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FSBOs Examined – Part 1; The Easy Part

August 3, 2008

I would have to think at this point everyone knows what a F.S.B.O (For Sale By Owner) is. In many respects there are few hidden secrets to Real Estate. Does this mean it’s easy to sell Real Estate? I don’t think so. In this part, I will address head on some of the issues that are involved with FSBO properties and what people that want to sell their properties themselves have to be aware of.

I recently visited a popular FSBO website and thought I’d go through some of their ‘information’. Their allure, like most is to save the home owner money. Let’s face it, it’s the number one reason people try to sell their homes themselves. The math is the easy part, what they don’t address anywhere is everything else that is involved in selling your home. If they did that they would drive away most of their potential customers.

The bottom line is that they are not providing their service out of the goodness of their hearts. They are motivated by what….? $$Money$$ The one major thing that every Real Estate transaction revolves around.

Do they tell you that the majority of people that try the FSBO approach end up listing their home with a Real Estate Broker? NO. I’ll address why later on…

Do they tell you that most people think that they can get a deal when they see FSBO properties? NO. If a Seller is trying to sell their home themselves to save money then it stands to reason that a Buyer looking at a FSBO property would think they can save lots of money too.

Do they tell you how to deal with ‘time wasters’ or how to pre-qualify people that call on their home? NO. They may offer consultations and provide you with a book or information that is intended to help you, but the reality is that as a Real Estate Broker, I have dealt with so many different situations and I really don’t believe that all of this should be summed up in a booklet.

What do they provide you with? Well, that depends. On what, you ask? Money of course. No surprise there – what you get depends on how much you spend.

For the bare minimum – starting around $350 you get a web listing with a maximum of 3 photos of your home, some feature sheets, a lawn sign, some open house signs, some information on what paperwork is required to complete a transaction and a ‘professional’ consultation. Didn’t you know that’s all it takes to sell a home? PLEASE!

What does their top of the line package “starting at $1499” get you? Everything I mentioned above plus a virtual tour, unlimited photos for your property, directional signs, an audio tour for the property, and a consultation with a Real Estate professional. All sounds pretty good right? Maybe, but to be honest this is the easy part.

It’s easy to get professional marketing materials, virtual tours are pretty much a standard in today’s Real Estate marketplace (or should be), open houses are still misunderstood and their importance in selling your home is way overstated (Open Houses need an article of their own…another time, ok?) and a lot of the other things they offer while meaningful are do not address the meat and potatoes of the issue. Experience.

Experience can be a difficult thing to valuate. There’s no doubt that there an unprofessional people working in the Real Estate industry. Like every field you have those that take short cuts and don’t hold the industry’s standards in high regard. It is very frustrating for those of us that spends hours and hours educating ourselves in the legal changes in our Real Estate market, new legal concerns, how to protect our clients and their homes. Not to mention analyzing current market stats, changes in the lending industry that affect the market and learning from every client or customer that we interact with every day. In my opinion you can’t put an accurate value on this information.

Many people in and out of the industry said that the internet would be the beginning of the end for Real Estate Brokers. The reality is, it has opened up new doors that I for one have embraced. Information is the key to our business. Is the average homeowner prepared to spend the kind of time necessary to gain this experience? NO, it’s not realistic.

The truth still remains, most people buy and sell their home with the expertise and help of a professional Real Estate agent/broker/sales person.

The reality is that there is no mystery to Real Estate. When a Buyer finds a property that they want to buy, the Seller either accepts or rejects their offer. A willing Buyer and a willing Seller make for a Real Estate transaction – simple right? I hope even a skeptic would agree at this point that it is not simple.

I would never tell a homeowner that they should not try to sell their home themselves, but I would definitely point out some of the major concerns. Unfortunately, in this day and age, there are those people that will take advantage of situations. There have been instances of thefts and worse by people posing as ‘buyers’ – today it is more important than ever to know who you are opening your home to. As a professional Real Estate Broker, I know how important it is to pre-qualify everyone who calls or emails to view a property. Time is money right?

Many FSBO marketing companies say who knows your home better than you right? Sure, there is truth to that – but do you know what issues can end up costing you thousands after the fact? Like that leak in your basement last spring? Things like this can and have cost homeowners thousands and thousands of dollars in legal fees and damages. Is the company that sells you your lawn signs and brochures going to make you aware of issues like this? I for one, doubt it.

I’m not here to sell you on my services or justify the commissions earned, but I will tell you that I am here to protect every one of my client’s interests and I will tell you things you won’t like to hear at times, but only in the interest of providing honest, ethical and professional service. I don’t take my responsibilities lightly and neither should you.

Do you have questions about FSBOs? Want to share your experiences? Are you frustrated with trying to sell your home yourself? Live in the Oakville or Mississauga areas? Call or email me for a confidential market valuation or just discuss your Real Estate needs. For information on Oakville and Mississauga Real Estate visit my website.

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