Profile of a FSBO

Are real estate brokers ” like travel agents and other middlemen coping with the increasingly digital culture ” in danger of becoming expensive anachronisms? After all, it is only logical that as people feel more empowered based on their access to information and their ability to connect without help, they are at least questioning the wisdom of the conventional way of buying and selling a home.

–“Agent or No Agent?”; The New York Times (12/17/09)

I tripped across the article above, ironically enough, in between doing some year-end housekeeping (file and email clean-up, desk de-cluttering, etc.).

Without getting into the merits of the article — I’ve addressed FSBO’s, or “For Sale by Owners” in numerous others posts — suffice to say that the files I accumulate for each client can be extensive.

In the course of representing a typical Buyer or Seller, it’s not unusual for me to accumulate literally dozens of emails, and log even more phone calls, spanning half a year or longer (hopefully, not too much longer).

Much Ado about . . . Something

Admittedly, sometimes my clients are also friends, and I’m not always “all business” in every communication.

But if Realtors are really as obsolete as travel agents and elevator operators, what’s all the back-and-forth about?

Depending on whether the client is a Buyer or Seller, and what stage of the process they’re at, the conversations are about . . . staging ideas, competing homes for sale, market developments, showing feedback, explaining contractual fine points, applicable Comp’s for “finalist” homes, relaying documents for review and signing, getting reaction to marketing materials, arranging title work, lender referrals, clarifying showing instructions, discussing timing and magnitude of price reductions (if applicable), recommendations for home inspectors, direction about municipal point-of-sale requirements, arranging walk-thru’s prior to closing, formulating a counter-offer, resolving inspection issues, progress (or lack thereof) obtaining a mortgage — and many, many other subjects.

If you think you can navigate all of the foregoing topics on your own — and have the time and inclination . . . . Congratulations!

You just may have what it takes to sell your own home.

P.S.: all those email’s mentioned above are just between me and my clients. I omitted — happily, I’m sure you’ll agree — all the communication with third parties (other Realtors, stagers, photographers, etc.).

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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