Business / Economy

REAL ESTATE SNAPSHOTS: Should you sell your house on your own?

Selling a home on your own is a risky proposition
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FSBO – For Sale By Oblivious

Whenever the market favors the seller, the siren call of selling your home yourself (For Sale By Owner or FSBO) begins to call seductively. "Why should I pay for a real estate agent?  I can do this myself and save a fortune!"

Nice thought, but statistics show this is not the case. One: Homes listed by owners sell for $40K less than a similar house listed by a Realtor. Two: Homes listed by owners take longer to sell. Three:  Many owners who begin the FSBO process give up because they tire of having to qualify potential buyers, arrange showings, pay for marketing of the home and deal with buyers' agents.  It is a full-time job, as any Realtor can tell you.

There will always be FSBOS. There will always be people who represent themselves in a court of law. There will always be people who refuse to see a doctor or follow his or her advice. There will be one born every day…

But the main reason for not selling your home by yourself is still the risk. There are lots of mandatory disclosures, new legislation, contractual quagmires and nightmares the general public has no information on.  It required a great deal of study and education to become a great Realtor, and the learning curve for a novice seller is huge. 


This amazes me. Silicon Valley has officially become the most expensive real estate area in the United States, surpassing San Francisco by 20 percent.  Here we are,  a beacon of natural beauty in the urban jungle, and yet we remain relatively affordable.  Is it any wonder people are willing to join guerilla commuting in order to not live in a coat closet?

As of March 8, there were only 84 properties on the multiple listing service (MLS).  But only nine of them were under $400K. That doesn't feel very affordable, does it?

If you are thinking about making a move out of the area to a more affordable area, or out of state, begin a dialogue with your local Realtor now. They will help you determine what you might hope to net out of a home sale.  They can also find you a reputable, honest Realtor in the area(s) which you are considering.  Make it easier on yourself…get a team of trusted professionals working for you earlier rather than later.


People often ask me how to get started working towards their first home.  Whether you are a first time buyer or hoping to move up or scale back, it is imperative to get a good lender working along with your Realtor.  Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?  If you know a great lender ask her or him for the name of some great agents.  If you already have a trusted Realtor, get names of lenders from him or her.  Good people work with other good people, right?

So it doesn't matter which route you go.  Just don't take the path of least resistance, okay?  Who you work with really does make a huge difference.  

Even if you currently cannot purchase a home, a good lender will help you understand what you need to do to eventually meet your goal, whether it is to develop a savings plan or to clean up spotty credit. 


Looking to update your existing home?  Take tips from the new home builders and follow their trends. 


Though the demand for stainless steel appliances is still strong, there is a growing demand for the white on white kitchen.  For the first time, quartz counters are being installed more frequently than granite.


Rich neutral colors are very popular now, be it white, taupe, cream or gray. Color is introduced with furnishings and accent pieces. Who knew aqua would be back in a big way? It seems to come along once every 30 years, the 50s, the 80s and back now.


Though textured carpets are still big, the demand for hardwood is rising among consumers. Not just for kitchens or living rooms, it often extends to bedrooms and baths. The dark flooring is most popular right now.


The open floor plan, or great room, is still the most popular design trend, perfect for integrated living and entertaining. The demand for outdoor rooms remains strong, especially here in San Benito County where our near-perfect climate makes the space usable throughout the year.


There is a shift from the big soak tub (jetted or not) dominating. Today, we see more freestanding tubs, even with a return to the clawed feet of olden days. And sometimes there is no tub at all! Showers are coming into their own, with multiple shower heads or the luxury of steam.

When updating your home, it is wise to keep an eye on future appeal. You should have the space you want and can use, but keep your eye on the bigger picture of what will be best when it is time for you to move on. Just as in fashion, the trendiest things now will effectively date your home in the future.

It's a good life.

Nants Foley is co-broker at Four Corners Real Estate Group in Hollister. She may be contacted at [email protected] or 831-801-5110.

Nants Foley - Broker Associate

Nants Foley is a real estate broker DRE 01222234 and writer who works throughout California. She makes her home at Quicksilver Farm in San Benito County.