When considering selling your home, lots of questions may come to mind like how to market it, how long it will take, how much to ask or what you may need to disclose. The transaction today is complicated at best and contentious at its worst! Even the best real estate practitioners struggle to keep up with mortgage pitfalls, new marketing tools and legal requirements! I cringe when I hear the words “FISBO”. In case you don’t know, this means “for sale by owner”. Many sellers start the home selling process this way……..and regret it!
There are lots of places to advertise your home including print ads, web sites, Facebook, huge yard signs, etc. But are you hitting everyone out there? Most certainly not! A huge percentage of buyers are searching with the help of a REALTOR®, who will make sure they are pre-qualified to buy a home. REALTORS® don’t normally haunt the FISBO sites and/or haven’t driven past your home to notice the yard sign. Most likely, the buyer hasn’t either. After approximately two weeks, everyone who WILL drive past your home already HAS. Many buyers purchase homes in different neighborhoods or communities than the one they currently live in. Their REALTOR® will give them access to all homes listed anywhere in the county or beyond.
The FISBO owner will most likely tell you that they had a TON of prospects for their property. Open houses are swamped with visitors and the phone is perhaps ringing off the hook. But when asked, they’ll admit a large percentage of those prospects are unrepresented by an agent and are seeking a lease purchase, land contract or rent to own. Why? Because those prospects may not be credit worthy at this time. What are they doing to get there? Don’t let a three year land contract end up being a ten year battle to get them to finance so you can move on!
And as a FISBO seller, are you aware of the legal requirements associated with selling your home? There are disclosures to present, title companies to contact, inspection results that have to either be addressed or disclosed later and steps that must be taken in each phase of the transaction.
A buyer represented by a REALTOR® can certainly buy your FISBO home. Generally, the buyer will ask you to pay their REALTOR®’s fee, which will most likely be at a reduced cost then if you list your property with a REALTOR®. When you list, the commission is split in some fashion between the seller’s company and the buyer’s company. Each has a set of tasks they perform to get your home to the closing table. In a FISBO situation where a represented buyer is purchasing your home, that agent will perform their own tasks and will not perform yours! You may have to seek outside counsel to draft or review a purchase agreement, getting advice on how to fulfill lender requirements, what to do in case repairs are discovered, what your legal liabilities are in the transaction, etc.
And, unfortunately, let’s not forget the safety factor. When a REALTOR® brings a potential buyer to your home, they have “screened” that buyer as being qualified to purchase and has either known them or at least established a rapport with them. Can you say the same about the unknown caller who wants to see your home?
We readily seek financial, legal or professional help for other things in our lives. Your home may be the largest asset you have, and a real estate sale the largest transaction you’ll ever be involved in. Doesn’t this also deserve professional assistance?
And remember……..ALL real estate is local! Make sure your REALTOR® is a member of the Stark County Association of REALTORS®!
As appearing in the Canton Repository 10-21-16