Friday, January 30, 2015

Buying a FiSBO? Use a Realtor®

Inventory in many markets, including ours locally is a bit tight. It is particularly so in the bottom half of the price range.Some sellers choose to sell their own home without the use of a real estate brokerage. This is typically called a For Sale By Owner listing or FiSBO. I can spend a week explaining why selling a home without the benefit of a brokerage will almost always be more expensive for the seller in the long run. Some people however cannot wrap their arms around the idea that a brokerage will likely net them 5-10% more money on the sales price.

For buyers a FiSBO can be dangerous territory. All of the laws of real estate still apply to a private seller. Improper procedures or disclosure can still result in a lawsuit. Buyers shopping FiSBO properties are typically looking for a better deal. That better deal may not be so good when the transaction begins to unfold. Buyers can still use a broker to buy a FiSBO. The brokerage can either charge a fee to the buyer or they can seek to convince the seller to pay a fee. Either way the transaction will be better handled with the aid or a professional real estate brokerage.

I have been involved in a number of FiSBO transactions for my clients over the years. Last year alone I had two transactions I aided buyers with that were For Sale By Owner listings. Some agents may not want to take on a FiSBO but I embrace them. My goal has always been to provide service to my clients. Whether or not I make as much money doing it doesn't matter. The client comes first. There are pitfalls when working with an owner. My experience is that they are often unwilling to deal with issues found on an inspection, they often don't understand the legal requirements to close a real estate transaction. They are not under the counsel of a brokerage so they cannot be expected to have this knowledge. Buyers that try to negotiate and close a transaction with which no real estate professional is involved can quickly find the transaction escalate into a nightmare.

Buyers are well advised to keep their favorite Realtor® in mind when they find a FiSBO listing. Your trusted professional should be able to help you through the transaction. Should that agent not be willing to tread those waters, then perhaps it's time to find a new agent.

Sellers are also well advised to interview several local professionals before deciding to sell themselves. There are many opportunities for sellers out there and statistics strongly support the idea that a hiring a good brokerage will net them at least as much or more money at closing. Taking the risks associated with closing a real estate transaction and netting the same or less is illogical.

The best advice is to look very closely at all options before deciding which course of action to take.

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