Friday, April 30, 2010

Real Estate - FSBO Versus Professional Representation By Beverly Manago

Given the impact of the real estate crisis, many people are eager to sell their homes. Many real estate professionals (or would-be real estate professionals) are eager to take advantage of this trend.

However, many homeowners are voicing their preference For Sale by Owner (FSBO) transactions, wherein people sell their houses directly, without the help of a real estate agent or office. Understandably, real estate agents and offices often want to get such home owners to change their minds. What follows are some arguments that agents and real estate office staff can use to convince FSBO owners to work with a middleman (or woman).

Firstly, there is the necessity of avoiding legal entanglements. The sale of a house, apartment, flat, etc. is often much more complicated than it appears. Rules can differ from state to state or country to country, and the process can become much harder if the buyer and seller come from different states, or even different countries, as can be the case with the sale of commercial properties. Brokerage offices and agents often know real estate law inside out, and can refer the buyer and seller to an attorney or other legal specialist, if necessary.

Secondly, there is the fact that, without an agent, a seller often has a very small circle of contacts. As a result, the property is usually sold to a person the seller already knows. This can make negotiations difficult. A friendship might be strained by aggressive negotiations. Conversely, past history (good and bad) can restrain one or both parties from exerting their best effort to get the deal they want.

Then again, some home owners may balk at the prospect of letting their homes go to total strangers. You might counter this concern with the point that they might actually find it much easier to let go of the sold residence if they do not know the next owner, and will not have to see them. On the other hand, if they sell the house to a friend or acquaintance, they might end up having to visit their old house and watch somebody else using it.

However, let us say that the FSBO seller is dead-set on letting the house go to an acquaintance for whatever reason. Why get an agent anyway? Well, as a third party, the agent can use his or her expertise to come up with a fair market price for the dwelling. If the parties directly involved in the sale wish to use a lower price for friendship's sake, then that is up to them. However, the presence of a market price declared by an expert may serve as a good starting point.

In addition, you should be prepared to answer questions about the safety of the furnishings or other belongings, should any people unknown to the seller be allowed into the house. In such cases, it helps if you or your office can attest to a good record, and extensive experience in the field.