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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-09-2007, 03:00 PM   #21
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

Right now Craig's List doesn't provide enough screening tools for real estate. I wonder why there is a # bedrooms for the rental search but not for the sale search.

Given Zillow's offerings for Bay area real estate maybe Craig isn't the more efficient option.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-09-2007, 03:15 PM   #22
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

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Originally Posted by kumquat
I was refering to MY comments as uninformed and uneducated, not to OP's. Sorry if I confused anyone.
my mistake. misunderstood 'this post.'

(the post-Clinton era is hell--not sure what anything means anymore....)
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-09-2007, 03:18 PM   #23
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

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Originally Posted by Brat
Right now Craig's List doesn't provide enough screening tools for real estate.
Better do something with that idea, Brat, before Craig (or Sergey & Larry) see this post...
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-09-2007, 03:45 PM   #24
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

While I am not a big fan of realtors, they have managed to hold on to control of much of the market, so FSBO is still a real handicap. Another alternative to consider is using a realtor but negotiating a lower rate. We sold several proprieties in No Cal a little while ago at 4% commission. You are already willing to pay 3% to a selling agent, so the delta isn't that much.

And no matter how you list it, I would replace the carpets. For the money, one of the best things you can do to make your property stand out.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-09-2007, 04:17 PM   #25
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

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And no matter how you list it, I would replace the carpets. For the money, one of the best things you can do to make your property stand out.
Gotta decide who you're selling to.

Frugal buyers like spouse and I would rather see a place with good bones and drab décor that we can fix up to our tastes. It doesn't matter to us that the carpet is high-end brand-new if it's the wrong color or material. And even if the place had bright shiny new carpeting that we liked, we still wouldn't want to compensate the seller for its retail price.

OTOH if you're looking for "hold-my-hand-and-show-me-what-to-do" buyers who can't imagine what the place would look like redecorated and can only see the shabby carpet, not the potential... well, better go carpet shopping. Good luck with them.

You can imagine which class of buyer is more likely to stroll into a FSBO unencumbered unaccompanied by a realtor.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-09-2007, 04:27 PM   #26
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

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Originally Posted by free4now
1. How to price it. I'm thinking to price a bit higher than the other inferior units that are on the market now. But the fact that those others haven't sold makes me wonder... is it just the slow winter season or are they overpriced. How would you price it?
FWIW, I have a condo in Santa Clara that appraised at $510k when I refi-ed in Oct. 05. Last year we put it up on the market in May at $470k (as per suggestion of my realtor based on comps, etc), and progressively dropped it until it got to $425k. We then took it off the market in Nov.

Our place is 200 sq feet larger, and nicer (hardwood floors, crown molding, double-paned windows, etc) than a place that sold a few months prior to ours going on the market at $415k.

Also, my real estate agent keeps me posted on the market (he's also a friend), and right now condos are *NOT* hot here. Too many developers committed and now there's a flood of condos on the market in Silicon Valley. That is part of the reason you're seeing condos in your complex not selling.

If I were to do it all over again, I'd have priced ours at about $440k and it probably would have sold relatively quickly before the market really tanked.

In your shoes, I would first ignore everything Zillow has to say. It's always overpriced on home values (at least in this area, it said my place was something around $600k).

Next, notice the comps are all at least 3 months old. The market isn't any better right now, so you can assume that those are your best-case scenarios. I would recommend pricing your condo to definitively beat out the others in your complex (even if they're nicer), so that when people see the comparison between yours and theirs, they say, "Why is this one cheaper when it's bigger/nicer?" It gets them interested... gets calls and action moving. It also gives you a chance to say, "Nothing's wrong with it -- I just want out." Buyers like to hear that (though it may encourage them to low-ball).

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Originally Posted by free4now
2. How to market it. I'll definitely create a detailed website with floorplan, and advertise on craigslist every week or so. I'm planning on doing open homes, advertised on craigslist and in the SF Chronicle Sunday open homes.
The question is whether to pay someone to get it on MLS or not. I'm thinking that because this is Silicon Valley where everyone looks for things on the craigslist anyway, that MLS ight not be that necessary. Maybe I'll put it on ebay too.
Get it on MLS no matter what. Many home buyers will search the public MLS here for things... in fact, I exclusively use MLS in our search for our next home purchase (when we decide to put our current place back on the market). I like craigslist, but it's not the first place I look.

Also, by getting it on MLS and offering the buyer's commission, you encourage realtors to bring people by your place. In fact, I would recommend that since you're doing FSBO, you up the commission to 4% -- buyer's realtors are your best friend, and few things motivate realtors like an extra $4,000-$5,000 in a down market.

As for the other stuff, I have no idea so I'll leave that to others.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-09-2007, 04:50 PM   #27
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

before we got serious about selling house i posted the listing on craiglist for a few months. received all of one inquiry from a lady in northern palm beach county who was trying to sell her house & was looking for commiseration.

in the day we could have just stuck a sign on the front lawn, posted an unreasonable asking price and had it sold in a week. but this is a different game.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-09-2007, 06:10 PM   #28
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Frugal buyers like spouse and I would rather see a place with good bones and drab décor that we can fix up to our tastes. It doesn't matter to us that the carpet is high-end brand-new if it's the wrong color or material. And even if the place had bright shiny new carpeting that we liked, we still wouldn't want to compensate the seller for its retail price.
So would we, but my experience is that you will lose most prospective buyers based on a negative first impression and that buyers like you who see past the superficial also expect a deep discount which costs more than some decent carpet.

And since everyone here knows you are never leaving the island, you and spouse are not in the target demographic in any case.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-09-2007, 07:39 PM   #29
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

We have been talking to a realtor as we ponder what we should do to sell our home in the next year or so. I could see her trying to imagine what the buyer would value. My similarly situated neighbors are all professionals, or retired professionals. A couple have kids, older kids. That would be our market.

The OP needs to consider what her potential buyer would want. To do that she should look at who purchased into her development in the last year or two. First time buyers scraping to put together the down payment and who won't have $$ for improvements? Empty nesters who are selling their single family dwelling for whom upgrades are no issue?

If the buyer is 60+ popcorn ceilings in very good condition are no big deal, we survived them and if we are downsizing then we have the cash to get rid of it. If she isn't going to remove the popcorn then don't replace the carpet (assuming it is decent). Just clean it thoroughly. The next owner can use it as a drop cloth.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-09-2007, 08:49 PM   #30
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

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Frugal buyers like spouse and I would rather see a place with good bones and drab décor that we can fix up to our tastes.
Yeah but you're one of only four home buyers with actual good sense. I figured a couple of times there would be lots of buyers who would look at the property, look at the price, and jump. They dont. I finally wised up and learned to paint and carpet a home, even if the new owners are just going to rip it out and replace it or paint over it.

My dad tried for six months to sell his condo, which had a very tasteful (imo) dark cranberry carpet in it. People would come in and say "ooh...I love the place...but...I hate that carpet" and never come back. Maybe $1500 worth to replace it. He finally ripped it out and put in a nice beige carpet and it sold in a few weeks to one of the first people to look at it after he replaced it.

Makes no sense at all to me as a reasonable person, but the thing is...most people arent reasonable and cant look past whats right in front of them.

And yeah, the agent business is starting to circle the wagons and go into protectionism mode. Good luck to them with that.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-09-2007, 09:01 PM   #31
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

Well, I really don't know where to start. I am a RE Broker, Appraiser and author of [REMOVED BY MODERATOR]. I have over 20 years experience as a licensed real estate professional and some of the advice given here is very apropos but some is likely to lead to problems (legal or otherwise) down the road. Be very careful with your disclosures or they will come back to haunt you. You really need to be very diligent in obtaining the most up to date and "TRUE" comps; don't put too much faith in free comp sites. Your "list price" will make or break you. You also need to present better than your competition and market properly, not just using free sites like Craigslist and Zillow. You can even get on the MLS without paying an extortionate 6% fee through flat fee mls companies. I wish you all the best in your venture and just urge you to be careful. Unfortunately I don't have the time or space to rewrite my book here, and my intention is not self promotion, but you can check it out at [URL REMOVED BY MODERATOR]. I hope it helps.


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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-10-2007, 01:56 PM   #32
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

I'm somewhat surprised at the number of responses that basically said "If you don't give the real estate agents their extortion payoff you're not going to sell it." I have been toying with the idea of offering a 3.5% buyer agent fee to get them motivated. I ran that idea across a couple of real estate agents I knew, and their reaction was basically a stunned confusion... Why would you do that? Are you that desperate? If you're that desperate to sell why don't you just pay for a full 6% listing? Don't you think that will make buyers lowball you because you're clearly so desperate?

Of course these RE agents were angling to list my property so it's hard to put much faith in their reaction.

Quote:
The OP needs to consider what her potential buyer would want. To do that she should look at who purchased into her development in the last year or two. First time buyers scraping to put together the down payment and who won't have $$ for improvements? Empty nesters who are selling their single family dwelling for whom upgrades are no issue?
FYI I'm a he, not a she. I wonder if Ric James (my avatar) gets that reaction.

The target market for these condos is definitely youngish couples, aged 30-45. When I moved in around 1998 the complex was mostly filled with empty nester retired folks, but they've steadily moved out and now it's the tech workers who can't yet afford a SFR who are moving in. We're even starting to see a number of youngish families living in these condos.

I suppose that does argue for removing the popcorn asbestos ceilings. On the other hand that would require having me move out to do the work, meaning every month I'd be in the hole ~$1500 in rent for my next place (plus loss of the ~$700 my roomate is paying me) while I was preparing and selling the place. And it would make it more of a hassle to travel a half hour each way to show the place FSBO. I think I'm going to stick with the ceilings and get bids to remove them for the buyers.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-10-2007, 02:15 PM   #33
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

I've purchased my last two homes from FSBO sellers (with no buyer's agent) but sold my last two properties using a realtor. One sale was of a CA rental property while I was living in FL and the other sale was of my FL home for which the realtor fees were paid by my new employer in Ohio who wanted me there yesterday.

If I had had the time or I had been in close proximity to the property, I would have definitely tried the FSBO route if not only to help speed up the coming shift away from the current system.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-10-2007, 03:02 PM   #34
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

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I've purchased my last two homes from FSBO sellers (with no buyer's agent) but sold my last two properties using a realtor.
Did you pay full price and save the seller the realtor fee?
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-10-2007, 04:01 PM   #35
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

In both cases, I paid what the house was worth to me. Who got the money was of no concern to me.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-11-2007, 11:42 PM   #36
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

I spent this afternoon running around to open homes, and I've now seen the two condos with the same floorplan, and lots of other more expensive properties in the area. Things do seem to be slow... most of the properties had reduced their prices. One two million dollar home nearby was really pulling out all the stops with Sat and Sun open homes, and lots of very classy staging furniture.

And it's clear now that my unit is a cut above the two other similar units for sale.

I saw several properties on the market with the same popcorn asbestos ceilings in my neighborhood, so I'm now not as concerned about that being a stumbling block.

What I did notice was how much of a difference new carpet makes to the feel of the property. I think I'll go ahead and replace the carpeting in mine before selling. I also noticed what a difference fresh paint makes. Even though the paint in my place is quite decent, there are a couple of rooms in my place that I think need repainting to make the it look primo. I think with the upgrades in my unit and the better view, it could stand out as a "ready to go" place.

And because the market is so slow out here now, I'm leaning towards getting on MLS right away. The only thing holding me back is that if I end up bringing in a real estate agent later that MLS fee will be wasted.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-11-2007, 11:48 PM   #37
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

What's the MLS fee, $500? That's 0.1% of your asking price. If prices are dropping at a rate of 5%/year, you should be much more concerned about selling it quickly.

FWIW, I agree that new carpet and paint are generally great investments.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-12-2007, 03:59 AM   #38
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

With the caveat that my only experience with Bay Area real estate, is buying and selling a house, in the previous millenium.. 1999, I'd say you maybe being a little to cheap.

You definitely want an MLS listing, Craigslist is great especially in the Bay Area, but don't kid youself the vast majority of real estate still goes through MLS.

Given that you are a first time seller, I think one of those discount broker (flat fee or 1%) might be money well spent. The disclosure laws in California are the strictest in the nation, is the wife of your friendly quiet neighbor next door pregnant, did the downstair tenant serve time for assault, do you know which one you have to disclose? Eventhough, I suspect you don't get a lot of handholding with a flat fee broker, MLS listing, some legal advice, and another person to sanity check your price is probably several thousand dollars.

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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-12-2007, 10:11 AM   #39
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

My only other point after reading Clif's post is that in my experience, craigslist buyers are far sharper negotiators than the average home buyer i've run across.
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA
Old 02-12-2007, 11:10 AM   #40
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Re: Questions on Selling FSBO condo in Northern CA

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Originally Posted by clifp
With the caveat that my only experience with Bay Area real estate, is buying and selling a house, in the previous millenium.. 1999, I'd say you maybe being a little to cheap.

You definitely want an MLS listing, Craigslist is great especially in the Bay Area, but don't kid youself the vast majority of real estate still goes through MLS.

Given that you are a first time seller, I think one of those discount broker (flat fee or 1%) might be money well spent. The disclosure laws in California are the strictest in the nation, is the wife of your friendly quiet neighbor next door pregnant, did the downstair tenant serve time for assault, do you know which one you have to disclose? Eventhough, I suspect you don't get a lot of handholding with a flat fee broker, MLS listing, some legal advice, and another person to sanity check your price is probably several thousand dollars.
I have no faith at all in the ability of a real estate agent to help me set a price; their interests are simply too misaligned. When I was speaking with the RE agent who sold me the place, she gave me this spiel about how the slow real estate market means there are fewer properties for many buyers, so she would attempt to instigate a multiple offer bidding war with a lowball price. I gave her this look like are you smoking crack, and mentioned how the other condo hasn't gotten a single offer in 60+ days.

I think at that point she remembered that when I bought this condo it was the mirror image of that situation: This was in the late 90's when multiple offer bidding wars were common, and the seller had set a lowball price to motivate multiple offer bidding wars. For whatever reason those multiple offers didn't materialize and I swooped in to buy it at the low list price.

So she changed her tack and started talking about how she would bring in so many buyers that I would have a better chance of selling with an above market price.


For legal advice I'll go to a real estate attorney; I'm now sure I'll definitely need one.

There is an issue that I will need legal advice on how to disclose:

There is a 1/4" crack in the slab concrete floor in the living room, underneath the carpet. It runs the length of the living room and into the kitchen underneath the tiles. Past residents of the condo have had issues with water seeping out of it and ruining carpeting. While I've been living here, there was a time once when a few drops of water seeped up through the kitchen tiles in a record rainy season. Since then the condo association has made very significant drainage improvements like redoing a concrete patio outside to angle away from the building instead of towards it, and adding french drains along the uphill side of the building. After those improvements there hasn't been any problem, well except that once there was a problem with ants coming up through the crack. I solved the ant problem by simply caulking it up. This slab is technically not a part of the unit being sold since it's community property and the condo association is responsible for its maintenance, but it's clear I'll have to disclose the issue.
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