Selling your home on your own? Think again…

August 28, 2011

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Charles Rutenberg is rated #1

October 16, 2009

first-place-blue-ribbonIf you’ve been paying attention as you drive around Tampa Bay neighborhoods you’ve undoubtedly noticed an abundance of Charles Rutenberg Realty signs dotting the yards. There are good reasons for why we’re dominating the real estate market, but this blog post isn’t about the why of our success. It’s simply to note that we are successful and significantly more so than every other real estate brokerage in town.

Charles Rutenberg has 3x as many listings as the 2nd place real estate company. With 1997 total listings we have more listings than the next 4 brokerages combined. We control an impressive 19.46% of the market for active listings.

But active listings are only one indicator of success. Even more important than what we have for sale is what we actually have under contract. According to the Kenst Report, the industry ratings guide for the Tampa Bay area, Charles Rutenberg Realty is outperforming all other real estate brokerages. Our share of the market is just under 25% at 24.83%. Our nearest competitor comes in at 10.43%.

And even more important than active listings and listings under contract are listings we’ve actually sold. So let’s take a look at those numbers now. From January of 2009 through the end of September 2009 Charles Rutenberg Realty sold more than 2x as many listings as the 2nd place real estate brokerage. And to show this isn’t some sort of fluke we can look at the same statistics for 2008 and see a similar level of dominance.

Why share these statistics with Tampa Bay area home buyers and sellers? The time will come when just about everyone will need to buy or sell real estate. And at this point a decision needs to be made. Will you hire the best or one of the rest? Yes, that rhymed. I couldn’t help it. I feel like a cheerleader right now, but trust me, you don’t want to see me in a cheerleader uniform.

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5 Reasons FSBO’s Never Sell

April 5, 2009

fsbo“For every winner there are dozens of losers. Odds are you’re one of them.” The first time I saw this statement I almost peed my pants laughing. How true it is. You’ve probably seen motivational posters lining the halls and walls of corporate America, as if these little one-liners are going to bring out the best in people. On a site called I found the above gem and it really stuck with me because it says something we all like to pretend isn’t true. Not everyone can win. Of course, this doesn’t make those that don’t win “losers,” but it gets the point across.

Selling your home without a Realtor is a losing proposition. You could have the world’s most gorgeous magical wonderland of a house, but odds are you’re going to be a loser if you try to sell without a Realtor. Here are 5 reasons why it rarely works to go it alone:

1. FSBO’s cannot be listed in the MLS
Only licensed real estate agents and brokers can place a home in the Multiple Listing Service. And the majority of search engines and real estate web sites lock FSBO’s out. The reasons why only agents and brokers can list homes in MLS are irrelevant. Not that they aren’t valid reasons. But they’re irrelevant. The point is….you can’t use the #1 selling tool. And the reason why search engines and real estate sites don’t list FSBO’s is also irrelevant, but I’ll share it with you. When you list your home in MLS your home information propogates out to potentially thousands of other sites that are automatically connected to the MLS system through something similar to an RSS feed. No, the Realtor didn’t do something mysterious to dissimenate your listing to the online world. It happens automatically by virtue of it being listed in the MLS. The point being…it happens.

2. Realtors won’t show FSBO homes
Why would a Realtor bother attempting to contact each FSBO owner and individually, one after the other, negotiate a commission and showing agreement? The market is saturated with available homes where the Realtors commission is protected with a legally binding listing agreement. FSBO’s are avoided like the plague. If a home seller is so concerned with paying commission that they have chosen to sell without a Realtor they are assumed to be a waste of time. Realtors don’t get paid when they waste time. They’re only paid when they sell a house. In addition, most Realtors know that negotiating with a FSBO owner is a painful and sometimes irrational process where the FSBO owner doesn’t understand the rules and laws and procedures to the sales process. FSBO’s are more pain than they’re worth, and in this declining market there is absolutely no logical reason to show FSBO’s to buyers. There are simply too many listed homes available.

3. FSBO’s are usually over-priced
Heck, in this market most listed homes are over-priced, but at least a listed home has a trained real estate professional representing the seller. A buyer’s agent is more comfortable negotiating/arguing price with a listing agent than directly with an emotional FSBO owner. It is very difficult to tell a home seller that their home is not worth what they imagine it to be worth. But one agent showing another agent solid facts and comparable home sale statistics is a lot less prone to disaster. FSBO sellers also don’t have access to comparable home sale statistics. They lack the tools to price accurately.

4. Buyers are nervous around FSBO owners
Buyers don’t feel comfortable previewing FSBO homes with the actual owner present, let alone guiding the home tour. When buyers walk through a listing with an agent they feel they can discuss the good and bad points about the home openly with each other and their agent, but when those same buyers are being guided through the home tour process by the actual owners they tend to clam up and wait till they get outside, out of earshot, to discuss their feelings on the home. Nobody wants to hurt someone else’s feelings, so they hurry through the home and then start talking outside. They also are far less likely to open closets, look in closed rooms, check out the air conditioning system or stare at the ceiling for roof leak evidence if the seller is right there watching over them. In other words…buyers avoid FSBO’s.

5. FSBO’s often run into legal troubles
FSBO sellers usually don’t understand all that goes into a successful real estate transaction. What contract works best? The FAR-9 or the FAR/BAR?  How much of an escrow deposit should be required for a particular transaction? What should the seller to with the deposit once received? What title company should be used? What is a title company? When a buyer threatens to back out of the contract, which happens all the time, how does the FBSO owner keep the deal together? What disclosures and addendums should be used to protect the seller aganist future lawsuits? The list goes on and on and on. Only an experienced Realtor knows the answers to these questions. We deal with this every day.

In summary the average FSBO has between 5 and 10% chance of selling without a Realtor. What other activity in life would you voluntarily engage in with such a high rate of failure? Not many I’d guess. So why gamble with your time, energy and money?

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It’s Who You Know!

September 3, 2008

According to the 2007 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers you better know someone that will buy your home or you have very little chance of selling it as a “For Sale By Owner.” Only about 5% of FSBO’s succeed in selling their homes to buyers they didn’t previously know. In other words you have about a 95% chance of failure. Not good odds. How many endeavors would you undertake if you knew you had a 95% chance of failure? Then why waste precious time trying to do the impossible and sell your home in a way that has repeatedly proven to be unsuccessful?

The reality is that most homes are sold through Realtors utilizing the Multiple Listing Service. And most FSBO’s would use a Realtor if they didn’t have to pay high commission rates. Knowing this I created the FLAT FEE LISTING where sellers can literally save thousands of dollars.

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Only about 10% of FSBO’s sell (90% don’t!)

August 3, 2008

soldbwhouseIf you’re attempting to sell your home without a Realtor be advised that the cards are not stacked in your favor. Even in a normal or healthy real estate market selling without a Realtor is only successful about 10% of the time. This means that 90% of your fellow FSBO’s never attract a buyer. Eventually, they almost all list with a Realtor.

When you couple the above statistics with the fact that we’re in a declining and almost paralyzed market you have literally close to no chance of ever selling on your own. The only homes that are getting any showing activity are the ones listed with a Realtor and priced attractively. What is an attractive price? In a market completely saturated with shortsales and foreclosures there is only one way to compete….price. You’ve got to price competitively or you’ve got no chance at all. Typically, in today’s market, only those listings priced in the lower 25% of comparable properties are getting shown and getting sold. Everyone else is left frustrated and empty handed.

So what matters most to you? Is your goal to actually sell your home? If so you need your property exposed to the greatest number of potential buyers as possible, and the only way to do this is have your home listed in the Multiple Listing Service. There simply is no way around this reality. And it takes a Realtor to enter a home into MLS. For Sale By Owner’s are only attracting drive-by traffic. The thousands of Realtors with access to MLS don’t even know you exist, and if they do, they will avoid you for a variety of reasons.

Why would a Realtor ever consider showing your FSBO property when there are dozens or possibly hundreds of comparable LISTED homes to show their buyer? Knowing there is a listing means the Realtor can relax and not worry about having to negotiate for their commission with an unreasonable home seller. In MLS all listings clearly show the commission that will be paid at closing and it is guaranteed by a signed legal document called a “listing agreement.” With FSBO’s a buyer’s agent risks a seller changing their mind and refusing to pay the verbally agreed upon commission. In this buyers’ market Realtors avoid FSBO’s like the plague.

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Here’s your sign!

June 26, 2008

One of the biggest mistakes FSBO’s make is creating difficult to read yard signs. Stand out in the street where cars will be stopped or driving by slowly and look at your sign. Can you read the phone number? If not your FSBO is virtually invisible. Potential buyers aren’t going to get out of their cars and knock on your door. If they can’t see and read your sign they are going to keep driving to the next FSBO in annoyance and frustration. Take a little extra time in creating your sign, because if you’re like most FSBO’s your sign is the extent of your marketing efforts. Make those letters and numbers extra big and on both sides of the sign. And then stick the sign where it is visible to traffic.

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