Instead, they might drive around a neighborhood looking for signs of properties that are for sale by owners or mail letters to existing homeowners alerting them to a buyer who’s interested in a similar property to theirs.
We’ve already talked about the silliness of writing letters to homeowners who aren’t actually selling their homes. Now let’s talk quickly about the “for sale by owners” and why this notion’s equally senseless.
There are two basic reasons why someone would go the unrepresented seller route:
- They don’t want to work with (read: pay) a real estate agent
- They don’t want to hear what a real estate agent has to say about the value of their property.
Specific example: recently, I had clients looking in Westbrook Village and they stumbled across a casita being sold by an unrepresented seller. They called the sign and were put in touch with a neighbor who gave them the grand tour of what, admittedly, was a decent looking property.
Decent, that is, except for the price which happened to be around 15 to 20 percent above the current market value for that floor plan and square footage.
Seeing this same neighbor the next day as we peeked in the windows, she said to me, “it’s priced reasonably, don’t you think?” What I wanted to say was “no, not even close.” But in the interest of being polite I mumbled something about needing to verify versus the comps I already knew by heart.
This seller apparently would offer a commission to a buyers’ agent but didn’t want to have a listing agent give them the news he didn’t want to hear – his property is worth far less than he happens to think it is.
Truth be told, putting a sign in the front yard and calling it good will get the vast majority of sellers nowhere. Online sites (read: Zillow) will help some, though not all (read: Trulia) accept “listings” from owners directly. (Why not? I have no clue, actually.)
There’s a reason the concept of the Multiple Listing Service was developed, and that was to market homes between brokerages and between agents and not rely on a sign and a post in the yard. The latter isn’t particularly effective.
Unrepresented sellers are like the shy kid in the back of the class who doesn’t want to raise his or her hand and be called on by the teacher. Sure they may know the answer and they may want to sell, but they’re doing everything in their power not to be noticed.
Bottom line … if someone’s going unrepresented because they don’t want to pay agents, I have no reason to bring them my clients when I almost certainly can find a near identical property. (Unless my buyer wants to pay me out of pocket, which almost none do.) And if they’re going unrepresented because they have an inflated opinion of their home’s value, I again have no reason to bring my clients to them knowing the price is ridiculous.
If you’re in the mood to waste your time and an agent’s, there are multiple others in the Valley who haven’t figured out that it makes no sense to show homes that never will be purchasable.
And on that invented word, I call it quits.