First, let me share with you that the last personal home I sold before I became a Realtor, I tried to sell FSBO. I failed and I hired a Keller Williams agent who then sold it in days. True story. I say that just to let you know that “I get it.” Sales commission on the sale of a home is a LOT of money when looked at as just a dollar amount versus a percentage of a transaction. Maybe FSBO is truly the best way for you to go. But, a lot of times it’s not. Here are some things to consider.
There’s a commission in pretty much EVERYTHING you buy. Same with houses.
The comparable sales you may be looking at, pretty much every one of those had a professional real estate sales person doing their best to ensure that the home got the best marketing, the best negotiating and sold for top dollar under the most favorable terms possible. Now YOU want to sell your house for a price that’s the same or more than the houses you used to price yours but it’s simply not going to get the top level service that caused the other house to sell for the price for which it sold.
When you buy a car, some of the purchase price pays for those fancy ads showing cars driving swerving back and forth next to the ocean. Another portion of the purchase price goes to the salesperson as their commission.
When you go to Kelly Blue Book to look up the value of your car, it gives you three values, right? The value as a trade-in; the lowest. The value if selling to a private owner; the middle price. And the value of the vehicle if being sold by a dealership that invests in marketing, car preparation, has financing people on site, pays for support staff and pays for the physical location; the highest. As a FSBO, you’re trying to sell your house for “the highest” with the experience of a private owner.
When you buy insurance, there’s a professional insurance agent who helps ensure you get the best coverage at the best price and they get a commission for that.
Heck, even when you buy a loaf of break, the seller of that loaf of bread paid for advertising to promote their bread. They paid the grocery store for shelf space to ensure every possible buyer will see it their bread in the most favorable light. And there’s typically a couple of sales people who are in charge of making sure the bread gets delivered on time and of good quality and they get paid a tiny, tiny commission every time you grab a loaf of their bread. Or you can buy the grocery-branded bread that likely isn’t as good of quality but it cheaper because they don’t pay for any marketing.
There is sales commission built into everything, including houses. I 100% understand that the dollar amount is a big one. It SHOULD be a big one. Selling a $400,000 car is a tough process. Selling a $400,000 house is, too. It’s OK to put the sale of the biggest asset you will ever sell in your entire life into the hands of a professional who will help ensure that your home sells for the highest price the market will bear and in the time frame in which you need it to sell.
So, consider using a seasoned, professional, knowledgeable realtor who returns calls and emails in a timely manner and who will work tirelessly to get you the most favorable deal possible.
Selling a home is a long, complicated, drawn out process. It involves multiples contracts, their associated exhibits and contract amendments written by a gaggle of attorneys over the last 100+ years, and buyers’ and sellers’ emotions are running high during this stressful process.
Even with both a buyer and seller being represented by awesome, full-time, highly-producing, well-respected and professional agents with thousands of transactions of experience between them, transactions can STILL be difficult to get all the way to the closing table. Even with all of that experience, we’re still often going to our broker or attorney to clarify various issues. A FSBO typically has sold between 0 and 3 homes in their entire lives. Is that you? If so, please make 100% certain you’ve got all issues covered or are at least prepared financially and emotionally to carry on if something goes wrong.
Alternatively, to have one side represented by a full time Realtor who works with attorneys and contractors and has tremendous experience mastering marketing and negotiations, trying to work with another side who’s sold 0 to 3 homes in their lifetime, can be really difficult to get through. Remember, your buyer’s agent is contractually obligated to get their client the best deal they can possibly get for them. Would you agree that it is likely in your best interest to have an agent contractually obligated to get YOU the best terms possible that has a ton of experience doing that?
If your home is not being exposed to every possible buyer who might have an interest in your home, then you’re likely going to leave money on the table. When you go FSBO, or with a discount broker, you typically do not get the exposure of your home that it needs to get to ensure that you find the one buyer on planet Earth willing to pay more for your home than anyone else. Full-service real estate companies, like mine, are in business for a reason. Through marketing, personal contacts and negotiating skills that we’ve honed over thousands of transactions, we MAXIMIZE the check you get at closing.
“88% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker—a share that has steadily increased ” Source: https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/quick-real-estate-statistics
88% of real estate transactions involve a realtor on the buy side. The buy side commission, the commission that goes to the buyers’ agents, averages around 3%. Think about this, if you were a serious and financially pre-qualified buyer looking for a house, wouldn’t you want an agent on your side who will drive you around, pull comparable sales for you, provide you legal protections, point out overlooked positives and negatives, and probably even buy you lunch at some point? Of course you would or at least you should. So, there’s 3%. It’s gone.
“89% of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home.” Source: https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/quick-real-estate-statistics
So now we’re really only talking about 3% at this point. Still a lot of money when looked at as a sum instead of a percentage of the total, but, regardless, we’re only talking about 3%.
89% of transactions involve a real estate agent on both sides of the transaction. An average real estate commission is somewhere in the vicinity of 6%. So, the historical probability of you being able to sell your home by owner is 11%. BUT WAIT, that doesn’t mean you save money. It just means you sold your house without having the representation of a real estate professional. The odds are 88% that you will be up against a buyer’s agent who is contractually obligated to get their client the best deal he or she can. So you’ll have an experienced agent with potentially hundreds of transactions under his/her belt and the support of an entire back office negotiating with just you. Realistically, who do you think will come out the winner in that situation?
Another thing I commonly see is that your buyer is thinking the same thing you’re thinking. “FSBO!?!?! Lets save money!!! Seller isn’t paying a commission on the sell side. Let’s ask them to split that with us.” You can say no but should you? This might be the first offer you’ve received after a month or six on the market. Will you feel the pressure to finally stop having to keep the house in impeccable condition and dealing with short-notice showings? You probably will. And that will not only cost you but also your neighbors because now your discounted sale will become a comparable sale for everyone else in the neighborhood. And now you’ve entered into a contract with a buyer who has a seasoned agent on their side to guide them through the inspection period, the financing contingency period, the appraisal contingency and everything else that goes into getting a transaction to the closing table. This is yet another opportunity for the experienced agent to save his client money at YOUR expense.
And these are just the financial aspects. Again, a Purchase & Sale Agreement is 8 pages of legalese written by a gaggle of attorneys and refined over 100+ years. In 8 pages of anything written by attorneys there are endless opportunities for disputes and it’s incredibly important that you know your way around that contract or you could end up in serious trouble. I’m not trying to scare you into using a real estate agent. I’m giving you real-world facts.
Here’s an entertaining little nugget of information. The founder of ForSaleByOwner.com used a realtor to sell his house. Don’t believe me? Here ya go. http://business.time.com/2011/08/17/fsbo-com-founder-sells-condo-using-real-estate-agent/
If you’re still bound and determined to go FSBO, let me give you some advice so you can handle the barrage of calls you’re going to get. 5% of the calls will be from real estate investors who just went to the latest real estate investment course at the downtown Sheraton, where they were told that “Flippy and Floppy” or Armando Montelongwayintoyourwallet-o were going to be, but it was actually some super-aggressive salespeople trying to get them to pay $25,000 for even more training. They listened to the “guru” tell them to call 100 FSBO’s per day until they find one willing to sell at a discount. Those will be 5% of your calls. “I know you’re asking $350k but for a cash offer, would you take 290?”
90% of your calls will be from Realtors and they’re going to give you some version of the line, “I may have a buyer but I won’t know until I come see your house.” And then they’ll come and either pitch you their services right there without you even asking, or they’ll tell you they’ll get back to you and then pitch their services to you over the phone later. It will be a complete waste of your time and it will be very frustrating for you.
If you’re a “red and white sign” FSBO, you’ll also get calls from discount real estate brokers. Clickit, Duffy, some others. They will pitch you an upfront fee of typically around $500 plus add-ons. They’ll list the house on the listing services and you handle the rest and “it will save you SOOOO much money!!!” They’ll tell you that tons of people have sold using their service and they will 100% absolutely be telling the truth. What they won’t tell you is that a ton of people also ended up selling at a discount because they didn’t have the support of a great agent on their side or they didn’t sell their home at all. Then, later, they hired a full service agent AFTER having paid the fees to the discount broker. In my opinion, flat fee brokers have their place in this market but it’s probably not the best fit for you. It’s basically like being FSBO but spending more money for it. Remember, if I don’t sell your house, I don’t get paid a dime. If the Nick and Nancy McNoService Team doesn’t sell your house, it doesn’t matter and they don’t care. They already made their money.
With all of that being said, if you’ve had some sort of traumatic experience in your past and you just hate all Realtors, then no worries. But if your goal is to have MORE MONEY and significantly LESS GREY HAIR at the closing table, consider hiring an aggressive Realtor, like myself. 🙂
When would it be OK to sell FSBO?
In my opinion, there’s only one situation when you should sell FSBO. And that is when it doesn’t matter when you sell and you have tons of time to deal with showings, phone calls, negotiations, inspections, etc. If it doesn’t matter to you if you sell in 1 day or 1001 days, then FSBO is absolutely the way to go. You can take your time. You can reject any offer that isn’t exactly what you want in terms of money or timing. You have no pressure to be anywhere. It doesn’t matter to you if the buyer’s financing falls through the day before closing. You never know. You COULD save a ton of money by using that strategy. I openly admit that I hear stories from sellers from time to time who LOVE to regale me with long tales of how much money they saved once selling FSBO. It DOES happen. You can also go to Vegas and become a millionaire overnight. It DOES happen. But not often, and FAR more often than not, you’ll end up losing money. That is a statistical fact provided by the National Association of Realtors based on independent studies.
Something else to consider. Are you buying AND selling? Then talk to a GREAT Realtor and see what you can work out. We’re not evil money-grubbing jerk-faces.** We’re generally reasonable people who work hard to care for our families. Having two transactions with one client saves a Realtor time and money. See if you can work out some sort of discount that will make sense for both your Realtor and you, if you’re using them for both your buy side and your sell side.
So, there’s my pitch. 🙂 Under normal circumstances, I am 100% confident that you would net more money using Steve Ujvagi and The Results Team than you could any other way, with or without an agent. Over thousands of transactions, we have refined and perfected the systems and processes that result in homes selling for the highest price possible in the amount of time needed for the seller.
Regardless of which way you go, I truly wish you the best with the sale of your home. From the bottom of my heart, I hope you sell your home for more money than you wanted in less time that you wanted. BUT!!!!!, there’s always a but, right? BUT, if you decide to consider hiring an agent, please invite me over to meet with you in person. If what I say makes sense, and you’re comfortable and confident that I can get the job done, let me get to work for you. If not, I will shake your hand, wish you the best and walk to my car.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you found it useful. It may not be what you wanted to hear but it’s the truth. If you would like to speak with me directly, reach out any time.
Below I’ll post some issues that arise so future readers can see the many unusual scenarios that can affect a transaction.
YOU are in your car driving to closing. You are selling your home and then buying your new home that same day with the proceeds of the house you’re selling. Your buyer is selling their house that same day and using the proceeds from the sale of their house to buy your house. For whatever reason, your buyer’s buyer doesn’t show up for closing so your buyer can’t close on your home. So you can’t close on the home you were supposed to buy. You have 10k in earnest money on the line for the house you were supposed to buy today. The seller of the home you were supposed to close on wants that earnest money. Now what?
Buyer’s have a survey report, not an exact survey, which shows the seller has two fence posts on the neighbors property. It’s not on the neighbor’s property by much and we don’t know 100% because the report states it is not accurate and is +/-5ft. Neighbor is fine if posts are on her side and has given permission. Fence has been there 11 years. We are 2.5 weeks to close and buyers want to be released and want earnest money returned. Sellers have incurred expenses for requested repairs from buyers inspection response and have stated they would get a letter from neighbor or move the post in, but buyers didn’t even ask for a remedy. Buyer’s agent has sent mutual release and requesting earnest money be returned to buyer. Sellers are disputing the return of earnest money and sellers have been advised to speak with an attorney regarding earnest money. Contract states the buyer shall be “Reasonably Satisfied” with the Survey. What does this mean? Sellers are asking the buyers to get an “Exact Survey with Corner Markers” to actually show this in order to consider returning earnest money. Now what?
Buyer and seller agree to allow seller to remain in home for 14 days after closing date. On the 14th day, seller is still there and is refusing to move out. Now what?
Buyer and seller agree on price of 320k and seller to pay 5k toward buyer’s closing costs for net proceeds to seller of 315k less commissions. Seller has packed up and has boxes strewn throughout the house. It’s 10 days before closing and the appraisal comes in at 315k so the mortgage company will only do the mortgage if the seller agrees to take 5k less or the buyer agrees to bring the extra 5k to closing. The buyer doesn’t have an extra 5k and the seller needs that 5k to close on the house they’re buying. Now what?
Buyer using VA loan to purchase. Contract states seller will pay $5k in closing costs. Lender says only $3,500 can be used due to VA restrictions. Buyer wants the full benefits of the 5k concession from the seller. The seller disagrees stating they agreed to 5k in closing costs; not 5k in ANY costs. Now what?
Buyer and seller agree that seller will include a hot tub and pool table in the sale of the property and they put it in the contract. The mortgage company says they only loan on real estate; not pool tables and hot tubs, so the buyer has to pay that out of their pocket at closing thereby requiring the buyer to bring an extra 5k to closing. They don’t have an extra 5k. Now what?
Buyer and seller agree that title and keys to property will be exchanged at the closing table. Buyer does a final walk through of the property 2 hours before closing. The seller is working hard but it’s readily apparent that the seller will not be out by closing thus causing the buyer to not be able to move in on time which will cause extra expense to the buyer for the moving company’s extra time sitting around waiting for the sellers to get out. Now what?
Did you know that each loan exhibit provides different responsibility to a buyer if an appraisal comes in below contract price?
The GAR(Georgia Association of Realtors) exhibit for a conventional loan states if the the appraisal comes in lower than the contract price, the buyer has an affirmative duty to request a reduction in price from the seller (within a time set by parties of the contract.) If the buyer does not request the reduction in price, then the Buyer shall be deemed to have waived the right and the contract will no longer be contingent on the appraisal.
The GAR exhibit for an FHA loan is quite different. If the subject property does not appraise for the contract price, the Buyer is not required to to buy the property, nor is he/she required to request a reduction in price. If the property doesn’t appraise, the Buyer can terminate without even giving the Seller an opportunity to reduce the price.
Know your contracts!
** Some of us are. 🙁 Sorry about that. But the Results Team members aren’t. 🙂
Here’s a li’l humor. 🙂