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Don't need an Agent to sell- save $ thousands

Original post made by Real Estate so Hot -, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on May 27, 2013

Real Estate is so hot now that you can save yourself thousands by avoiding Real Estate agent ripoffs. If you are selling, right now it is easy, and you will likely get multiple offers! All you need is a yard sign, and perhaps CraigsList, or a newspaper ad.
Remember that the seller is the one who pays for the Real Estate agent, unless you take some matters into your own hands.
When markets are slow, the Real Estate industry used to try to corner the market with their Multiple Listing Service - which was mostly only available to other agents.
But in today's world, information is much more open and available, and buyers will find you!
If you really want some help, hire an honest agent to work for you by the hour, by the job, or use an attorney. When times are slow some agents, especially those in a private group that call themselves "realtors" , would much rather charge a large percentage of the house, because they get a lot of money, without regard for how many hours they actually work. This might've made sense in the 60's, when houses sold for much less, and for more like a person's annual salary, but now it is really exorbitant.
For example, if a house sells for $750K, the agents try to take 6%, or $45,000!
If you were to pay someone $50/hr, that would be paying for 900 hours of work, or almost half a year's full time effort! How long do you work the $45K?
Another way is to negotiate a lower rate, or a fixed price for someone's services.

When you do run your ad, be sure to specify Principals Only, or you may be overrun by real estate agents trying to "help you!" (The ruder one's may call despite that. If they say they have a buyer- tell them their buyer can pay them. )
Q. Can some one please post good places to advertise your house?

Comments (16)

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Posted by Brenda
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Getting an offer is pretty easy- okay, but...
1. Are you getting the best price and terms? The buyer's agent knows the laws, who pays what and comparable sales, you don't.
2. And as the seller, you normally pay both your agent and the buyer's agent. BTW, both agents together equal about 5% in today's market (not 6%). So as a buyer, you are better off using a realtor - and it doesn't cost you anything because the seller pays.
3. Did you know "for sale by owners" have a HUGE chance of getting sued by the other parties, as compared to traditional sales.
4. Would you rather pay a real estate agent or an attorney?

May be you could also be a do-it-yourself attorney - to save money!?!

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Posted by Phil
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Seller who goes it alone is not -- I repeat, is not -- responsible for real estate agent fees for any agent who represents buyer.

Real estate agents are a blight upon humanity. Thank goodness people was wising up.

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Posted by Doesn't take much to check comp sales
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 27, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Just look at Zillow, the newspaper, or any of several other sites.

Glad to hear the percentage take is going down. It is always negotiable up front, and it's about time it went down!
Why should agents be able to do so little work, and yet take so much money, based not on their work, but on the price of your house? It may be easier to sell a big house in good shape than a small one that needs work. (Yet, right now most anything is selling fast.)

If you do just a little homework, fill out the condition forms, there's not much chance of being sued.
There are also many companies that Help You Sell, and will provide whatever services you may need.

Not highly technical:
If you want to show your own house, you, like the agent need to know which room is the Kitchen, etc., when you point to it!

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Posted by jasper
a resident of Downtown
on May 28, 2013 at 8:11 am

You get what you pay for. Omit a disclosure and the buyer sues you and you will think that commission you were too cheap to pay for pales in comparision to the attorney fees you are in for.

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Posted by Gwen
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on May 28, 2013 at 8:28 am

If you list a house on the MLS, like Help u sell companies, then the SELLER almost always pays 2.5% to the buyer's agent. Why would an agent show a house they don't get paid for if it sells? They won't. Would you go to work if you didn't get paid?

If you sell on Craig's list, then anyone, or no one pays the second agent commission, if it sells. Here lies the problem, the seller wants to save money by selling himself, but most buyers won't go visit a "for sale by owner home. " Buyers also fear that the are not getting the whole truth about the house, and they are often right to fear this.

People pay more for a used car at a dealer, than a sell it yourself car- check blue book. It is the same with a house x 10 because the transaction is more complicated, the disclosures are more extensive, and the price is higher.

In many states, attorneys are required to complete a real estate sale. I am sure their lobbies are powerful.

In CA, most transactions are completed solely through real estate agents and brokers. You are paying for the agent and his/her broker's education, market knowledge, knowledge of contractors and inapectors, and experience. This also includes their knowledge of the law- and how to protect their clients.

All agents are not alike. Talk to a few before you pick your business partner.

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Posted by Sell my own stuff
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 28, 2013 at 9:40 am

Realtors have been printing money at the expense of their sellers forever. About time that stops.

I have bought and sold a total of six properties in the past ten years without paying the tens of thousands of dollars in commissions. No single one sold for less than nearly a million dollars, that equates to nearly half a million in commissions. Not money well spent had I used a realtor.

Regarding the threat of lawsuits -- just be smart. Hire a lawyer or a realtor, on a strictly hourly cost, if you feel the need. Just don't try to lie about things. The only time I was ever involved in a lawsuit it was against the seller who paid contractors off to say they fixed problems called on the inspection. He had not fixed them and I ended up with a very large settlement because he lied. All of this happened under the nose of his realtor who never verified anything. So much for being a professional.

Realtors are not worth the money. Period.

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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on May 28, 2013 at 9:59 am

Another option is to go with an organization that gives rebates for the commission costs. We went with Redfin when we bought a house and got a rebate of 1.5% of the purchase price back (i.e., half of Redfin's 3% commission as the buying agent in the transaction). I believe that they have a similar discounted commission structure for people wishing to sell their houses.

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Posted by Be Warned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 28, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I have to chime in and first say that I wish you luck getting a good agent to work for an hourly rate. The agent takes on a huge amount of liability by being involved in the transaction and puts their license on the line by doing so. Unless it's a desperate realtor with no business and no prospects, you won't find a good one by trying to pay hourly. When a realtor is involved in the transaction, there's a pretty hefty Errors and Omissions insurance policy that needs to be paid for by transaction which protects both the agent and the clients. If you find a realtor willing to work for free while paying for these sorts of insurances, you deserve what you get.

You may be able to sell by owner, but your chances of getting maximum dollars is greatly diminished because 90% of all buyers won't entertain a by owner situation. Because of supply and demand, and diminished demand on by owner transactions, your will likely sell for less than if the property was properly marketed to all buyers. Buyers willing to do a by owner transaction are looking to get something out of it, like knowing they can pay a lower price, since these transactions can be messy and because they don't pay real estate commissions anyway. In reality, the buyer gains from these situations, not the seller, even though they don't pay commission anyway.

Then there's the liability. The statement "pay an agent or pay an attorney later for litigation" is absolutely true. And boy is litigation expensive.

Then there's making sure you have a solid buyer. An agent can demand certain things on behalf of the buyer, like an actual loan approval or Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac automated approval and not just a pre-approval letter that are easily obtained, and can force things like requiring short contingency periods and proof that the buyer actually has the funds needed to close early on so the deal doesn't fall apart later. And then right now there's the appraisal issue where homes aren't appraising for what they are selling for which an agent can handle by negotiating a deal from day one whereby the buyer is required to bring in a certain amount to cover any appraisal shortage. Although if you sell by owner, you won't likely have this problem since you'll almost always sell for less. At each of these steps, the agent can demand immediate performance per the terms of the contract and can legally get you out of the deal is they don't perform. This is not something a owner/seller would likely be able to do on their own, and deals fall apart more often than most realize. Good luck trying to sell the house if you don't have an agent to legally get you out of a contract if a buyer doesn't perform. You see the buyer can tie the house up for months or even years in litigation making it so you can't sell while they go on their merry way and buy another house. Your realtor can and will keep this from happening. And most often, if a deal falls apart, they'll have a back up buyer waiting to step in and buy the house.

I do happen to be licensed myself and have been for over a decade and I do function within the real estate community as part of my job every single day. HOWEVER, even though I interact with agents and see transactions daily, this does not mean that even I would sell by owner. Even though I have a license and could technically represent myself, it would be a cold day in hell before I ever tried. There's no way I could possibly navigate through my own transaction or help someone else do the same. You need a hands on realtor with a good reputation that will handle the million and one things that come up when you are selling a home and that will keep you from being sued.

Go ahead and sell by owner, but know the only one benefiting is the buyer and they'll likely laugh all the way to the bank at your expense and maybe right before they sue you.

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Posted by Sell my own stuff
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 28, 2013 at 5:22 pm

BW, big surprise you tout the lofty ethics of realtors, being one yourself.

As I posted above, I have nearly half a million dollars in my bank account right now due to cutting people like you out of the transactions.

You pretend that only realtors have the ability to force contract performance. Sure, if the seller is stupid enough to write the "contract" on a cocktail napkin. A legal binding contract is just that and anyone with a couple of balls can enforce it. The reason that realtors list properties way over market is, guess what?, their commission goes up. Duh. Ask the sellers of that great house downtown, that sat on the market for nearly three years, what a great job their realtor did. He overpriced it by several hundred thousand dollars as was proved when it finally sold at a realistic price. Enforcing contracts? Yeah, ask the seller about that one too. Realtors play themselves as the great ethical warriors when in reality they are bottom dwelling scum suckers. I have dealt with many and will not do so again. Just not necessary.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 28, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Working through a realtor makes the process more convenient, but both the buyer and seller pay for that convenience. The best of all possible worlds is for a buyer and seller to connect on a property, and then agree to close via contract documents drawn by a real estate attorney and executed at an office or a title company. No realtor fees, no listing fees, no commission. Legal fees, yes, title insurance and fees, yes, closing costs, yes, but you're paying all those anyway.

Yes, by-owner limits marketability because of the lack of a tie-in to MLS. That game is owned by the realtors, and it's worth something to be able to tap into it. However, in today's market there are plenty of savvy buyers looking for by-owner sales, so no MLS does not equate to no chance of sale. Put an FSBO sign on your property and watch the realtors try to ignore it as they whisk clients around on those open house days in the neighborhood.

No, working with an attorney and not a realtor does not increase the chance of a lawsuit. There's nothing special about the contract docs that are drawn with a realtor's involvement, and those without. You need a realtor to tell you what you should disclose to a buyer? Guess again, the first thing that realtor should tell you is that they're not an attorney.

In a hurry to sell? Well, they got you there. MLS again comes into play...gotta pay to play, unfortunately. But there are some strategies to deal with this. You can minimize the length of the exclusivity clause of the realtor's contract by stating "sale within x days or you're out." You can specify no-deal unless a certain price or other criteria are met, and so on. The in-town realtors tend to resist these, face it, once listed, other realtors at that point are doing the work, bringing in clients to look at the properties they've listed, so if it sells in 30 days or 90, they don't care. So use an out-of-townie. It won't matter if all you're after is the exposure via MLS.

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Posted by No Legitimate reason an Agent won't work by the hour.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 28, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Except perhaps greed.
The tale about Liability insurance is just a red herring. Agents pay for that by the year, not by the job.
Others, like engineers, consultants, even lawyers also can have liability insurance, but they often work by the hour. Their time is all they have to sell.

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Posted by Agents not so called "Realtors"
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 28, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Note, in California anyone can sell their house.
Agents are required to pass a test and be licensed by the state.
Brokers, too,
A made up word, Realtor.
Sounds something like Doctor, doesn't it? But Drs have years of training at a University, and a Code to help people.
But There is NO requirement that anyone be a Realtor- It is actually a private "club", mostly self promoting. They claim they have Higher ethics,
Look at their site at
Web Link
But it doesn't appear you can actually see their Code of Ethics, unless you join.
I think it's mostly about how to divide the fees, and the shape of the logo.

You can read some of their blog:
Web Link
Note how the members are eager to be able to rent substandard apartments, and do not want to obey the laws, or accept responsibility.

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Posted by Realtors are slime, every single one of them
a resident of Canyon Creek
on May 29, 2013 at 5:04 am

Get your home appraised by several realtors. Most will ballpark it too low in hopes of selling it and getting a commission quickly ... and then they're on to the next sucker. Some will ballpark it too high and then after you decide to go with them they'll change their tune and say you need to drop your asking price. Important thing: realtors are without exception sleazeballs. Look closely and you'll see dollar signs in their irises.

Sell it yourself, with big phone number written on sign. Prospective buyers aren't afraid of 'sale by owner', though some pampered types are afraid of their own shadow.

Once agreed on a price with prospective buyer, ask your bank to recommend somebody who, for a couple hundreds bucks (not unlike a refinance), will show up at closing with requisite paperwork to be signed by all parties.

Congratulations. You've just saved yourself 5-6 percent of your sale price.

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Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on May 29, 2013 at 10:04 am

"Realtors are..." wrote: "Get your home appraised by several realtors..."

Seems to me that getting several realtors to spend their time appraising your home in hopes of getting some business that you never intend to give them is pretty sleazy. You're trying to use them as free labor.

As for "sale by owner" houses, I tend to have a negative impression of them because I've seen several which really weren't presented very well: poor pictures, house not properly cleaned and presented. I don't know if all are like that, but there are enough of them like that that I tended to avoid "sale by owner" houses because I had a very negative image of them.

Not saying that realtors are worth the 5%-6%, but at least they usually do a good job at presenting and marketing houses. If you're going to go the "sale by owner" route, you need to get your game up and be ready to compete at the same quality level when making house flyers and prepping the house for tours.

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Posted by Unwelcome Realtors Door Knocking
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 29, 2013 at 10:16 am

Here's an article in the Realtor's magazine that illustrates some of the underlying problems with the industry:

Web Link

There are so many more real estate agents than needed that many are taking to cold calling complete strangers, door to door, ringing doorbells, trying to get people to list houses.

The article says maybe 3% are even interested.
So for 97 out a 100, these people are wasting their time, and more important the time and effort of people with no interest or desire in buying or selling.

And they come back more than once!

Picture this: You are taking a bath, but are expecting an important package, and your doorbell rings. What gall! What a nuisance!
And it gives cover to thieves casing an area.

But fundamentally this shows that these people are gambling with their time, and don't care how many they annoy. Like a slot machine, they think they might make so much money from just one hit, that they spend their time puling the handle, ringing your doorbell, etc.

Almost no other "profession" has so much time on their hands that they have nothing better to do, something that actually adds value for society.

Like buying a driveway seal treatment from someone who "just happens to be in the neighborhood", there are better ways to decide who to do business with.

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Posted by Bought Several Houses without Agents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Got more house for my money.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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