key features that can fit and make sense.
(basement, waterfront, golf course, 2 acres, etc)

Also make flyers with price in bold, and nice photo(s) and bullet points on flyer.

Also create a web site with many photos that entice buyer to see more. (don't need every room, just the good photos). Also place the web site address on the flyer and note that more photos avail at www...

For my pricing, I had list price of 100k(for example). But would then give 3% discount to listing agent or give that 3% off the home price to buyers with no agent. Buyers liked this discount.

Answer the calls/emails as fast as possible. If mssgs are left, return calls asap. Always stay professional. Keep flyer box at the sign and don't let it ever go empty. You don't have to put 4-5 flyers at a time. Go ahead, put a stack of 20...and if they go fast put 30 more.

If price is good, buy a custom sign rider with the price and display on the sign.

Make sure you price it correctly.


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