FSBOs are for-sale-by-owners, and periodically a FSBO will ask me a question. This question from a FSBO was a very good question and one that I think many others will find relevant, both sellers and buyers. Here I share the question and my response.
“I have my condo on the market as a FSBO, and a friend recommended I talk to you. Frankly, I like the idea of selling it myself, and if it doesn’t sell, I can stay here. I’m not under any pressure to move. My question is why would I need a Realtor?”
FSBO – Realtor or Not? My Answer
I appreciate and understand why you would put your condo on the market as a FSBO. Unfortunately, there are several reasons that strategy may not work for you. These reasons are things I’ve learned during the past 37 years in real estate, and they have been affirmed again and again.
First, Realtors in the profession typically will not sell or show a FSBO. It literally drops off their radar, even if you have told them you’ll pay a buyer’s agent commission. Why? Their brokers want them to work with clients with whom they actually have a contract. Showing a home with no listing contract puts the entire transaction at risk, and many agents have not gotten paid a commission. Contractually, a for sale by owner has no obligation to pay a Realtor a commission if the buyer buys the home without a written contract. Realtors cannot do business on a handshake. In fact, Washington state law requires any agreement regarding real estate to be in writing and signed by the seller. But there are more reasons Realtors cannot feasibly sell a FSBO.
FSBO Outside Real Estate CRM
Second, it is hard to remember a FSBO months later when a Realtor looks at dozens and hundreds of homes. Unless you’re in the MLS, we have no way of keeping track of your property, and we don’t typically keep separate database systems to track a FSBO who agreed to pay a commission if we sell their home. In addition, Realtors have no legal right to advertise your home to buyers since they have no listing contract. Our Code of Ethics, for example, prohibits advertising another agent’s listing without written permission to do so. All of this means that it is not practical for Realtors to try to sell a FSBO.
FSBO Outside Real Estate Marketing
Third, since your home isn’t listed with a Realtor, it doesn’t get into all the Realtors’ online MLSs. Buyers typically go online to look at an online MLS, and some buyers go online to other sites that show listings, like Realtor.com. All those sites pull the listings from the NWMLS IDX data feed (and the OLS in Clallam County), so if your home isn’t listed by a broker in that system, it will not get syndicated for thousands of buyers to even see. Buyers won’t even find it.
Fourth, Realtors like me do a lot of other marketing to connect with buyers, and a FSBO doesn’t do all that marketing that takes years to build. My marketing system connects with thousands of potential buyers every month. A FSBO cannot do that, so they don’t get nearly the exposure to as many qualified buyers.
If I may be bold, my suggestion is that you decide if you are serious about selling. If you are not, don’t bother at all and plan to stay. As you said, that’s one of your options. If you are serious about selling, don’t fool around. List it at a reasonable price, get it in the MLS, watch it get syndicated, work with a Realtor with a huge marketing system online, and then you will eventually get it sold.
I hope this is helpful. Being a FSBO is no less work than being a Realtor marketing a listing.
Last Updated on October 6, 2012 by Chuck Marunde