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Considering Doing a “For Sale By Owner”? 

Read This First... 

Here are some considerations for sellers considering going the “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) route. 

Due to limited inventory, we often have conversations with potential sellers about the reasons to go it on their own versus hiring a pro. The bottom line is we make sure the commission our sellers pay us is an investment and gets them an incredible return on that investment. FSBO sellers often want to save money, but may also want to consider the money missed by not having a professional by their side.

Speaking of return on investment, our client Jeff said it best: 

“I am so very thankful that another real estate agent and dearest friend recommended Stephanie Lanier and her team to me. From the very first conversation until the last, Stephanie handled my sale, marketing, and closing with finesse, class, and professionalism. I sold a resort property through her, an oceanfront unit, which was the first of several in the building to go on sale. Because it was somewhat groundbreaking, price discovery was an issue. Stephanie handled this beautifully, and helped me set a market price higher than I had anticipated. Not that it matters, because agents always earn every dollar in commission, but Stephanie more than covered her cost by setting, then selling, my condo for more than I would have gotten had I not had her guidance. The transaction was not a simple one, as my condo was burdened with all manner of rules and regulations by the COA, but Stephanie navigated these waters well, helping me jump over hurdle after hurdle until we closed the deal. She helped me find a buyer very quickly, then seamlessly shepherded my sale to closing, with hiccups all along the way that had to be handled, even down to returning A/V equipment since I live now 1,200 miles away. I can't think of a single thing I would suggest for improvement, and only wish I had another property to sell through Lanier Property Group. Thank you, LPG and Stephanie, for a job very well done.” 

-Jeff Tennant (Seller), December 14, 2020

Here Are A Few More Things to Consider:

1. Showings are safer, more controlled, and better managed through the system REALTORS® use, allowing sellers to have plenty of time to prepare (and leave) for showings. This easy texting system allows sellers to be in the driver’s seat and the listing agent to see every single time the lockbox is accessed. 

2. There are disclosures required by law in North Carolina that REALTORS® and attorneys have access to that you’ll need to fill out. Handling these disclosures can be confusing and there are real legal implications to how these documents are filled out. 

3. Pricing can be especially challenging when you aren’t an objective professional with access to extensive data with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). As a consumer, you can see what properties sell for, but on the MLS, an agent can see what is under contract, when it is expected to close, and if concessions were given on properties that have closed. This data matters when it comes to pricing! 

4. Marketing is probably not your day job, but in real estate, marketing to the broadest audience possible is critical… not just to get a good offer and make sure every possible buyer sees your property, but also to open the door for a multiple-offer situation that culminates in legally binding backup offers too. This is the holy grail for a listing and it takes a great agent with a great strategy to pull this off! 

5. Professional photos, 3D tours (to allow for virtual showings), and staging recommendations are important for making sure your property shines. Professional photos should also include neighborhood amenities, such as pools and tennis courts, which are often overlooked when consumers take their own photos. In some circumstances, we even bring in drone photography to capture a property’s unique features.

  1. Accurate measurement of your square footage is critical to the outcome of the appraisal that the buyer’s lender (or the buyer) may order on your property. There are detailed rules for what does and doesn’t count in heated square footage for the purposes of real estate sales. Our team hires a local vendor that provides accurate measurements so we don’t have any surprises on the appraisal. They also create a floorplan that can be used for marketing purposes and help potential buyers visualize the flow of your home. 

  2. Negotiating repairs is one of the most stressful parts of a transaction. As a seller, you may not understand what is a material fact and what isn’t, and you may not have vendors on speed dial to provide accurate estimates for work that needs to be done. 

  3. As a FSBO seller, you will deal directly with the closing attorney and you’ll wear two hats, the one your agent would have worn and your own as the seller. Sellers often want to ask the buyer’s agent for advice during this time, but the buyer’s agent works exclusively for their client, so they really can’t be of much help to you. If you decide to hire our team, you’ll have an agent and a transaction coordinator helping you through the paperwork needed to close the property and the timing of signing the documents. 

  4. Hiring our team means you’ll get a weekly update on the success of our marketing efforts, from Facebook advertising to property websites to direct mail and Zillow saves — all this data helps drive decisions. 

  5. In our experience, the trickiest thing for our FSBO sellers has been when things go wrong with the deal and their lack of understanding of how the contract works in North Carolina. This has nothing to do with their intelligence; it just reflects the fact that real estate is complicated and litigious, and there are 30-50 pages of contracts and forms involved in most deals. Questions around delayed closings, appraisal issues, and disbursement of earnest money if a deal is terminated are just a handful of the things we’ve seen in the past year. 

  6. If you plan to do a buy and sell at the same time (i.e., you need the money from selling your listing to buy your next property), it is going to be extremely challenging to time these two things simultaneously without professional help. See our info on this process HERE to find out how we make this seamless.

Review from Dawn Goes Here

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- Dawn

As of January 2021, around ____% of deals terminate before closing, meaning getting a property back on the market is an additional challenge FSBO sellers should consider. 

We hope this helps as you consider what the best move for your property is. If you’re at least convinced enough you’d like to have a conversation about hiring a listing agent, we’d love to talk to you! We’ll always respect your ability to list your own property, and we promise to shoot straight with you about the pros and cons in light of your specific circumstances and goals. 

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