While the Internet has changed many aspects of society, some things remain the same. In fact, recent research suggests that more “For Sale By Owners,” are turning to a Real Estate Professional to sell their home. A study released by the California Association of REALTORS®, January 2001, states that the number of “For Sale By Owners,” who ultimately list their home with an agent has increased from 76 percent to 80 percent. The reasons include a limited number of buyers, lower prices and inadequate information.
Smaller pool of buyers
Most homeowners decide to sell a home themselves to save on the commission. However, marketing research indicates that exposure to the most buyers nets the best sales price. Formerly, buyers would search for homes using traditional venues of newspapers and magazines. With the Internet, the supply of buyers has shifted. That is, more than 50 percent of all buyers use the Internet to search for properties. Now, more than ever, a For Sale By Owner, has even less of an opportunity for a buyer to find his property. This could translate into less exposure a lengthier time on the market and possibly a lower selling price. A print ad now competes with a full blown 360-degree on-line virtual, web commercial and slide tour.
Some buyers, when looking at a For Sale By Owner, automatically deduct 6-7% from the asking price. Some buyers expect to be compensated for non-representation and are looking for bargains. In the end, the seller can net less than if they had listed with a Real Estate Professional.
Advertising on the web is often like looking for a “needle-in-the-haystack.” A seller can place an ad on the web and try to distinguish their listing from thousands of others. However, without home page optimization, meta tags and other branding strategies that attract buyers, the For Sale By Owner listing is very ineffective. Access to buyers is limited.
Instant gratification – lost buyers
Many people who use the Web are looking for instant gratification. On average, if visitors do not find what they are looking for, they will stay for about one minute and then move on. With some For Sale By Owner web sites, there is often no way to capture the visitor’s contact information or for follow-up. Many For Sale By Owner sites lack the sophistication and technology to efficiently track visitors to the site.
Additionally, a buyer wants to view as many properties as possible. With only a few listings on some For Sale By Owner sites, a buyer will likely move on very quickly. The visitor’s need for instant gratification is a strong detriment to a For Sale By Owner site with few listings.
Sometimes a For Sale By Owner company lacks the technology and sophistication for proper marketing on the web. As they are not affiliated with any established company, or real estate firm, many people do not know how to find them. Using a search engine, a seller types in For Sale By Owner. A stream of listings appears, Zip Realty, Home Find, Sell Yourself, buried among a host of For Sale By Owner companies. How does the seller know about the reputation and performance of this site, or the company? What about credibility? Anyone with a web site can create the impression of being in business. However, posting a site, claiming to save commissions and eliminating a Real Estate Professional does little to attract buyers.
Conversely, a Real Estate Professional who works under the banner of an established real estate company has the support, technology, background and experience to attract the most qualified potential buyers. This network of people, education, resources and expertise works to the advantage of the seller, not against them.
On some For Sale By Owner sites, some buyers are hesitant to provide contact information to a stranger. With a Real Estate Professional, a buyer identifies the homes they want to seek and then contacts a Real Estate Professional who shows them the homes they want to see – usually all within the same day.
Avoid these costly errors
Although it seems like an easy task, selling a home is a complex and time-consuming process. Many For Sale By Owners, tend to make a mistake in these areas:
- Incorrect understanding about market conditions and pricing
- Relying on inappropriate advertising and marketing that does not generate buyers
- Incorrect understanding of how both the home buying and home selling processes work
- Ineffective ways to determine qualified buyers
Less hassle with a techno-savvy Real Estate Professional
The Internet has changed the way buyers and sellers shop for real estate. According to the NAR (National Association of REALTORS®), 89% of home buyers consulted the Internet in some way for their real estate transaction. Consumers now have access to the same listing information that was once available only to Real Estate Professionals. A techno-savvy Real Estate Professional has access to the latest Internet technology, making your life easier. These tools may include:
- Instant access to comprehensive neighborhood data
- On-line virtual home tours
- Extensive property listings
- Immediate e-mail notification of just-listed homes meeting your criteria
- Referral networks and on-line forums
- Reports and newsletters on current real estate conditions in your area
The result: you get more information, more easily. With electronic files, you have less paperwork to deal with. And since your agent uses e-mail, you can even eliminate paying phone tag.
The world of real estate has changed for the better. The web offers unlimited opportunities to give consumers the information they need to make informed real estate decisions. Whether selling or buying, it is vital to get to where the traffic is. Web sites that provide the MLS® System information have substantial traffic. These sites are designed to put listings before the public. And, in the end that is what it is really about. Getting the right home you want and need.