For Sale By Owner… Reflections

Thinking About Selling Your Home Yourself?


There’s More to Selling Your Home Than a “For Sale” Sign In Your Front Yard!

National Association of Realtors studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. No longer are “For Sale” signs and advertising the primary source of generating interest in your property. If your property isn’t in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) it’s not going to get maximum exposure to prospective buyers. Buyers have a kneejerk tendency to avoid “For Sale by Owner” signs. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. I will prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property. I’ve been a REALTOR® for over 30 years. I know this marketplace better than any of my competition; I’m a good listener; I keep in close touch with my clients and work tirelessly to achieve satisfying results for them. I’m interested more in building lifelong relationships, based on mutual trust and friendship – than getting my commission. Negotiating “the best deals possible” has long been part of my DNA

However, If you want to “do it yourself” to avoid paying a commission, you should have some important knowledge and skills. Even if a simple sign in your yard did produce a buyer knocking on your door, how will you handle the following questions?

  • How does your home compare to others like it in the Midcoast Maine Area?

If you overprice it because of an emotional attachment or because you have a large mortgage to payoff, you may end up with a pet rock that doesn’t motivate any serious buyer interest.

  • How did you determine the fair market value of your property?

Remember “value” is a constantly-fluctuating variable. If the housing market supply where you live is less than “five months,” then it’s a seller’s market. You will be able to get top dollar because the supply is limited. However, if the housing market supply where you live is greater than “five months,” (which was the case from 2007 – 2014) then it’s a buyer’s market. You will not be able to get top dollar because there is an oversupply of homes for the buyer to choose from – regardless of low interest rates. If you want to sell it, you should consider putting your best lowest price on it! If you price it 5% below the competition and you clean/fix it up to show well, you should get serious offers within the first 30 days that it’s on the market! The longer it languishes on the market, the less interest will be generated in it because buyers will think that something is wrong with the property.

By the way, I don’t list properties that are overpriced. I only work with clients that appreciate the realities of the marketplace and those who want to get their property sold quickly and move on with their life.

  • What about financing? Can you help?

Every seller would like to get a cash buyer, but more often the buyer will need to obtain a mortgage – especially first-time home buyers. Lender’s routinely do an appraisal on the property (which is usually lower that it should be to provide a cushion of protection for the lender.) Banks are very goosey these days to aggressively give home loans, given the recent increase in bank regulation and the high rate of foreclosures.

If the buyer can’t get enough mortgage financing to buy the property… and they can’t afford a larger down payment… they may have to consider “holding some paper” (taking a second mortgage.) This may, or may not, be something that you should do. Your attorney, accountant and REALTOR® should be able to help you with that decision.

  • If get an offer, will you be able to carefully scrutinize it, protect your interests, negotiate a better deal for yourself and craft a counter-proposal… or will you need to pay an attorney to do that – which can be very expensive?

REALTORS® routinely do this with extensive knowledge and experience. Selling your home is one of the most important financial transactions you will make in your lifetime. Don’t take risks. Selling your home is nothing like selling a car. Every home is different, and every homebuyer wants to offer you as little as possible. These days most buyers are exclusively being represented by their own professional REALTOR® who is trying to get the best deal for their client… not you.

  • Why aren’t you using a real estate agent? Is there something wrong with the property that you don’t want to disclose?

Full disclosures and fair dealings with prospective buyers is a must in today’s world of litigious law suits. You might be setting yourself up for a damages lawsuit plus the possibility of an assessment of punitive damages. Do you really want to take that risk?

  • How do you determine the real market value? 

Almost all homes are sold using a real estate agent. As real estate professionals, it is our job to help you negotiate with all those buyers who want something for nothing. Plus preparing your home for sale, marketing it locally… and even nationally and internationally… and guiding you through the complex paperwork and pitfalls of escrow and closing. Make sure you are really ready to handle all of that before pounding that “For Sale By Owner” sign into your front yard. Errors can be extremely costly.

Remember: Buyers want to offer you as close to nothing as possible! While that “For Sale By Owner” sign might sound like a good idea, it usually means a different thing to buyers… Oftentimes, “I’ll try to steal this one.”

If you must sell your own home by yourself, at least let me give you a sense of its true market value. I’ll do a quick Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and let you know what I feel it is worth. I’ll also tell you about the Midcoast Maine Market and suggest a strategy of how I would market your property.

This is free, with no strings attached.


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