Questions To Ask A Realtor As A First-Time Home Buyer Real Estate 101 – Listing Agent vs FSBO

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Real Estate 101 – Listing Agent vs FSBO

The number of property owners selling their real estate independently of a realtor has seen a sharp decline in recent years. In fact, it has dropped six percentage points over the past decade, according to the latest figures from the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors. At the start of 2007, only 12 percent of all real estate transactions were for sale by owner, or FSBO.

A factor influencing the statistics may be the failures of the owner in a fluctuating housing market. Owners have other things working against them, too. They cannot register the property in MLS listings, one of the most popular search tools for property buyers. It requires a real estate agent to include the property in that listing. Realtors may also have more connections and more techniques, experience and training that can get higher offers.

Property owners, on the other hand, know more about factors such as the specific strengths and weaknesses of the home, the neighbors and the schools. They may, however, refrain from pricing their home too high and may agree to come down quickly. From mid-2005 to mid-2006, five percent of real estate transactions were closed by realtors replacing a failed FSBO. Only one percent of transactions during the same time frame were sellers that started with realtor representation and then switched to FSBO, according to NAR.

FSBO transactions — especially when handled by first-time sellers — are said to sit longer, sell for less, cause more headaches and add confusion. So why do sellers want to try? The average real estate commission is about six percent and many property owners see FSBOs as a way to pocket more money. In fact, however, NAR statistics show that homes typically go up an average of 16 percent higher when sold by realtors.

For sellers who are absolutely determined to go it alone, there are some important points to keep in mind. There are several Internet web sites available today that are very professional in appearance and offer FSBOs an alternative to the elusive MLS listings. Lots of high-quality photos are essential to any marketing, and Internet marketing is undoubtedly one of the most effective methods. Many of these FSBO listing web sites will now offer additional benefits, such as yard rentals and print advertising.

It’s important to be patient, price your home fairly but also allow a little wiggle room for the inevitable price swings and be extra careful to avoid unqualified buyers. This helps avoid falling deals. To get a deal in the first place, however, sellers must sell their property and not shy away from offering incentives such as a decoration allowance or payment of a buyer’s agent fee. Among the buying community, FSBOs are famously associated with great deals. Make sure you arm yourself with the tools to avoid falling victim to that mindset.

FSBOs also have a reputation for misleading buyers about things like the true condition of the home or the severity of the home’s problems. This is not always intentional. Many homeowners do not really know the extent of the damage and do not intend to mislead. This is where a crackerjack home inspector can come in handy. Not only will a home inspection help justify the price of the home, but it can also put the buyer’s mind at ease and perhaps help close the deal faster.

Another good reference tool is the local market competition analysis. This will help ensure that a FSBO is selling for what it is actually worth. The lender’s desk is the worst possible place to find out that a seller is overcharging for a home, but it happens all the time.

Realtors are more experienced and knowledgeable in all things real estate – from sales techniques to legal matters. However, at the very least, a seller would be wise to bring in a real estate attorney to ensure the legality of the transaction. It is also a good idea to involve a bank, as opposed to the seller alone, in the process of managing the escrow funds.

FSBO transactions can be smooth if the seller has relevant experience. FSBOs can save money if the seller avoids backing down the price too much. If, however, the seller finds themselves stuck indefinitely, it is best to turn to a realtor as soon as possible. The longer the house goes unsold on the market, the worse the seller’s position. This will look bad to potential buyers and they will wonder why the house didn’t sell. In fact, it may just be a matter of ineffective marketing on the part of the seller. Time is money, and a house sold on commission is better than a house never sold.

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