Life Without a Realtor: A Cautionary Tale

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If you don’t already know, F.S.B.O. stands for: “For Sale By Owner.” Meaning, no Realtor involved. Why? You save money in commissions. And if you’re into that, you can also save money but cutting your own hair, doing your own dental work, defending yourself in court and cutting out your own appendix if you eat too many strawberries.

Actually, sometimes, it’s a good strategy; things go smoothly and everyone’s happy. But sometimes it doesn’t work out so well. I just came across Alan Jacobson, 51, who has devoted an entire website to his February 2007 FSBO experience on a website he’s developed called FSBOGoneWrong.com.

In some respects, his awful experience hasn’t got much to do with what we do at Condo Metropolis. After all we usually represent buyers, not sellers. Except buyers need Realtors too. And many buyers don’t realize that since it’s the seller who normally pays for both Realtor’s expenses (hence the tendency to try and save money) buyers have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by using an agent.

So if, as a buyer, you walk into a condo development (or an open house) with out your own agent you’ll probably be met by one anyway. An agent who will probably seem quite helpful and answer many of your questions and even give you a tour. So what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong is, you’re talking to the developer’s, i.e. the seller’s agent. And guess what? They’re being paid to represent the seller’s interests, not yours. They are there to sell you a condo. They will not always disclose important information to you about the property, they do not have to keep your information confidential and they are not there to negotiate you the best deal in town. When you bring your own agent, that person has your in interests at heart. And since this peace of mind costs the buyer nothing, you’d have to be crazy to go it alone, right?

But since many websites (like CondoMetropolis.com) now offer buyers the ability to browse condominiums at no charge on the internet, buyers begin to think that since they can locate their condo on their own, they don’t need a Realtor. And that’s where it all starts to go wrong. Because finding the condo is only the beginning of the process. A Realtor will attempt to:

  • Negotiate the best price
  • Maximize incentives
  • Take care of the contractual paperwork
  • Organize a home inspection
  • Make sure you’re buying a real condo and not just the promise of one (pre-construction). 
  • So browse away on Condo Metropolis. Find what you’re looking for – but once you’ve found what interests you, call us (or email us) to safeguard your interests. Remember, if you visit a condo on your own, and you fail (or forget) to tell the on-site agent that you have an agent, you will normally be prevented from bringing them in later in the deal. That’s just the way it goes. So make sure you register your agent or your intent to use one, the first time you visit a community and are asked to fill out that registration card. If you want to use CondoMetropolis.com as your agent then we’d be happy to help you narrow down your choices and accompany you - or if you prefer to go alone, you can still save time by printing out one of our registration forms before you go. Just hand it to the agent on-site and you’ll be good to go!

    1 Comment

    1. I just wish I’ve done my home work before buying my first home, even though you always read about the trouble of “selling yourself”, I am one of these people who got burned by “buying myself”.
      Reading through a lot of passages on this site I could not agree more. Try to find a GOOD agent, it would have saved me a lot of trouble and money.

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