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By-owner sites

For-Sale-By-Owner sites: Pros and cons

Posting your home on a site of by-owner homes offers high commission savings potential. They have a variety of services and pricing options. 

 Overview of By-Owner sites:

These FSBO sites allow you to upload information and picture(s) for viewing by prospective buyers. They cover a specific metro area, a region, a state or the entire country.
Builders, lenders (foreclosed homes) and even homes listed with agents often dominate a web site. Not good. You want a site that is composed of homes from other owners.
Many "nationwide" web sites exist, but none of them dominate the marketplace. Some share their listings with each other.
Hundreds of local or regional sites actually provide a lot of advantages over the nationwide ones.

Web sites offer benefits:

1) POPULARITY     Used by many buyers 

2) SIMPLICITY        Enter info once 

3) AVAILABILITY    Available to buyers 24/7

4) VALUE                Very cost effective

5) INFORMATIVE   Provides the most information

6) FEATURES         Can display multiple pictures,

                            Offer a link to your home                                          

In addition, some sites offer  auxiliary services: for-sale signs, open house sign-in sheets, information boxes, lock boxes, generic contracts, etc.

Where these sites fall short:

Limited inventory
FSBO sites underwent explosive growth after 2000. A number of them went bust when the housing market tanked in the last few years.

With so many different sites, what are the odds buyers will see your home? Each one has just a partial list of the FSBO homes that are on the market in your area.
Site appeal to buyers
Many sites focus on appealing to the seller - in an attempt to get them to sign up for their service. After all, that’s who pays to be on their site. Look for sites that would appeal to buyers.
Obsolete information
Many sites display out-dated and sold homes because owners withdraw from the market or sell their home but don’t notify the web site to delete their home. This results in buyers making worthless phone calls and usually giving up on that site.

Effectively using these sites:

Do your homework
Call or email a few sellers on sites you’re considering. Is the phone number still valid? Do they respond to your email? Tell them you’re thinking of using the web site. Find out if it was beneficial or was it a waste of time. 
You may have to post your home on several sites. But there are many inexpensive ones.
The best benefit
A great feature some FSBO sites have is to assign the sellers a reference number to use in their printed advertising. Buyers then input this number on the site's homepage or, better yet, into their browser and link directly to info about a particular home.
A direct link eliminates the buyer searching through a lot of listings to get to the info and pictures of a home. Otherwise, buyers will get distracted from your property info as they look at all the other homes on the market.
Direct buyers to your web site in your newspaper advertising (as well as your flyers). Your ad could include, “More info/pics at FSBOePower.com#12345.” This saves on expensive newspaper ads.

Use Nationwide or local sites ? 

Use both. The majority of buyers will be more familiar with local sites from having seen other sellers use them in classified ads, on Craigslist and on info box fliers. A list of sites in your area can be found here. If possible, use several sites.
Do an objective evaluation of web sites by using our checklist on the Next Page.             

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