The Truth About Phoenix Real Estate FSBOs

One more quick note from this article that I’ve been having fun with for the past couple of days

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:

  1. They don’t want to work with (read: pay) a real estate agent
  2. 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.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at

1 Comment

  • Adirondacks LakePlacid 7 years ago

    Real estate is a profession that should be occupied by only the most
    ethical, intelligent, and skilled people in the world. Real estate transactions
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    deals with many transactions for properties like apartments, houses, leasing
    land, and other rental homes. There are several documents that must be used to
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    regard to land sale contracts, deed forms required for registration purpose and
    also documents for leases and other rental activities. Some other forms are the
    land sale documents, the encumbrance certificate received from the authorized
    Registrar for the use of verification of the property details in regard to the
    ownership over the years, the buyer and seller contract forms which is vital
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