FSBO Open Houses – What If You Get An Offer?

You’ve decided to sell your home yourself and decide to have an open house to show off the property. Potential buyers come and you get an offer. What now?

Qualifying Buyers 

Your home is looking sharp and you’ve got the word out telling people about the open house. Now you need to be prepared to take action if a qualified buyer attends, likes your home and wants to buy it. 

Most qualified buyers will have a strong lender letter. If one of them wants to buy, you can move on to the next step. There may be people who come to your open house who would like to buy but don’t yet have a lender letter. Let me suggest a mutually helpful alliance for dealing with that situation.

Call several lenders before you schedule your open house. Tell them you’re planning an open house and you’d like to have a lender on hand to help buyers (even if they don’t want to buy your home) figure out what they can afford. Tell them you’d also like them to help you evaluate any lender letter you’re offered by a potential buyer. Choose the lender you feel most comfortable with and work out a mutually acceptable date for your open house. 

You can introduce all attendees at your open house to the lender. This often proves to be helpful to you, some of the buyers who attend and can be a source of additional loans for the lender. Everybody wins. 

Be Prepared for Action

You need to know how you want to handle a contract should someone want to make an offer. Do you have an attorney who will draw it? Are you going to suggest using a contract form? If so, have one on hand. Do you have a specific settlement company you’d like to use? Do your homework and think these things through in advance. Buyers may have ideas and connections of their own. You should consider any reasonable suggestion a potential buyer makes, but be prepared with your own approach if the buyer isn’t sure how to proceed. The point is to plan your course of action in advance. 

In Closing

FSBO sellers often worry whether anyone will attend their open houses. They are then happily surprised when people arrive. Such happiness can turn to embarrassment when an offer is made and the FSBO seller isn’t sure how to handle it. If you think positively and prepare, this need not happen to you.

Spanish Real Estate: Trick for Property Website

For the third successive year, specialist website PropertyInSpain.Net enjoyed the Christmas number one ranking with leading search engine Google.

In the 36 months at number one for key search phrases, pre-qualified visitor traffic from Google search results to the triple award winning website has doubled from 20% to 40%. In addition, Google lists 100s of important pages of advice, information and property showcases from PropertyInSpain.Net that attract 1,000s of serious property buyers and investors.

A traffic spike of 114,000 hits resulted in 4,000 people in one day viewing the EUR 1M Mallorca home of the Christopher Columbus family, sold by PropertyInSpain.Net to a UK TV mogul at the price demanded by it’s German owner. The value could double if FBI and Granada University DNA experts establish a 100% birthplace link with the explorer.

PropertyInSpain.Net’s Terry Walker said: “We never dreamed we’d get the elusive number one slot for three successive years as Google lists 8.2M rival webpages promoting property in Spain. Once again it’s a good Christmas for us and for Spain, as the country remains where it belongs – as the world’s leading living, property buying and holiday destination and being promoted by the top ranked Google website.”

The highly automated website was designed and developed by a creative team led by Rob Pagan of Smallworldit.com following earlier successes with the Delia Smith and Virgin Books websites. The site’s PowerSearch feature is designed to help buyers discover, shortlist and order local checks on availability and price changes on 11,000 properties across 10 main residential Costas, Ibiza and Mallorca.

FSBO Real Estate Tip – Don’t Do It

My Number one FSBO Tip? Don’t sell it yourself! A “FSBO,” or house “for sale by owner” can sell fast, and for as much as it would have if listed with a real estate agent. Sometimes – but not normally. Consider the following ten points.

 1. Buyers work with agents. Most look at MLS listings. Sell it yourself, and they won’t see or hear about your home. How do you find that “right” buyer or get top dollar when you’re invisible to most of the market?

 2. Your FSBO will get lower offers. Naturally, the buyer thinks you’ll take less because you’re saving the commission! Save a $10,000 commission, get $10,000 less – where’s the advantage in that?

 3. Advertising is expensive. The costs the real estate office normally pays are yours if you sell it yourself. How much could you spend on ads if it takes a a year to sell?

 4. They have the resources. And you don’t. Agents have books of sold properties to look at, for example, to determine the best price for your home. You can dig through county records, but you do have to value your time too, right?

 5. They know the market. What’s the target market for your house? Young couples, retirees? What features do they want? You should know these things before you write your ads. An experienced real estate salesperson will know.

 6. They know the laws. What about written disclosures, and who pays for the real estate transfer tax? When you sell it yourself you don’t get to ignore the laws.

 7. Are you a good salesperson? Can you develop rapport and properly answer objections? Could your defensiveness scare off a buyer who criticizes your home? Think back on your own purchases, and you’ll realize that a good salesperson makes a difference.

 8. Paperwork. Will you help the buyer properly fill out an offer to purchase? An agent would. Do you have the other closing documents ready?

 9. Agents negotiate for you. When did you last learn a new negotiating technique? Can you counter-offer without scaring off a buyer? A good salesperson is trained in these skills.

 10. You may not save anything. The documents, newspaper advertising, signs for the yard – it’s all your expense when you sell it yourself. After your hard work, you may get low offers and negotiate poorly. Honestly, sellers often net less money from the sale when they try to save the commission.

Most “FSBO” sellers eventually turn to a real estate agent for help. You could learn the things an agent does, but is it worth it to spend all that time and maybe not even save any money? Don’t sell it yourself unless you really know what you’re doing. That’s my number one FSBO tip.

Real Estate Market: Less People Are Renting Homes in Europe

Over the last 20 years there have been significant changes in the choices people are making in whether they wish to rent or own their house, flat or apartment. In the early 1980’s West European countries averaged between 50% and 60% of homes owner occupied as opposed to rented. However as years progress into the early 2000s there have been some very significant changes with most countries seeing a significant reduction in the number of properties rented. Some of the most significant changes in the percentage of properties rented in Western Europe are:

UK from 42% to 30%;

Luxembourg from 39% to 26%;

Netherlands from 58% to 46%;

Spain from 21% to 11%.

One possibility for this trend is the increasing standards of living combined with market changes improving the choice and availability of financial products to purchase properties. However also to be considered is the very significant differences when comparisons are made across countries. Below is a summary of the most recent data found on the percentage of homes rented for each country.

Austria 40%; Belgium 31%; Denmark 51%; Finland 32%; France 40%; Germany (ex FRG) 55%; Germany (ex DDR) 66%; Greece 20%; Ireland 16%; Italy 25%; Luxembourg 26%; Netherlands 46%; Portugal 21%; Spain 11% Sweden 39%; United Kingdom 30%.

One possible conjecture is that countries with a higher percentage of properties in the rental sector may have higher workforce mobility. This would suggest that Germany may have significantly higher workforce mobility than other West European countries. In contrast Spain may have relatively low workforce mobility.

The data available on property to rent across Western Europe raises many more questions than it answers however one factor that is very evident is the definite trend for a shift from rental to owner occupied homes. 

For landlords and real estate letting agents who have properties to rent this may also suggest that competition will increase to find tenants. However there are other factors to consider such as the type of rental property. For example the UK rental sector can be split into three main categories, these are Council (e.g. Government owned), Housing Associations (often charitable trusts) and Private (e.g. private landlords and investors). In 2003 the Private sector accounted for 35% of rental properties in the UK, and this percentage was increasing as more people invest in private rental property.

Overall it is difficult to draw precise conclusions however taking the UK example there are some specific factors, firstly overall rental stock has reduced significantly from the 1980s into the early 2000s, secondly there has been an increase in private rental properties, particularly within the last 10 years.   The increase in private rental has resulted in more companies who provide free services to landlords and tenants for homes to rent in London and throughout the UK.