Some people simply like to do the work themselves. The reasons vary from saving money to meeting new people to learning a new skill. Others would simply prefer to spend their time elsewhere and hire somebody else to perform the task. Real estate is no different.
Barb Korducki would welcome the chance to take your real estate listing and market your property, but she’s also willing to teach you how to do it yourself.
Why would a dues-paying member of the National Association of Realtors who spends a considerable amount of cash on advertising spend a ton of her free time teaching people how to take potential money out of her pocket?
"What goes around comes around," said Korducki, an agent with Coldwell Banker in Seattle. "One day, they might need an agent, or have a friend that might need an agent. More importantly, they need to know what it takes to do the job right and actually get a deal to close."
Korducki’s for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) class stresses Internet strategies, the importance of setting a marketing budget and incorporating the costs of photography, staging and repair. The class also aims to solve the biggest problem areas revealed by FSBO surveys: setting an accurate sales price, prepping their home for sale, and understanding and completing paperwork.
"We first started doing the classes in 1995 when Boeing let a lot of people go at the same time," Korducki said. "Many of them did not have much equity in their homes and needed to get as much cash out of them as they could. Helping them get those homes sold as quickly as possible was the right thing to do."
While NAR contends the number of consumers (50 percent) who would enlist the services of a professional salesperson the next time around is a good indicator of how difficult the process can be, the percentage of FSBO sellers willing to repeat the process actually has grown considerably in the past decade. A few years ago, 80 percent of all FSBO buyers surveyed indicated they would hire a real estate agent the next time around.
If you don’t think real estate is regional, just take a look at a variety of Puget Sound neighborhoods. Some areas have no inventory, values are rising and realistically-priced homes are selling quickly. In other areas, homes are sitting, despite price reductions.
In addition, Zillow recently reported that 50 percent of all homeowners in Pierce County were "underwater" (mortgages were more than their homes are worth), while 31 percent were underwater in Kitsap County and 33 percent in King County.
"A huge topic is whether or not it is advisable to FSBO if you are having a financial hardship and don’t believe you have enough equity to sell any other way," Korducki said. "Too often, FSBOs who are selling short don’t seek advice or assistance when they should. They end up not closing because they couldn’t make the numbers work. Then they end up in foreclosure. Anyone who is underwater should seek out advice and referrals, especially if they have more than one loan on the house."
While some FSBO transactions go through without a hitch and owners save thousands on commissions, sellers need to be prepared that unexpected developments can often surface when they list their homes for sale.
Terry Murphy, author and Realtor, often assists sellers in marketing their homes after they become frustrated with a "FSBO" effort. Here are Murphy’s top five tips to sellers:
1. Your home may not be worth what you think
The biggest shock most sellers face is the true value of their homes, either determined by one or more agents in comparative market analysis (CMA) reports or through actual offers from buyers. The reality is that markets change, and home values rise and fall. Many factors affect home values, and most of them are subjective and difficult to measure.
2. People won’t love your home like you do
You love your home and fully expect others to appreciate the same qualities in it that you do, but buyers have their own lifestyles, preferences, tastes and attitudes. The chances of finding a buyer who will want your home "as is" are slim to none. In fact, buyers will look at your home with an eye to how they can make it their own.
3. Sooner or later you will lose your temper
The buyer, in order to improve bargaining leverage, may pick your home apart. Many of the buyer’s complaints and requests for repairs will be legitimate, but some may not. In fact, some requests can be outrageous.
4. Unexpected showings
Buyers aren’t going to operate on your schedule. When your home is put on the market, you won’t have just your own Realtor showing your home, you may have dozens of Realtors and their clients wanting to see the home at almost anytime of the day or evening. There is no reason for an unaccompanied buyer to be in your home for any reason. Just say no.
5. Buyer rudeness
Every day, we each experience rudeness in society. People don’t RSVP in time for the party; they don’t write thank-you notes anymore; they get in the express line with at least 20 items; and they are turning road rage into a national pastime. So why be surprised when buyers visit your home and leave their sweaty McDonald’s cup on your coffee table? Be ready for some rudeness.