I know I think the saying really goes “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” but in a real estate transaction I think the CAN’T should be changed to CAN!
One of the services that I provide to my prospective sellers is to try to help them understand the complexities of a real estate transaction, the implications of all of the options in the Northern Virginia Regional sales contract and correct pricing for today’s market. Occasionally after this education some sellers will decide that they want to go the FSBO route but I feel that part of my role as a real estate professional is educating the consumers no matter who they choose to sell their home.
So when I got not one but two emails from a Fairfax County FSBO this weekend letting me know about an upcoming open house I went back through my database to see why they had contacted me. Turns out I had shown prospective buyers their property (over-priced) back in June when they had it listed with a local agent. Now it is listed with an out of area flat fee MLS brokerage and still over-priced.
In their email the owner included a link to the website that they had created for the property. They had some nice pictures of their home (to bad they aren’t on the MLS) but as I clicked on a contract links I found that the out of area agent had provided the owner with the WRONG CONTRACT. Because Virginia is so large we have multiple regions and not all of the contract addendums are the same for each region.
Since I offer a FOR SALE BY OWNER option for sellers I have no objection to flat fee services. However I am opposed to flat fee brokers who don’t make sure that their clients have something as basic as the CORRECT CONTRACT for the area where there home is located. I think this is a minimum service requirement. There is a potential that if a buyer comes (without an agent) the owners could find themselves in a legal quagmire. In this market anyone who is looking to hire an out of area flat fee broker should do their research first to make sure that the information they are getting is relevant to the Northern Virginia market. A home is probably the largest single financial asset you own and taking your listing to an agent who isn’t familiar with your area could end up costing you more than you think.