I get asked the question a lot when I talk to homeowners and clients about whether or not I would use a For Sale By Owner product verses a typical full service listing service and the answer is always Yes. I would figure out a FSBO service that is a good fit for my needs and run with it for the sole reason of saving money in the long run. You hear all kinds of silly stats from agents about how a house sells faster and for more money when listed with their company or a long list of customer services that come along with that sweet commission. But truthfully as a listing agent and one that loves the process of selling someone’s home, many times there is no need for paying a full commission nor will you miss out on many of the benefits that do come with listing your home as a traditional full commission sale. One note, that this is not for everyone or for every home or for every price point but as a general rule in a normal city selling your home yourself can be a breeze. Below is a list of things I would consider when pursuing a FSBO product to list my home.
- Contracts – The documents that we use in buying or selling a home are unique to our industry and truthfully can be overwhelming to someone that does not read them daily. Be sure part of your limited listing or FSBO product has support for this portion of the process and someone is going to walk you through this each and every time a new contract is in play. If I was selling my house fsbo I would specify as one of the few services I need is the contracts and ensure someone would take the time to understand me each and every one.
- The Listing – Lets face it, the largest part of getting a house on the market for most listing agents is building the listing and a good marketing plan to plug into the Multiple Listing Service. This includes photos, measurements and descriptions for the entire property and doing this can take time. So if I were going to list my home with a FSBO product I would include this and expect to pay for it, up front. I want the marketing of my house to be more important then the closing of my house to this person and willing to compensate them for that time in advance.
- Photos – I would not see any value in using an agent because they provide photos for my house. I have an iPhone and can take better pics then the majority of agent photographers so paying a premium for this is not of value to me.
- Showings – Someone said to me “how can a homeowner be sure it’s an agent that is showing their home during the day?” The same way we do. We ask for agent codes, look on websites, verify with brokers, use Facebook and any other form of identifiers to confirm someone that says they are an agent is an agent. But additionally I would setup a keyless entry system during the listing period. I do not need a licensed agent to schedule showings on my property or any service they may provide. If I am unable to show the home I will install a remote camera and door lock that I can unlock during showing times or pass out temporary codes. I will also be able to record any activity from that access point. For a couple of hundred bucks you can have a sweet piece of technology and take it with you when you successfully sell and move.
- Preparing to sell – One of the main steps to listing a property is we walk a property with the seller and make suggestions on staging, conditions and decor from our experience in selling homes. If I was using a FSBO product I would ask for this advice from my agent and in 30 minutes could be through my house with a general idea of things I can do to ready my home for showings. This is not a huge deal for an agent and I add value to them for this service, which would also be something I would expect to pay for in advance.
- Cost – If I was going to use a FSBO product I would expect a substantial discount in the commission and in turn respect the agents time and services. Depending on needs and expectations I would plan to spend a little money upfront and a little money at closing, but I am going to invest in someone else’s time for sure and use the money saved to invest in my sale.
- Make a commitment – If I am looking to work with a good agent but want to hire them as a limited listing agent, I need to have a bit of a conversation with them about the next step. First of all if I am selling and moving to a new home, that limited listing agent is going to get my business no matter what. I am going to suggest we sign a buyer’s agreement and give them the comfort that I appreciate their modern product but also want them to help me as I buy, where a full commission will be paid. If I am not going to be buying a new home, I will sleep good at night knowing that I did not take advantage of their time and will also ask them what are some specific ways to promote them in the future. I am convinced if I show a respect for someone’s time and also support for them be successful, they will work with me over and over again.
So I have outlined a few reasons and how I would go about hiring a Limited Listing service whether it’s a local Realtor that offers this or an online listing service and hopefully it can be helpful. In places like Hamilton County Indiana these techniques are more then acceptable to sell a home especially as inventories continue to stay tight and homebuilders work hard to drive the market. When you are getting ready to list your home, consider the limited listing product and take the time to understand its pro’s and con’s before you make the move to a full service listing service. If you would like to discuss how we specialize in a Limited Listing service please do not hesitate to reach out and discuss your situation. Thanks
Curt has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for over 10 years and spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage. He has had great success in managing existing commercial projects and new retail and office developments. Curt specializes in building owner representation and purchases in the Westfield Indiana market as well throughout the Indianapolis Metro area. Curt is passionate about growing the local Westfield community and in his free time volunteers with Westfield Youth Assistance and raising 2 children with his wife Jennifer.