FSBO or Agent? Need to sell fairly quickly.
May 31, 2007 9:26 AM   Subscribe

FSBO or Agent? Need to sell fairly quickly.

I have recently accepted an offer at an MBA school which requires me to sell my condo and move out of state. School starts the end of August and I want to move the start of August so I have time to settle in before school starts.

To add another variable into the mix, I want to buy a house in my new location before I start school. To do this I need some of the equity out of my condo.

So, does two months give me enough time to sell my condo FSBO and buy a new home. With this tight timeline should I just get an agent? I know a lot of this has to do with the market I am currently in, but any thoughts will be appreciated.

posted by mjger to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
FSBO is wonderful for your bottom line (speaking as an agent), but in general the wisdom is that you won't have the exposure of listing with an agent. I don't know about your market, but here condos are especially hard to sell by owner, just because buyers don't generally drive around on their own looking for condos (something they might do for homes).

Although most real estate agents are not a big fan of it, often the discount or flat-fee agencies will list your condo/home for a certain amount. Be aware than many agents may not show it, though, because it is difficult and/or less commission for them (not ethical, but that can be the case). If another agent sells your home in this situation, you are still expected to pay that half of the commission.

My two cents here: Time is money, especially in your case. Your best bet is to ask friends, family, and neighbors to recommend an agent, and price your place to sell. Don't make it bargain cheap, people will wonder if something is wrong, but make it attractive.

Good luck, and post any more questions you might have.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:47 AM on May 31, 2007

If you only have two months, I'd recommend going with an agent. An agent will get you listed in MLS which will get you the best exposure. I'm not a real estate agent -- this is just from my experience.
I just bought a new condo and sold one and I know mine was found thanks to MLS and I found the one I bought that way, as well.
shinnewnick is right, people don't really ride around looking for condos. I simply read the email every day that I received from my realtor with the MLS listings in my price range.

Good luck.
posted by jdl at 9:57 AM on May 31, 2007

You don't need to sign with a realtor to have your home on MLS. If you google '"for sale by owner" mls', you will find plenty of places that will help you with this. That said, selling it yourself only makes sense if you're available over the next two months to show your condo whenever a prospective buyer wants to see it.
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:26 AM on May 31, 2007

As someone who has sold a house myself (and listed on MLS), I can tell you it is possible, but in our case it took awhile, because of the slow house market in our area, and not being priced right to start. Otherwise, our house was indistinguishable to the buyer looking at realtor.com, for example (but not the realtor, though that didn't seem to limit how many showings we did).

You may not realize how much work it is to sell it yourself, but if you have a lot of time to coordinate things, and you know the status of the market where you are, and are prepared to do a lot of immediate and constant marketing on your own, as well has have an accurate idea of the value of your house, it can work in two months (keep in mind that you should be under contract in a month, as most buyers need a month to finish loan work).
posted by artifarce at 12:59 PM on May 31, 2007

If you do FSBO, you'll save money.

If you do agent, you'll have to hand over a commission, but you'll get all the advantages (listing, knowledge, etc.) that come with an agent, PLUS you can do everything that you would have done as an FSBO to get your home sold.

So it's a question of "is the agent money worth the reduction in risk of the house being unsold within my timeframe", and only you can determine that.
posted by davejay at 3:04 PM on May 31, 2007

Oh, and having said that: our neighbors just sold their house FSBO in about two months (including escrow), in a neighborhood where similar houses were languishing for several months more (and still are.)

The secret? It's in good shape, and it's priced appropriately. If you're trying to get top dollar, it'll take longer whether you FSBO or agent.
posted by davejay at 3:06 PM on May 31, 2007

Thanks for the replies. The market I am in was red hot 9 months ago, but as cooled off quite a bit since then.

I will wait a week or two and if nothing substantial happens I will seek out an agent.
posted by mjger at 7:31 PM on May 31, 2007

Maybe too late for this question, but for other searchers benefit I'll mention a new service, Iggys House Realty, that provides sellers with free Realtor.com and MLS listings in certain states. You can read more in this question I asked a while back.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 1:47 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

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