Friday, June 25, 2004

To FSBO or Not

If you're thinking of putting your home on the market, you've probably considered selling it yourself. I did that once before I got into the business. I gladly paid the commission on my next two homes to avoid the stressful experience again. So here is my perspective from both sides of the fence.

By and large, the Detroit Metro market is a buyer's market with six months to a year's worth of inventory for competition. As a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), you must be willing to do some heavy advertising otherwise you're limiting your market to only those few people who happen to drive by. Recently when I asked a FSBO what kind of response they'd gotten, they said lots--from real estate agents who want to list their homes, but few qualified buyers.

You also need to be available to answer the call when a buyer inquires. In fact, when I left a message for a FSBO to return my call regarding buyers I'm working with, the FSBO seller called days later. In this case, buyers will just move on to the next home, or find an agent to help them with homes that are listed and easy to show.

Today's buyers are very savvy and they are looking for sellers in desperate situations. Make sure you know the value of your home by getting a market evaluation comparing your home to others that have sold in the neighborhood. Even with your home competitively priced however, be prepared for the first thing a buyer does when making an offer--deduct the commission you're saving right off the top.

In a traditional real estate transaction, once the offer is accepted, the agent works behind the scenes to coodinate a seamless closing. These duties include investigating the buyer's preapproval with the lender, coordinating the inspection and coming to terms on resulting issues, reviewing title work, completing the appraisal, ensuring underwriting is timely, scheduling a walk-through, and checking closing documents--all to get to the closing table on time. Besides your regular job, packing, and preparing for your move, you'll need to juggle all these responsibilities as well.

Still thinking of selling your own home? Clip your cell phone to your hip, put the sign in the yard, place an ad in the newspaper, stock up on antacids, and cross your fingers!

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