For Sale by Owner News and Articles
Selling A Condo By Owner
By Robert Irwin
I was recently asked, "Just how difficult is it to sell a condo without an agent?" In fact, the questioner wanted to know if it was even possible to do this.
If it had been just a few years ago, I might have suggested that it certainly would be faster and easier to simply list. The problems peculiar to selling condos made using an agent usually the best way to go.
No longer, however! The advent of high-efficiency for-sale-by-owner sites (such as owners.com) have helped level the playing field and owners today can successfully market their own condos.
THE DIFFICULTY OF SELLING CONDOS
What makes condos more difficult to sell is their very nature. For example, with a single-family home you normally have a house on a road with a street address. It's easy to find, to drive by, and to look at. Not necessarily so with a condo. Many condos are located deep in large buildings that have only have keyed access. Others are hidden in gated complexes. And even those that aren't, often are on narrow winding streets making them difficult to locate. All of this means it's hard for potential buyers to get a quick look at what you're offering. And if they can't see enough, and thus aren't ready to make an appointment to see you, you may never see them.
Further, most condo units do not face a street. Thus, putting a sign out front (or even in a window) to draw attention is not possible. There even may be Homeowner's Association rules regulating or prohibiting the placement of "for sale" signs. (Some states have recently adopted laws allowing owners to place "for sale" signs on condo units, as long as they are in keeping with the character of the development.)
Finally, there's the difficulty of explaining what you have to offer when you get a call off an advertisement you've placed. Buyers don't like longwinded explanations of how buildings are organized or vague descriptions of what the interior and exterior of your unit looks like, no matter how nice it may be. One idea is to have a printed listed of features handy so you can simply run down the list for an interested caller.
The INTERNET PROVIDES A SOLUTION
Internet sites aimed at those selling by owner can help. Potential buyers can visit your listing page and see photos of your home inside as well as out. They can learn about the amenities (pool, spa, rec-center, golf, tennis, and so on) that your complex offers. They can get a good description of the size and condition of your home. All of this before they actually have to talk directly with you.
Further, you can include a map of how to get to your unit inside the complex or the building. This may sound simple, but anytime you can make getting to your unit easier, you increase your chances of a buyer actually showing up to see it.
Finally, once a buyer who's seen your web page contacts you, you can give detailed instructions for getting past a gate or locked door. (You may be able to give out a one-time code or one that you can change on a daily basis to help protect your project from people coming back and getting in later on.)
Driving buyers to your web page listing can make all the difference when trying to sell a condo by owner.
Robert Irwin is the most prolific real estate writer in America having produced over 100 published books in the field. His TIPS & TRAPS McGraw-Hill series has sold well over a million copies and his FOR SALE BY OWNER KIT and FIND IT, BUY IT, FIX IT and other books have been strong sellers for Dearborn.
In addition Irwin writes a regular real estate column for The Wall Street Journal online and is introducing a new weekly column forOwners.com.
Irwin has sold his own property "by owner" and during over 30 years in the business has been a broker and consultant to lenders, agents, buyers and sellers.
He can be reached through his website RobertIrwin.com.