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Seriously Considering For Sale By Owner

Posted by Jennifer Jameson on May 14, 2016
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So you want to avoid paying costly estate agency fees on your £250,000 home and decide to go For Sale By Owner or FSBO as it’s known.

Let’s take a safe, tried and tested method and way up the true costs.

Go to any FSBO site and they’ll tell you that they have testimonials from satisfied customers, all have saved a considerable amount of money using them. Here’s a fact to bear in mind. If they’ve sold 1,000 homes on their website in a year and can only produce 12-20 people willing to stand up and sing their praises, does it really work?

So, you’ve spent the weekend tidying your home and taking 30-40 photos at all different angles, a long description and a price you think the home is worth. So far so good.

How did you get the price? Maybe you called the local estate agent and wasted their time in order to get a valuation that you immediately add £10-15,000 to. So now you’re ready to upload it to a popular FSBO website for a minimal fee. Let’s be generous and say it costs £100 to do so. You’re not going to bother showcasing your home on social media because 1) you’ve no idea how and 2) you’ve not the time and think the FSBO website will do that for you.

After a visit to the local DIY shop, you erect a “For Sale” sign and wait for the phone to ring, which it does. Eventually.

Unknown people are calling you at all hours asking about the EPC rating, loft insulation, carpets etc. Some will make an appointment to view and not turn up, some will turn up and just be nosey neighbours or worse still the wind up merchants that take joy in viewing homes on a Sunday then making offers to buy and then pulling out for no reason.

You also have to contend with people knocking on your door on a Sunday afternoon to “view” your home, just as you’re about to sit down for dinner. Again, let’s be generous and say that your home has been on the FSBO website for 26 weeks (that’s the average length of time an estate agent takes to sell a home) and despite many viewings, there’s been no serious offers, if any.

Still, it’s all good and at least you’re saving £2,500 on estate agency fees. But are you?

Let’s say you earn the average salary, which equates to £10 per hour. Every viewing takes an hour and you’ll do an average of 12 viewings to get an offer. It takes an average of 4 offers before one is accepted. That’s an average of 48 viewings which equals £480. Still saving money though, right?

Finally, you’ve managed to negoiate on an offer and now need to instruct solicitors etc. Here’s where things get very tricky.

You have to liaise with the buyer’s surveyor, arrange time off work to be at home for the survey. Let’s say you take a day’s annual leave rather than lose money having the time off. You”ll need to be able to talk to the buyers and negoiate any reductions needed owing to a poor surveyors report.

Then it’s the endless solicitor “chase” and the emotional roller-coaster of selling or not sold. Can you make or take private phone calls at work? What happens if, while on the emotional roller-coaster, the buyer pulls the plug via their solicitor. Can you handle the emotion and remain calm and start the negotiations again?

All the while you have to remember that there’s absolutely no one to talk to when things start to go pear shaped. Your solicitor will still want paying if the deal falls through and you’ll need to relist your home on the FSBO site again, another £100 maybe. What price have you put on the emotional pressure it puts on your relationship with your wife/partner and children?

When you’ve added up the real cost of selling a home via FSBO, was it worth saving the £2,500 estate agency fee?

So how can an estate agent justify their fee on a £250,000 home? Very easily.

The clocks starts ticking as soon as the For Sale sign goes up.

A good estate agent will have a strong social media presence and have your home online in minutes and visible to the world. The hard work starts when the phone rings. A good estate agent is available during the working day and some even work late to cater for a vendors working hours. The 10 calls you got during the week and had to call back during your lunch hour, have now been answered and responded to within minutes.

The viewings that cancel at the last minute are virtually non-existent because the estate agent has verified each and every viewing and dropped the nosey neighbour and or time wasters because they are the ones doing the viewings while you’re at work. Also, there’s no one knocking on the door on a Sunday afternoon, it’s by appointment only. This also means there’s no need to take the day off work in the hope that a viewing will show up.

Problems with the surveyors report are handled quickly and without emotion, meaning that any potential problems that need addressing can be handled by someone that will know if the buyers are “trying it on” and looking for a price reduction unnecessarily

The solicitor rollercoaster is almost non-existent because estate agents are in contact with them all day, everyday and can fire off an email in minutes.

Completion day comes and the sale goes through. As you look at the profit you’ve made on the sale ask yourselves the question “was paying the agents fee worth it”.

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