Uncategorized June 29, 2015

The Sellers Dilemma: OTM, FSBO, or List Again?

This time of year, in every region of the country, hundreds and even thousands of homeowners have a tough decision to make. The ‘listing for sale agreement’ on their house is about to expire and they now must decide to either take their house off the market (OTM), list it For Sale by Owner (FSBO), list it again with the same agent, or start the listing process all over again with a different company/agent.

Let’s assume you or someone you know is in this situation and take a closer look at each possibility:

Taking Your Home off the Market (OTM)

In all probability, after putting your house on the market and seeing it not sell, you are going to be upset. You may be thinking that no one in the marketplace thought the house was worthy of the sales price or became convinced your home was simply undesirable. Because you are upset, you may start to rationalize that selling wasn’t that important after all, and say,

“Well, we didn’t really want to sell the house anyway. This idea of making a move right now probably doesn’t make sense.”

Don’t rationalize your dreams away! Instead, consider the reasons you decided to sell your home in the first place. Ask your family this simple question:

“What made us originally put our home up for sale?”

If that reason made sense a few months ago when you originally listed the house, chances are it still makes sense today. Don’t give up on what your family hoped to accomplish or on the goals your family hoped to attain. Just because the house didn’t sell during the last listing contract doesn’t mean the house will never sell or that it shouldn’t be sold. Instead, take a closer look at your options.

Re-Listing with your Existing Agent

For whatever reason, your house did not sell. Perhaps you now realize how difficult selling a house may be, or that the listing price was too high, or perhaps you’re now acknowledging that you didn’t exactly listen to your agent’s advice. Sitting down with your listing agent and performing an honest assessment of the situation is in order. If your agent performed well for you, you may want to give that individual a second chance. That’s a perfectly okay thing to do. However, if your agent didn’t perform to the standard they promised when they listed your home, you may want to either try For Sale by Owner (FSBO) or try a different agent.

For Sale by Owner

You may now believe that listing your house with an agent is useless because your original agent didn’t accomplish the goal of selling the house. Trying to sell the house on your own this time may be alluring. You may think you will be in control and save on the commission fees. But, is that true? Will you be able to negotiate each of the elements that make up a real estate transaction? Are you capable of putting together a comprehensive marketing plan? Do people who FSBO actually ‘net’ more money?

If you are thinking about FSBOing, think about the following:

There are multiple people, in a highly charged situation, with whom you must be prepared to deal. They include:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • Possibly the buyer's lender
  • The title and escrow companies

The legal contracts and obligations inherent in buying and selling real estate have become more and more complex, and experieced professionals are more likely to get deals closed on time and to everyone's satisfaction.


Most buyers first see and then purchase homes they find online. Most agents have a comprehensive plan for online marketing already in place. Do you?


 Studies show that, in spite of perceptions to the contrary, sellers typically net more when using an agent to sell their home than when attempting a For Sale by Owner. Professional expertise works to the benefit of buyers and sellers both!


List with a New Agent

After failing to sell your home, you may no longer trust your agent or what they say. However, don’t paint all real estate professionals with that same brush. Have you ever gotten a bad haircut before? Of course! Did you stop getting your hair cut or did you simply change hair stylists?

There is good and bad in every profession—good and bad hair stylists, agents, teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc. And just because there are good and bad in every line of work doesn’t mean you don’t call on others for the products and services you need. You still get your hair cut, see a doctor, talk to a lawyer, send your kids to school, etc. The same should be true of your real estate professional. If the agent you were working with didn't work out, find someone better. Ask for recommendations, look for professional affiliations and strong testimonials, then interview prospective agents and choose the best fit for you and your family. You won't be sorry you invested in good professional help with such a complex process!

Bottom Line

You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Contact a local real estate professional and discuss the possibilities. And, as always, if I can be of assistance, please don't hesitate to let me know!