For-Sale-By-Owner Questions and Answers
Sequim For Sale By Owner (FSBO), Port Angeles For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

What's So Hard About Selling My Own Home?

Question:  My husband and I want to sell our home on our own, and we don't see why it would be so hard.  We've had some luck buying and selling things at garage sales, and we sold two cars for good prices.  It seems like all we have to do is advertise it in the paper and on a FSBO website (and there are many), and when we find a buyer, we can get forms and tell the buyer to get their own loan from a loan company.  Right?  Are we missing something? 

Answer:  First, it's apparent to me that you want to make wise decisions.  Your question here proves that you continue to seek knowledge to make the best possible decision.  Second, I also appreciate the fact that you are asking with a sense of humility.  In my experience, it is pride and arrogance that gets us in trouble, and it's humility that leads to knowledge and wisdom.  Third, to answer your question, "Are we missing something?, the answer is "yes."  Let me explain.

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I'm 53 years old, and I've spent the past 30 years intensely involved in real estate from real estate sales to real estate attorney, and thousands of transactions in between.  I'm still learning!  It isn't what we know that ensnares us but what we don't know.  The answers you get are only as good as the questions you ask.  There literally are many Traps for the Unwary [read a few here].  Consider how many attorneys there are, and consider where they get all their business.  It's not because people do everything right. 

For example, if I pick just one of the dozens of Traps, which involves inadequate legal descriptions, I can drill down to tell you many problems that sellers make all the time with legal descriptions.  And many of the mistakes that are made with legal descriptions are what a buyer uses to get out of the contract the day before the scheduled closing.  How would you like to be involved in that kind of nightmare?  It would take 20 or 30 pages here to describe adequately what problems I have personally litigated on legal descriptions, but if you really are serious about selling your own home, you are welcome to call me [360-457-4587] or email me to discuss this further, or if you are a Sequim or Port Angeles homeowner, just call me to schedule your free consultation with me in the comfort of your own dining room table [see offer here]. 

I am not trying to scare you into hiring me as your Realtor.  I'm being absolutely honest with you.  I made a living for 20 years as a real estate attorney, because people kept making messes of their real estate transactions.  I had enough of that, the contentious disputes, the litigation, and billing clients thousands of dollars in legal fees on top of the losses they already had suffered.  Now I really enjoy helping people before they get into trouble.  I could write and talk for hours about problems and how to solve them, but I won't.  I tried to give you the short answer here, but much more is available on my websites, including the audio Traps for the Unwary, and you can talk to me or email me if you want to.   

Why sell your home by trial and error when so much money is at stake--your money!  Why do that when you can take advantage of 30 years of solid real estate experience and put it to work for you by hiring a professional?  A true professional Realtor will most likely get you more net proceeds than the cost of the commission.  There are two other reasonable probabilities.  One is that you will end up in a dispute with the buyer, which happens all the time, and that could cost you time and attorney's fees, not to mention stress.  The other one is that you could end up with a home that does not sell at all.  While you would save the real estate commission, you also could end up like many FSBO's that don't get their house sold at all. 

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                               Why Not Save The Real Estate Commission?

Question:
  I'm interested in selling my own home for one reason--to save the real estate commission.  What's wrong with that?

Answer:  Nothing.  That's a good American reason to be a For-Sale-By-Owner.  The question is, can you?  In other words, do you know how to price your home?  Do you know how to collect accurate information on fair market value?  Do you know how to make adjustments in the prices of the comparables?  Do you know the most and least effective ways to advertise and market?  Do you have experience developing compelling sales scripts that will attact buyers?  What about negotiating?  Can you negotiate for top dollar while not killing a transaction with a good buyer?  Do you know all about terms that change your net proceeds?  Are you aware of the top mistakes that FSBO's make regularly?  Do you know about tax implications?  Are you a competent document draftsman?  Can you include all relevant terms and language without ambiguities?  Do you know what legal documents are required by law in Washington and Clallam County, and in Sequim and Port Angeles?  Can you help your buyer get a loan (there's much more to this step than 99% realize)?  Can you provide the kind of attention and focus needed from the day there is a written agreement with your buyer until closing?  In other words, do you know how to be a transaction coordinator? 

If your answer to all of these question is an intelligent "yes," than I encourage you to sell your own home.  But if you can't talk for 20 minutes on each of these issues, you may be unprepared.  It takes many of us a lifetime to really begin to get good at many or most of these steps.  No one is naturally good at all of these things.  There are too many details that must be learned on the street.  If you have gained the knowledge and experience to competently handle all these questions and all the issues within each question, I would say, "Go for it, and God speed."
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