Lake Martin, like any real estate market, will always have its share of people selling their waterfront property themselves – aka For Sale By Owner or FSBO (pr FIZZ-bo). And that’s fine with me. I am not one of those realtors that looks down on FSBOs as idiots or realtor hating zealots. I think it is up to me as a real estate agent to prove to the FSBO prospect that I will save them time and make them money if I list and help sell their Lake Martin home or lot.
I talk to FSBOs all the time. What I try to do is help them by giving them the clear and un filtered truth about the Lake Martin market and how the market might react to their home. The decision to list or not to list is certainly up to them.
That being said, there will always be a segment of people that choose to sell their real estate themselves, without the help of an agent. So I figure I might as well be helpful in case the FSBO experiment doesn’t go well, maybe they’ll call me. They often do.
I read a great article for advice to FSBOs in today’s Wall Street Journal. Click here to read it. It had a lot of helpful sales strategies for FSBOs.
I would add to the article these suggestions to anyone selling their waterfront property themselves:
John’s Tips to any Lake Martin For Sale By Owner:
1. Get Your Own Website – Go to a domain seller like godaddy.com and buy your own website address. If your home’s address is 123 Lake Street – buy www.123Lake.com or whatever is available. The shorter the better. I do this for all of my listings. Use this on your flyers and advertisements. If you advertise your home on something like fsbo.com, its website will be something incoherent like www.fsbo.com/e34h3449ir4827 – no buyer can remember that, especially one that has been at Chimney Rock drinking beer for 3 hours. Once you have bought your site through godaddy, go to the control panel and choose “domain forwarding” to point the site to the long one at fsbo dot com. That way anyone who types 123lake.com in their browser will be taken automatically to the fsbo site.
2. Buy Custom Signs – Those “For Sale By Owner” signs you buy for $3 at WalMart might be appropriate for your used go-cart that you put out on highway 63, but do you really think it conveys the right image to someone you are asking to spend $600,000 for a waterfront home on Lake Martin? I use Cliff Grinnell at EBanr. His office is in Alex City on the Dadeville Highway. You need at least 2 – one for the road, and one for the waterfront. Make them double sided for greater visibility. I would go ahead and buy 4 so that you can switch them out to avoid being faded or dirty. Also be sure to get 2 “info tube” things at WalMart or Home Depot so you can put some flyers in both signs.
3. Make Effective Flyers – You start by taking great pictures of your home or lot. Then spend the money and have them printed by a high quality color LASER printer. Go to Kinko’s if you have no color laser printer of your own. Get them to go ahead and run 150 copies while they’re at it. The big cost here is the setup for a new print job, each additional copy is not as expensive, so you might as well print them all at one stop. If you’re putting the flyers in the info tubes in the signs, don’t waste a lot of space by pictures of the outside. They know what the outside looks like. Just use one or two of the lakeside so that they can easily remember which one is yours (odds are that yours is the 10th flyer they have pulled that day). If you are putting the flyer elsewhere then include more pictures of the waterfront. Most Lake Martin buyers are concerned about the property’s waterfront, so highlight that.
4. Be Available At An Instant To Talk Or Show The Home – Put your cell phone number on all advertisements. Don’t confuse buyers by giving your home phone in town, your home phone at Lake Martin, your office phone, your fax, etc. Just one will do. Then KEEP THE CELL PHONE ON YOU at all times. When it rings, answer it. If you don’t answer the phone, the majority of buyers will move along and not leave a message. If they want to see it now, show it now.
5. Call Or Email Me With Questions – Every property on Lake Martin is unique, with its own special selling points to promote and challenges to overcome to a potential buyer. If you’re stumped, give me a shout. I am glad to help you think of an answer, even if you plan to continue to sell it yourself.
Do you have another helpful FSBO tip for the rest of Lake Martin? Leave a comment below and help us all out! If you can’t see the “Leave a Reply” box below, click “Continue” then scroll down to the bottom.