Chris Griffith: Realtors work for buyers, not for sale by owner sellers

CHRIS GRIFFITH

While it is possible to sell for sale by owner, with the current atmosphere it is improbable in most markets. If there’s an excess of inventory or a neighborhood is just moving slower, buyers are scarce no matter who is selling the house. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the ability for a homeowner to sell their home, just the probability.

From time to time I get a call from a homeowner to let me know their home is for sale. Usually, it’s in a neighborhood that I have listings in or have sold a few in the recent past. The sellers have decided to sell themselves or at least give it a try on their own.

Not long ago I had a call and the homeowner wanted to make sure all of the agents with listings in the area knew that their home was for sale and that the homeowners were cooperating with real estate agents who were working with buyers shopping that neighborhood. Most real estate agents have no problem showing for sale by owners (FSBO), but they have to meet the same guidelines for their buyers as listed properties.

The biggest gaffes FSBO sellers make when selling their own real estate is that they don’t understand the market. Selling real estate is about more than jabbing a sign in the lawn, burying a St. Joseph statue and calling a few active real estate agents in the area.

The market is fiercely competitive and if there is more supply than demand, it’s like screaming “my house is for sale” into a canyon and expecting an answer back.

The homeowner who called me didn’t understand that they currently had one year of inventory in their canyon and that there were no pending sales which means, in this Polaroid moment, that general pricing is probably too high and time on market and inventory is potentially going up.

It’s been years, even decades since some sellers have had a real estate transaction and they may not understand the new, strict appraisal guidelines.

Homeowners can drive the street, jot down addresses with signs or even go to Zillow or Realtor.com to get current listings so they know what’s on the market. What they don’t understand is that there are plenty of other unrealistic homeowners who will drag you down with them when the list price gets based their wrong list price.

If the FSBO homeowners updated and redecorated, their place may be prettier but they could have also over improved. Selling a home “turnkey” decorated with Ralph Lauren whatever and 1,500-thread count, Egyptian cotton sheets and expecting your exquisite taste to materialize into a price a buyer is willing to pay is a stretch. On top of that, there is no place on the appraisal form for “how cheerful a home feels,” thread counts or name brands.

These are not only the reasons why a FSBO won’t sell, but not being shown by the real estate agents who were invited to show it, either. Real estate agents won’t skip your property because it’s not listed, but because it’s not the best for their client.

The agent with buyers, actually work for the buyers not the FSBO. It’s their job to find them the best possible properties and an overpriced or over improved property that won’t appraise isn’t it.

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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.

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