A question we get from time to time is what are the common pitfalls of selling by owner?  It’s a great question, so let’s dive in.

Common Pitfalls of Selling By Owner

Common Pitfalls of Selling By Owner

The first pitfall is legal.  Most sellers don’t realize the regulatory pressures they are under, whether they sell by owner or with an agent.  The state has jurisdiction over property, homeowner, and condo disclosures.  The federal government has jurisdiction over issues like lead-based paint disclosures, waterways, docks, etc.  We’re lumping the Army Corps of Engineers in with the federal government.  Missing any one of these important disclosures could cost you a sale, or worse, a lawsuit or fine.

Security is another issue that concerns sellers.  They want to know who is coming into their home.  Sellers are concerned if the prospect is an actual buyer, or someone who is looking over the contents of the home only to come back later and rob the place.

The Buyer’s ability to pay for the home might be one of the largest concerns sellers have.  When selling by owner, asking this question can be tenuous.  The buyer feels like it’s none of your business and their finances are their business.  But it is the seller’s business.  As a Realtor, we can ask those tough questions and demand proof.  It’s what we do, and if a buyer is skittish about answering, it bears more questions.  Realtors with experience can read more into what’s being said and uncover more facts.  Red flags should never be ignored.  Newer agents, and For Sale By Owners don’t always see the red flags, and when they do, they don’t know how to handle them.  Security might be the biggest of the common pitfalls of selling by owner.

Marketing is critical to getting top dollar.  It doesn’t do much good to save a commission and lose money at the same time.  I’ve seen 3 studies that show For Sale By Owners sell for 6%-16% less than using a real estate agent.  Essentially it costs you nothing to use an agent but could cost you thousands not to.  Placing your home online in a few places isn’t marketing.  It’s simply listing it in a directory.  A few buyers might notice it, but you’re not getting it out to the masses.

Sure, you’ll get some calls from people looking to flip homes and unqualified buyers, but nothing that is going to close or gain you top dollar.  If you doubt us, just try it and see how you fare.  Then call us after a few weeks and we can change that for you.

Are All Realtors the Same?

All Realtors are not the same.  If some Realtors have a hard time marketing a home, imagine how hard it is for a For Sale By Owner.  Again, just placing it in MLS and putting a sign up is not marketing.  You need much more than that to get the word out.  If all you attract are unqualified buyers and just a small percent of the market, you’re not attracting top dollar.

Imagine putting an item for sale in an online auction.  If you had one bidder, you might sell it.  If you had 10 bidders, it’d probably go for more money.  If you had 1,000 bidders, it would sell for more than if you had just one bidder.  Full market exposure equals Top Dollar.  Less than that equals less than Top Dollar.

The Agent You Hire Matters.  The Ellis Team markets your home for all it’s worth.  We shoot for Top Dollar.  Why be satisfied with one buyer when you could have several to choose from? Our marketing generates lots of buyers.  We can bring all the buyers you’ll ever need, but if the home is not priced correctly, they’ll just go buy something else. We’ll help you avoid the common pitfalls of selling by owner.  See also 3 Reasons Why Homes Fail to Sell.

Check out www.swflhomevalues.com to get an idea of what your home may be worth.  Our computer is very good.  In fact, it’s the best we’ve ever seen by an automated valuation service.  However, it it not perfect and there is no substitute for having Sande or Brett come out to your property and doing a comparative market analysis.

Or you can Search the MLS like a pro at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

If you have a home to sell Always Call the Ellis Team, your Top Dollar Realtor!  239-489-4042 Ext 4  ask for Sande or Brett.  We’re here to help.  Sande Ellis and Brett Ellis are a mother-son team and have over 30 years experience selling homes in Southwest Florida.  Brett and Sande personally visit each property and do an in-depth analysis of the price as well as strengths of the property.  This is important because if we’re going to reach the best target buyer for the home, it pays to know every detail that may attract that best buyer.

Of course, many times our marketing attracts multiple buyers.  This is good news for sellers when we’re able to do this as it typically brings a better price for our sellers.  Imagine an online auction.  If you had  an item to sell and had 10 buyers, you’d fetch a certain price.  But if you had 1,000 buyers, the price your item would fetch might be much more, wouldn’t it?

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So your home hasn’t sold yet this season?  Don’t fret; you’re in the same boat as a lot of Lee County home sellers.  January and February started off a little slower but we have seen an increase in buyer activity the last few weeks.  Will it translate into stellar numbers?  We’ll have to wait and see.

So Your Home Hasn’t Sold Yet This Season-Market Watch

January closings were off but we’re predicting February number of closings to come in higher than last year.  So far sales prices are up versus last year but not so much over previous months.  We have noticed some multi-million dollar closings in February which will help the averages but not necessarily the median prices.

So Your Home Hasn’t Sold Yet This Season-Homes Closed Graph

So your home is on the market and you’re wondering if it’s time to worry.  Worrying won’t do you much good.  It’s important to study the numbers and if there has been a shift in the market the sellers most informed will get out first.  Our market is constantly moving and being influenced by external forces.  It pays to keep abreast, especially when you’re ready to buy or sell.

If your home has been on the market awhile it’s either not being marketed correctly or it’s overpriced.  It could be both.  We have a graph we send our sellers that shows typical showing activity.  If your home isn’t receiving any activity chances are you’re overpriced.  If it is receiving activity, a small adjustment may be in order.

Look over your marketing.  Do the photos put your home in a good light?  Does the listing description paint a true and enticing picture of your home?

Is your home being marketed locally in print as well as globally online?  Does it go out to sites like HGTV, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, propsmart, Homes.com, Livedeal, Dupont Registry, etc?  We submit your home to over 100 websites as well as advertise in the News Press and other local outlets.

If your home is For Sale By Owner you’re at a disadvantage as we haven’t found a seller yet that can expose their home properly to the market.  Now you might say it only takes 1 buyer, and this is true.  It only takes 1 qualified buyer who likes your home above all others and sees the value above All others.  If you’re not exposing to the full market, chances are you’re going to have limited success, if any.

If your marketing is good, how is your price?  One way to research is to look at Market Reports for your neighborhood.  Go to www.LeeCountyOnline.com and click on Market Reports.  If you don’t see yours listed yet, you can create your own.  Sellers love this feature.

Of course, you can always call us out and we can sit down with you and answer your questions.  A real estate expert can guide you through the process from correctly pricing to offer simple repair and maintenance tips to get you Top Dollar.

When interviewing agents be sure to look at their marketing plan.  You’ll be surprised to note that not all Realtors market the same and there can be vast differences.  Make sure you know what you’re getting.

Lastly, no matter which agent you select, keep in mind that the seller sets the price, but the market determines the value.  It pays to price your home at or close to market.  If you have questions, give the Ellis Team a call. 239-489-4042  We’re never pushy and we present you with your options so you can make the best decision for your family.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

For Sale By Owners are at a big disadvantage and it’s not really the seller’s fault. There are several reasons why it’s hard to sell a home By Owner. The number one factor is Fear. Buyers have a fear about the process of buying a home and without an agent all those fears bubble up. They fear they don’t know the area as well as the seller. They don’t know the neighbors. Buyers may not know the schools, etc. They don’t usually know how to structure a contract, and they don’t know financing. Buyers have never lived in the home, but the seller has. Buyers feel at a big disadvantage, so their fear leads them to the second biggest issue, which is trust. Buyers become skeptical because they realize they’re not holding many of the knowledge cards; the seller is. The seller knows much more about the home and the neighbors than the buyer. There isn’t an agent as a go-between so there is a lack of trust. This lack of trust is born out of fear.

For Sale By Owner Fort Myers
Pitfalls of Selling By Owner

When you have fear and lack of trust, any potential transaction is shaky at best. The seller has fear and trust issues too. The seller also does not understand financing, insurance, etc. The seller is fearful that the buyer may not be able to qualify or is telling them the whole story. There is no agent to verify certain facts, so the seller must ask the tough questions themselves. Buyers don’t like to divulge confidential financial information to the seller as they would a seasoned professional like an agent. Buyers trust their agent; they don’t trust a seller they don’t know. The seller doesn’t trust a buyer they don’t know, and there begins the cycle of distrust, which elevates fear. Buyers and sellers don’t negotiate with other buyers and sellers everyday, all day long. The questions they do ask come across as personal, so they get evasive answers. Buyers and sellers treat each other at arms length because they know whatever they say could be used against them in the course of negotiation. Some buyers and sellers get cute and try to Buffalo their way with the other side. Even if they are better Buffalos, the other side typically reads they’re not getting the whole story. Complex issues arise in a transaction. Inspection issues can be sticky, not to mention insurance, survey, financing, HOA, and past permit issues, to name just a few.

For Sale By Owners Net Less Money at Closing

Recent studies have shown For Sale By Owners sell on average for 12% less than what a Realtor gets for a home. The only way a buyer would buy a For Sale By Owner is if they can save the commission and buy it under market. If they have to do all the work themselves and face that fear on their own without the help of an agent, they better get a bargain. However, the reason a seller wishes to sell By Owner is to also save the commission. Both the buyer and seller cannot save the same commission. If the seller is going to take the time to show it, advertise it, make signs, place ads, and pre-qualify each buyer they better get more than fair market value for their efforts. They must fight bank appraisers and they have nobody in their corner if they get a bad appraisal. They just lose another deal. So if sellers get on average 12% less for a home, why would they try on their own? A leading For Sale By Owner company CEO recently sold his home through a Realtor. If their company is so great, why did he resort to hiring a Realtor? Every seller wishes to maximize their bottom line but selling By Owner isn’t it. If it was easy everyone would do it. Not only is there a cost to taking less, there’s also a cost for losing deals and selling it over and over. And doing it all yourself can get discouraging. Buyers and sellers are also emotional. They don’t have a 3rd party intermediary keeping things real. Facts and logic get blurred and they can convince themselves of almost anything. If you’re thinking of buying or selling, do yourself a favor and hire a good agent. You can do it right the first time, or do it the hard way and try on your own. Hey, you might get lucky, but then again, it could turn out badly. It’s your choice. We don’t see a lot of FSBO’s today but they will always exist. We hope this article helps you analyze your options. Good luck and Happy House Hunting! View our July 2014  SW Florida Real Estate Market Update To view our Listings in Hi Definition, visit www.HomesinHD.TV or click on our playlist below Visit our Google+ Business Page Feel free to view our Virtual Tours . By Brett Ellis Fort Myers Real Estate Agent 7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr Fort Myers, FL 33907