A tale of two private sales

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“You get what you pay for,” she said. “If you get an experienced agent who knows how to negotiate, who spends money on advertising, who can do the open houses, who ensures they have a legitimate buyer, then you’re way better off than selling by owner.”

She also points to the liability issue - private sellers often don’t know what to look for when drafting and reviewing the legal documents. She also says that negotiating for yourself is harder than most people think; even she won’t sell her own properties.

“When I work for a client, I work with my brain,” she said. “But when you work for yourself, you work with your heart.”

Brokers whose clients are interested in this low-cost offering would be best served to manage their expectations; while the client may save money more work may be required on their part to close the deal.
 
 

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  • Larry Frondall on 2014-06-18 11:37:31 AM

    I understand that sellers want to save money and they think that they can negotiate and navigate the sale themselves. However, no one seems to think of Security when they sell without a Realtor. When you open the door of your home to a potential buyer, what do you as the seller know about that person? Are they simply casing the joint for a robbery the minute you leave the place? Are they checking you or your family out for an Assault at a later time? I know the odds of this are low, however, we have had this happen in Calgary and we have had a Realtor slain a few years ago in a property that was listed for sale. When I had my real estate license, I would interview all buyers for almost two hours, getting their ID and checking them out before I would put them in my car to even look at properties. When you sell yourself, you don't have that luxury. Again, I know the odds are low that this might happen, but who wants to risk that?

  • Clayton Carby on 2014-06-18 12:00:32 PM

    This is a very informative article, however you never answered the question in the first paragraph. "But what do brokers – whose clients are interested in private sales – need to know?"

  • Julie Cooper on 2014-06-18 12:00:54 PM

    Larry! I was just thinking the same thing. As popularity rises in FSBOs, criminals will also start targeting more, in my opinion.

  • Larry Frondall on 2014-06-18 12:32:21 PM

    Clayton, I didn't answer the question as I don't condone the practice of Private Sales.
    Lenders get nervous as there is more potential for fraud. I guess as a broker what you should look for is to ensure that your buyer is not paying more than market value for the property and the only way you can guide them is to insist on an appraisal from a reputable appraiser. If your buyer is buying through a private sale, then the buyer needs to assume the role of the Realtor and that would include doing some leg work in checking out comparable properties and getting a feel for the neighborhood, checking out the community and the community services, I would also suggest that they pull a copy of the Title and having that reviewed. Unfortunately, most buyers will have no clue what they are looking for on a title, but a Realtor and a lender will. Are there encroachments, caveats, etc. that need to be reviewed? Are the people selling the house actually the owners? You would not believe how many times that comes up! I am just touching the surface here, there could be so many potential pitfalls and the average buyer is not prepared to deal with them or understand them. It is always best to deal with a Professional. You wouldn't prepare your own legal work or do your own dental work, why would you risk the largest investment of your lifetime to non-professionals?

  • kay on 2014-06-18 1:29:36 PM

    Not quite sure why there was a comment made about the liability issue..Private sellers deal directly with a lawyer who is responsible for that...the realtor is NOT a Lawyer!!!!

  • Mike on 2014-06-19 9:55:21 AM

    Umm, I have bought and sold privately, and my lawyer handled the negotiations and paperwork. All i did was open my door to let potential buyers in to see it. My lawyer handled everything else, and his fee was under $1000 incl HST. So parts of this article, and responses, are pure industry propaganda. Real estate agents are part of the disappearing "printing press" world - soon to be obsolete.

  • Chris on 2014-06-19 12:40:24 PM

    Good luck trying to seek any recourse benefits from a lawyer handling a real estate transaction. Lawyers will make no representation or warranties towards the property and it's condition, they are handling contract and conveyance only in the sale. Realtors carry E & O insurance and are liable for any negligent misrepresentations made for example; square footages, age and condition of relevant inclusions, room sizes, oil tanks, easements and right aways. Good luck trying to re-capture any losses from a seller selling privately as well. The money saved does not equal the potential of the more money earned by skilled negotiations and marketing. I would like to know how many properties sold by owner sell in multiple offer situations??

  • kay on 2014-06-19 4:58:29 PM

    I have been in private sale for 6 years and have helped hundreds of clients save thousands of dollars...Why have NONE of my clients ever had a problem????? Because it simply works!!

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