Why a lot of FSBO are homeowners who are difficult to approach
Firs I should say that as a real estate agent who has dedicated the last 10 years of my life to learning the ropes in the business, I stand very firm in the idea that a professional agent can sell a property better than the owner himself. An experienced agent can be a very valuable resource of information and marketing and relate to their clients using past experience. Compare 10 years of experience vs “I just decided to pretend I am a real estate agent who can sell my house!”
Of course real estate agents are paid a commission, which is normally a percentage of the sale price; however, most of us do deserve to be paid for our work!
Based on my personal experience when dealing with owners who have decided to go down the road of selling on their own, I can tell that many of them are not familiar with the effectiveness of various strategies. It can be an intimidating situation and nowadays the overwhelming amount of information available can lead to misinformation.
There are thousands of websites and hundreds of databases and many marketing companies which all make the same claim: “We are your best choice – If you want to sell your apartment, hire us!” Not to mention the fact that hundreds of hungry brokers come to your door promising you the world in exchange for your signature on an exclusive agreement.
Many of those property owners also talk to friends and relatives and we know that the opinions of others these days are often not based on reality.
So which road to go?
FSBO owners have to learn on a step-by-step basis: it is a trial and error approach. This can be a nerve-wracking experience. Perhaps someone has suggested that you pay for a membership of a website in order to advertise your listing. A month later, you have no leads, but you have unqualified buyers who put in verbal offers only to disappear, and of course you have those pesky brokers! The bottom line is that you wasted time and resources, you did not sell the property and now you have to endure the verbal attacks from a family member bashing you saying: “See, I told you! We should have listed with John from Average John Company!” That’s not all! Imagine the rejection and negative feedback those people are exposed to on a daily basis. Yes, owners who do it themselves have to listen to “oh, this is ugly!” They don’t have a broker to serve as a buffer that takes the heat away.
I have years of experience and I know how to deal with rejection and lowball offers. However, this might be a very harsh experience for many owners who are personally offended by these remarks! This is your house and as such, it represents you. None of us like to be directly criticized for our personal style of decoration.
Get it right from the start!
Bad marketing from the start is the worst mistake! The market in NYC is very competitive and unforgiving. Very often I run into people who have tried on their own and failed. They became discouraged, listed with a broker, dropped the price eventually and completely diminished the value of their property as a result.
A small upfront investment goes a long way!
Let’s face it; people go to FSBO because they want to do it in the most frugal way possible! They want to save! I don’t blame them and really, nobody should. We all want to save on costs and spend the money on ourselves, on our next apartment for example, or invest in our kids’ education. For instance - I would not want to know that my $25,000 went towards a luxury watch wrapped around my broker’s wrist! However, do spend the money on the right marketing materials: for example taking pictures with your cell phone and posting them online is unacceptable. Present the value of the property in the best possible way! Don’t be cheap!
Dodging requests from brokers who ask for exclusives is tiring! At some point you will put us all in the same category- the bad guys. Even if you come across a good offer made by a broker- you won’t know for certain that it is a good offer. Once you place your advertising as a FSBO, you become an easy target for brokers and – you will be approached! All real estate websites cater to their needs and are designed to operate in favor of the brokers’ community! They all get their marketing dollars from real estate agents who pay a hefty monthly fee! There is no way around it! You don’t trust me? - Look at the statistics and see how many apartments are sold by brokers vs FSBO! I won’t pick on Streeatesay, Trulia and Zillow but they are all under the same umbrella and Zillow has an established monopoly on the market!
So what to do?
Obviously, in this case one size does not fit all and the truth is that as an FSBO owner, you need to exploit every possible aspect of your product. Make your listing stand out and have fun selling it!