August 17, 2016 Irene Voronel
Sometimes selling a home for sale by owner is a tempting proposition. This option does not always work the way sellers think it should.

Sometimes selling a home for sale by owner is a tempting proposition. This option does not always work the way sellers think it should.

A knock at the door

This escrow had sucked up a lot of time, the traditional “selling season” was now over and I was very disappointed and disenchanted with the FSBO process.  I was looking over the cards of the Realtors who came to preview my home all those months ago when someone knocked on the door. I answered and was greeted by a Realtor who was stopping by to invite me to the open house he was holding a few streets over that coming weekend.  He handed me a flyer, shook my hand and left.  “What? No sales pitch?”

I stopped by the open house and visited with the agent.  He remembered me, but at no point brought up my FSBO.  Instead he showed me the listing he was selling and told me how much he enjoys selling homes in my neighborhood.  I left knowing that the house I just looked at would sell because it had the right person working to sell it. I realized that with my limited knowledge of how to do a FSBO I would probably miss the right buyer and end up with less money.

You’re hired!

I called the agent from the open house and invited him to preview my home.  He came by on time and prepared to take notes.  I received his undivided attention, he never once looking at his phone or his watch.  He asked relevant questions and spent very little time touting his accolades.  When I asked about compensation he gave me a few options I could choose rather than a percentage.  All in all this was my guy.  By the end of the meeting I signed the listing documents and breathed a sigh of relief.

A full price offer

The house went on the MLS the week before Thanksgiving.  I knew this was less than ideal and was prepared to wait until after the holidays to find the buyer but what could I do, I needed to sell and I was the reason for wasting so much time with the FSBO.  I had 2 showings that week and my agent talked me into letting him do an Open House.  The day after Turkey day, aka Black Friday I got a call from my Realtor.  His words were “I know it’s the middle of a holiday weekend but I just received a full price offer on your house.”  I couldn’t believe my ears – I thought I was still in food coma so I asked him to repeat.  Much to my surprise he repeated the same words – “full price offer!!”

The escrow

We opened escrow the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I was dreading this process because I had a miserable experience last time I was in escrow.  And while I knew that I now had an agent who had my best interests in mind the buyer also had an agent who was working to get the buyer the best deal.  Inspections and appraisals came and went.  I agreed to repair a few minor issue and (with my agent’s suggestion) to pay for a home warranty policy.  The seller agreed.  All contingencies were removed and finally it was the day to sign “the docs” and close escrow.  I couldn’t believe it was really going to be over and right before Christmas! Merry Christmas to me!

Talk to a Realtor before rushing out to buy the FSBO sign

Talk to a Realtor before rushing out to buy the FSBO sign

The moral of the story – FSBO may not be the best option

I really wanted to prove that I could sell my home FSBO.  It was a challenge I was definitely up to.  The biggest reason to sell DIY was financially motivated – I fully believed that I could do as good of a job as a Realtor in selling my home. And why not?! It was my home, one I knew so much about, and who better to sell it than me? I didn’t have other homes I was selling (as most of the Realtors do) so I wouldn’t be distracted, and  I would respond to all calls asap and hold my own Open Houses as often as I wanted to.  And… I would save up to 6% of the sales price by doing it all myself.

Clearly I was mistaken.  What I learned was that there is the right agent for every seller and sometimes you may need to talk to several Realtors before you find the right one.

Pay it forward 

As I walked out of the escrow office after signing what felt like thousands of pages, I thought that this was the best gift I could have asked for. However, as it turned out, the bigger (and better) part of my FSBO experience was that I was so inspired by the Realtor who helped me to sell my home that I enrolled in real estate licensing courses, sat for the exam and past the Real Estate Brokers test.

The day I received my Real Estate license in the mail I made a promise to myself and all my future clients: Just like the Realtor who helped me I too would pull out all the stops when it came to serving my clients. Whether that meant working during the holidays, knocking on doors in hopes finding a seller willing to sell to my buyer, or simply listening to a frustrated and frazzled FSBO owner and calming their anxiety I would be there – every step of the way.  I am proud to say that through my many years in the industry I have stayed true to this promise and hope that one day I too may inspire someone to join this industry simply for the love of helping others.

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