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Tom Kelly: Agents offer help, hints for FSBO sellers

Some people simply like to do the work themselves. The reasons vary – from saving money, to meeting new people, to learning a new skill. Others would simply prefer to spend their time elsewhere and hire somebody else to perform the task. Real estate is no different.

Barb Korducki would welcome the chance to take your real estate listing and market your property, but she’s also willing to teach you how to do it yourself.

Why would a dues paying member of the National Association of Realtors spend her free time teaching people how to take money out of her pocket?

“What goes around comes around,” said Korduki, an agent with Coldwell Banker.

“One day, they might need an agent, or have a friend that might need an agent. More importantly, they need to know what it takes to do the job right and actually get a deal to close.”

Korducki’s for sale by owner (FSBO) class stresses Internet strategies, the importance of setting a marketing budget and incorporating the costs of photography, staging and repair. The class also aims at solving the biggest problem areas revealed by FSBO surveys – setting an accurate sales price, prepping their home for sale and understanding and completing paperwork.

“We first started doing the classes in 1995 when Boeing let a lot of people go at the same time,” Korducki said. “Many of them did not have much equity in their homes and needed to get as much cash out of them as they could. Helping them get those homes sold – as quickly as possible – was the right thing to do.”

While NAR contends the number of consumers (50 percent) who would enlist the services of a professional salesperson the next time around is a good indicator of how difficult the process can be, the percentage of FSBO sellers willing to repeat the process actually has grown considerably in the past decade. A few years ago, 80 percent of all FSBO buyers surveyed indicated they would hire a real estate agent the next time around.

“A huge topic is whether or not it is advisable to FSBO if you are having a financial hardship and don’t believe you have enough equity to sell any other way,” Korducki said. “Anyone who is under water should seek out advice and referrals, especially if they have more than one loan on the house.”

While some FSBO transactions go through without a hitch and owners save thousands on commissions, sellers need to be prepared for unexpected developments.

Terry Murphy, author and Realtor, often assists sellers in marketing their homes after they become frustrated with a FSBO effort. Here are Murphy’s top five tips to sellers:

Your home may not be worth what you think: The biggest shock most sellers face is the true value of their homes, either determined by one or more agents in comparable market analysis reports or through actual offers from buyers. The reality is that markets change, and home values rise and fall.

People won’t love your home like you do: You love your home and fully expect others to appreciate the same qualities in it that you do, but buyers have their own lifestyles, preferences, tastes and attitudes. The chances of finding a buyer who will want your home “as is” are slim to none.

Sooner or later, you will lose your temper: The buyer, in order to improve bargaining leverage, may pick your home apart. Many of the buyer’s complaints and requests for repairs will be legitimate, but some may not.

Unexpected showings: Buyers aren’t going to operate on your schedule. There is no reason for an unaccompanied buyer to be in your home for any reason. Just say no.

Buyer rudeness: Every day, we experience rudeness in society. So why be surprised when buyers visit your home and leave their sweaty McDonald’s cup on your coffee table? Be ready for some rudeness.