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FOR SALE BY OWNER… You’re Certainly Not Alone, Thinking You Can!

March 5, 2010

P R O P E R T Y   S E A R C H

R E S T I V O – H E C H T M A N    T E A M



Sellers undertaking the “FOR-SALE -BY OWNER”  challenge (FSBO)  …thinking it can’t be all that hard… are in good company.

How many times have  I heard:   “WITH THE INTERNET NOW, I CAN LIST IT ONLINE and I DO OPEN HOUSES… so…HOW HARD CAN IT BE?”   Actually, less than 5% of all real estate sales actually end up selling without a Realtor involved… and most FOR SALE BY OWNERS end up selling through a Realtor.

Attracting REAL buyers can be challenging enough,  but finding a qualified buyer is a whole other ball of wax.  If you think  running an ad in the paper, putting up an open house sign and holding open houses will do the trickyou are certainly NOT ALONE.   (Most people , including many Realtors, would agree.)  Ads and open houses  attract  a variety of people:  the curious, the neighbors, the lookers, and YES the buyers too… but not necessarily “qualified buyers”  or “buyers in your price range” or even “buyers interested in what your house has to offer”. 

HOW CAN I SELL MY HOUSE?   Realtors use marketing strategies to attract the right buyers to the right properties. Through the Internet, web sites,  their sphere of influence, the MLS, Realtor.com, Trulia, to name but a few,  they connect with buyers who would specifically be looking for your house, and  pre-qualify them before traipsing them through your house.

WHAT ABOUT THE SALES CONTRACT?Attracting the right buyer is a small part of the puzzle.  Contracts are often  intricate and complex, containing specified terms, deadlines, addendums and obligations on the part of each party. Good faith deposits are at risk if deadlines are not respected. There are specific disclosures and responsibilities on the part of both buyer and seller. 

WHAT ARE YOUR OBLIGATIONS AS A SELLER?  … Obligations with regard to disclosures and legal issues?  What about lead based paint?  If your house was built before 1978 you need to supply the buyer with specific information and disclosures.  What are the time-frames and deadlines  for inspections, loan application,  homeowner or condo association requirements, surveys, appraisals, title evidence?  What are the risks and repercussions for not complying  or not adhering to the time-frames?  Who is responsible for overseeing the process?  

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?  Should your sale  be  ‘as is’… or are you, as  the seller,  willing to repair and subsidize deficiencies and repairs cited in the inspection reports?  Who should do the inspections?  Who is responsible for the repairs? What about Radon Gas? Mold?  Insurance?  A survey? Title? Are you in a flood zone? Special windstorm insurance needed? Is there anything you are required to divulge about the condition of the house,  pre-existing conditions or past repairs?  What happens if there’s a problem?  What happens if there’s a hiccup? Who needs an attorney?

YOU WANT TO SAVE THE COMMISSION?   SOME THINGS ARE BEST LEFT TO THE PROFESSIONALS! Contracts and closings can be veritable quagmires.  Ever seen HGTV’s “Do It YOURSELF Home Make-Overs?”  A lesson in leaving it to the professionals. Penny-wise and Pound-foolish?  If you’re selling, get a good Realtor!  Not just any Realtor.  A good one.  Save yourself the headaches.

IF YOU’RE  THE BUYER… buying from a FSBO? If you’re buying from a FSBO, here’s my suggestion:  Use your own agent… a buyer’s agent…. who can navigate  and streamline the process, making certain it’s all handled properly and that you’re represented properly. You will likely save not only the headaches, but come out ahead in the long run.

Using a professional Realtor can make a world of difference,  the difference between getting the house (or, if you’re the seller: getting the house sold)… or not.  If you’re looking to buy or sell real estate, and would like the help of a professional real estate consultant, please give me a call or send me a note here.

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