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Selling house without a realtor
Old 01-31-2008, 05:20 PM   #1
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Selling house without a realtor

I'm planning to sell my house this summer. I had planned to list it with a realtor starting this spring, but in the last two weeks I've heard of two people who are looking. One works with my SIL and is being transferred here, the other teaches at my daughter's school (and I know him pretty well from the extracurriculars he runs).

I wasn't planning on going the FSBO route but it would seem ideal to have a buyer fall into my lap without going through a lot of work, isn't it? Especially if I know the family, directly or indirectly? I could share the savings of not having to pay real estate commissions, and I'd love to not have to go through house showings, etc.

Any gotchas?

I can see the current listings in my neighborhood, is there a way I can get recent sales for comps to know a fair price? I have a good idea of what it's worth, within 10K I'd guess, but it'd probably be good all around to be able to put a fair value on the house.

I've bought a FSBO once without incident in NC. Title companies handle closings here in TX and I assume they can help me with some of the process, or is it worth it to have an attorney?

Fear 1 is you get a flaky buyer who backs out at the last minute. That's why I don't want to do a full FSBO try, but these two seem stable.

Fear 2 is I don't set the right price. I'm not looking to make a killing, but I don't want to short myself too much either.

Fear 3 is we mess up something in the process and can't close.

Any help or experience? Books or websites? Maybe I shouldn't have reported that fsbo advert thread that popped up overnight!
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:28 PM   #2
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Check out this thread: http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...use-21501.html
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:36 PM   #3
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Shoulda knowed there would be a thread for this already and I shoulda searched for it. Thanks!

The second guy came out of nowhere today and when I emailed back a description he said he'd love to talk further, so it's becoming more of a reality that I could pull this off myself.
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:38 PM   #4
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Shoulda knowed there would be a thread for this already and I shoulda searched for it. Thanks!

The second guy came out of nowhere today and when I emailed back a description he said he'd love to talk further, so it's becoming more of a reality that I could pull this off myself.

I had the same when I was selling my place back in 06. The guy was moving to my area, a friend knew the guy wanted the house yadayadayada he was full of you know what. It did not pan out. Be careful here.
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:44 PM   #5
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search the archives for Redfin and you'll find my experience. Bottom line is that it's doable but tough to go without an agent. Getting the buyer and agreeing on a price are the hard parts; if you get that far you can easily handle the paperwork with the title company.

One thing that I hadn't fully realized until I tried selling on my own was how important the time value is... every month the property sets empty costs you a PITI payment. If the real estate agent can sell it a few months faster that might make them worthwhile.
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:36 PM   #6
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Yeah, I'm only doing the fsbo thing now since I don't want to put it on the market yet, but these two people came along and I think they'd wait til summer. But if they don't make a move by April I'll go with the realtor and open it up and not miss the late spring/summer market.
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:16 PM   #7
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Is there an intermediate option? For example, you could list with an agent and ask the guy if he'll do the whole thing for 3% commission IF you bring him the buyer (this is not a bad deal for the agent, since that's exactly what his office will get if the buyer is brought to him by another agent). For 3% you get somebody to do all the paperwork, do the comps, etc. More importantly, before/while your buyer-to-be makes an offer, it's entirely possible that the agent may get a fire under his butt and find you a buyer willing to pay more (especially if the agent+broker can make 6% with a fresh buyer rather than the 3% from the buyer you brought him).

Just an idea, I'm not an expert.

I would recommend you do get your own attorney, somebody who practices RE law and who is not in the RE broker's stable of "dependable" lawyers "who don't make trouble."
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
Yeah, I'm only doing the fsbo thing now since I don't want to put it on the market yet, but these two people came along and I think they'd wait til summer. But if they don't make a move by April I'll go with the realtor and open it up and not miss the late spring/summer market.
Why not get things going now? I'd say your FSBO prospects are pretty iffy. If they said they were interested tomorrow what is your price?
I'd seek out the three best realtors that sell your type of home in your area. Ask for a comparative market analysis. That will have most recent sales and listings. They will be able to suggest your market value. You can tell them that you are not ready to list until X time and that if you do list with them you have a couple of people that may make an offer on your home and you would not pay a commission if they bought. A good realtor will agree to this as they know the chances of that happening are pretty nil.

The upside is you have the three top realtors giving you a fair idea of what your property should sell for and their idea of the current market and a look at their crystal ball for the future. You also have three of the best sellers aware of your property in advance. If they really are the best they will have a stable of buyers and sellers that they know will be in the market and they will start making plans to at least get the selling commision if your property is desirable.

The downside is that you have to be able to say no to at least 2 realtors and perhaps put up with some persistance on their part.
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:00 PM   #9
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Those are some good suggestions. The reason I'm not starting now is that I'm only in town this week. A better time to start will be when I come back for the spring in a month. And I'll be holding my 2 prospective buyers off til then anyway.

So as soon as I'm back I can start interviewing realtors and have them do the research, knowing that most likely I'll be using one of them anyway, and if it works out with one of my prospects I'll have a good grip on the price. That sounds like an excellent plan. Thanks.
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some advice
Old 02-01-2008, 08:28 AM   #10
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some advice

Bum,

Since you seem to already have a few potential buyers this is probably a good idea.

This is what you need to do....

1. get a fair appraisal of the property from a certified appraiser who does alot of work in "your area" once you have someone you KNOW is going to buy the house and all that remains is the price to be worked out. Show the buyer the appraisal and tell them you can sell it for 1-5k below that. That should make them happy and easy to work with. OR you can tell them to get their own appraisal and maybe take the average of the two if it is acceptable to both parties... (you may feel like you can get more than the appraised value but thats just because its "your house" Trust me NO lender would lend on a house being purchased for OVER apraised value anyway without a ton of $ down so its moot to even try) Appraised value and assesed value are two different things, the assesed value dosn't mean squat when it comes to selling your home so don't get confused.

2. once a price is agreed upon ask to see his approval paperwork from his lender and get you lawyer to look over it with you (see below)

3. get a good RE lawyer to handle all the paperwork. It makes things move much more smoothly if the same lawyer will handle both your's and the buyers side of things.

4. If the buyer wants a home inspection (they usually pay for) they should order it NOW before anyone spends any more money on a deal that won't go through. When the report comes in you two can agree on what will and won't be fixed prior to the home closing.


5. I don't know about your state but here in VA you are required to get a Termite Inspection ($60), water test ($40), and septic inspection ($250) if you are not connected to sewer. The seller usually pays for these.

6. after the inspections are done let the lawyer do his job.

The hardest thing about selling a home is the coordination of all of the steps. Timing is critical... You have to get your buyer out of his house (sold or end lease) ,You have to get out of your house and into your new residence, you have to get him into your house all the inspections have to be done within a certain time prior to closing and ANY lender involved is what will hold things up. Don't get upset if you have to move things ahead or back a couple days (because you will) count on someone not doing their job fully or on time and be ready to put foot in their rear.

Good luck

PS the paralegal or assist. at the lawyers office will be your best friend. DONT piss her off!! and get her a nice thank you gift after its all done.

Hope it works out for you
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Old 02-01-2008, 09:43 AM   #11
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Thanks nnk. I'm trying to detach myself from the house so I don't get hung up on my perceived price value.

The good news on dates is that I've got an existing home so I don't have to worry about timing a buy/sell on my part.
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Old 02-01-2008, 01:15 PM   #12
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Value is all about the market, and a little about your unit. I used to think that every little project I did to improve my condo would help it's value. But while selling it I realized that most buyers and buyers agents don't get to see most of the comps, so they don't really know how the condition of your unit compares to the other comps. So as long as you bring your unit up to "very inviting" cosmetic level, any deeper improvements don't make that much difference in the price you can get. If you fix some noncosmetic issue by adding soundproofing, structural reinforcement, upgraded plumbing or electrical, or upgrading to high-e windows, that kind of thing is not going to help your price much because the buyer will assume that all comparables have the same thing, not having seen them in person.

In other words, don't get too attached to the non-cosmetic improvements to your place... only value the cosmetic improvements and the things that will show up on an inspection report.
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Old 02-01-2008, 01:23 PM   #13
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fwiw, I'm selling with a broker. It's 5% standard; 3% if he sells to one of his clients, and $500 if I find my own buyer.
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Be aware
Old 02-01-2008, 02:28 PM   #14
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Be aware

foreclosures aren't usually considered market prices, but if you are competing with them, it can lower what you can get significantly. When they sold and how long it took to sell are both important. You will want to undercut any comparable listing or the buyer will have no incentive not to use a broker. You may know they are buying, but you probably don't know what they can or will afford. That is why it is relatively rare for these to work out.
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