Fri 10 Jul 09

So we had our house listed For Sale by Owner with a local FSBO website for about six weeks with pretty consistent interest. One or two interested buyers a week or so. A couple repeat viewings and emails or phone calls exchanged indicating people were considering making an offer on the house, but no official offers. After six weeks, I could feel the traffic starting to taper off and even though interest had been decent I realized we probably needed the coverage of an MLS listing to really get the ball rolling.

Now this drives me bat crazy because I can’t stand the Realtor racket. Hate it. I think it’s an absolute ridiculous waste of money for the services offered. The paperwork, especially on the seller’s end, is a piece of cake (or worst case, I’ll pay a lawyer a couple hundred to look things over). I can take my own pictures, make my own fliers, do my own marketing. The problem is everyone uses an agent to buy and those buyer’s agents are only showing MLS-listed homes. In six weeks of FSBO I didn’t have a single agent come through our house with a client. Not one. And I know they were checking the FSBO site and Craigslist because I’d get phone calls and emails hawking their services with promises of buyers they were working with right now who would be interested. Then bring them by, jerk! I’m offering the standard 3% buyer’s agent commission. I don’t get it.

You know, I’d be fine with 1-2%. That’s fair for the paperwork completed and the time you spent driving your client around to look at houses. But 6-7% is a serious chunk out of my sale price.

But you can’t fight the monopoly machine alone, so after six weeks I started shopping around for deals, eventually finding a guy who offered a $1000 flat rate to list with him (and 3% to the buyer’s agent). He did no advertising, hosted no open houses, didn’t print a single flier. 1000 bucks to MLS our house and handle all of the negotiations and paperwork. Right on. I’m all for a la carte realty. The catch of course is that you pay up front, so if for some reason the house doesn’t sell, you’re still out a grand.

Now on the MLS (and therefore officially on the market) we’ve had about 12 showings in two and half weeks. Lots of great feedback and potential buyers seemingly on the cusp of making an offer according to their agents.

Yesterday we had our first offer on the house. I was at the library after work when I got a call from our agent saying a buyer’s agent wanted to present an offer in person that evening. Now, in person is a little atypical, but whatever, come on by. I started thinking, well maybe she wants to present in person since it’s such a good offer and she’s assuming we can wrap up the paperwork right then and there.

An hour later we’re all sitting around our kitchen table and out comes the offer. Oh boy, oh boy.

$33 grand under our asking price! 33 thousand dollars! 33 thousand.

My head spun a little, you’ve got to be kidding. I don’t even have that much into the house. I’d be paying thousands of dollars to the bank at closing. And come on, at that price you should be buying a crack house somewhere in Yakima gang territory. At that price this house would’ve sold in about 40 minutes FSBO.

This crazy woman then proceeded to try justify the offer by breaking it down on paper simply by price per square foot without any consideration to neighborhood, home condition, etc. Ah the desire to meet in person comes out. Okay, you know it’s one thing to approach a seller with your insane offer and show a little sheepishness. “I know this wasn’t the price you’re looking for, but it’s the best my client can offer at the moment. We thought we’d at least put it out there.” But don’t try to argue that my house is on par with a crack house.

We were polite though we probably shouldn’t have been. “Okay thanks, we’ll be in touch soon.” Much disbelief and exasperation was expressed once the delusional one departed though. Not a whole lot to work with there. So that was a frustrating evening.

We did counter offer though. $30 thousand above their offer. Almost there guys. So we’ll see how it all shakes out.

7 thoughts on “Fri 10 Jul 09

  1. Aunt Joyce

    This posting makes me so unexcited to put our house on the market in about six months. Ughhhh. I don’t even want to think about it.

  2. JOZ

    Oh, Josh, what an emotional rollercoaster. Sounds like you’ve done the right thing by listing with a realtor, though it doesn’t sound like your realtor plans to do much. So you’ve paid the entry fee into the game, and at least people are coming through your house. You and Mary have done a lot to make the house look good. You must have been so shocked by the offer. Your counter offer makes sense. Hang in there, Josh. I don’t envy you, but I know you can do this!

  3. Josh Post author

    Yeah, selling a house is horrible. I like my clutter. I like the freedom to disappear into the mountains for a day without worrying about getting a call for a showing. I complain everyday to Mary and she tells me I whine too much.

  4. jordan

    Have you considered keeping the house and just renting it out? Could be a money maker.

  5. Josh Post author

    I like our house/location enough that I considered it briefly. In the end though it’s nice not to have to hassle with renters.

  6. Malone

    I would have loved to see your response. If it was me, there might have been some angry laughing, followed by paper ripping, following by a request for them “Get out!” $33 grand under? In person? I can’t believe her realtor went along with that.

    I’m trying to fathom why someone wanting to offer that price would be looking at homes with your price on them that aren’t own by a bank.

    Regarding renters – via Craig’s list, I got renters to sign a lease on the Burton house after the Calvin kids left. It just took a month and numerous no-shows.

  7. Josh Post author

    Yeah, it was either spectacularly audacious or spectacularly ill-informed. I really can’t figure out what they were thinking. It would be one thing if the house had been listed for a year or was in foreclosure to take a shot like that. But it had been two weeks. And the agent had actually sold a similar house in our neighborhood back in January for a little more than we have ours listed for. I don’t get it at all. You have to know your offer isn’t going through so you’re only building bad-will with the home owner and making yourself look unprofessional arguing for your price in person.

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