I'm considering FSBO in Laguna Niguel California

9 Replies

Hi, I've bought and sold several homes - but mostly with a realtor.  I did buy one home many years ago from a gentleman that was very familiar with the process and it went quite well.  I'm retired now and I have time so I'm considering selling my condo in Laguna Niguel by myself to save a huge amount on commission.  Two condos (same model) are currently in escrow for around $600,000.  I'm considering $590,000 - it has been a rental for 10 years and is a little rough but I am putting in new  laminate floors/carpeting, 4" baseboards, interior paint, one new shower/bath, re-grouting other shower/bath and getting caught up on all deferred maintenance.  

Is there good information on how to complete a FSBO transaction in CA? I will need to find a good escrow company and all forms required. Does it make sense to use a Real Estate attorney or would that just wipe out much of the money I am trying to save?

I've also heard there are new web based companies that will help sell the home for a much smaller fee.  Any suggestions?   PS - I would expect that there are lot of realtors that will tell me how stupid it is to sell this myself.  Thanks - Brad

Hi @Brad Rondeau ! I figured I might chime in and maybe offer some help and info for you with regards to FSBO.

First and foremost, making sure that the property is turn key and ready to sell is SUPER important when you're doing a FSBO. A lot of people that sell their own properties tend to try and sell them way too high, they sit on the market for forever, and then they end up using a realtor in the end. So I like your idea of being a little bit below market. I would stress that you try and make your property look and feel as close to those high comparable properties as possible! That will ensure you get a great resale price.

Another thing I would stress is, make sure that you do offer some kind of commission if a realtor brings in a buyer for you. That will make sure that realtors will show your property to prospective buyers. Because realtors can sometimes be greedy, they won't always show properties that are for sale by owners because commission isn't included in a sale. Giving 2.5-3% would be helpful for you to get it sold quickly. You may even want a realtor to hold a couple open houses for you. Walk the neighborhood, hand out flyers, market on Facebook, Craigslist, Instagram, Zillow, etc to try and get as many people there as possible. 

Another thing you should think about is disclosures. Those are important for EVERY transaction in CA. We never know whats going to happen in real estate as I'm sure you know, so having everything disclosed to the buyer is super important. 

I definitely don't think you're stupid for selling this yourself. 

Whatever you do decide, there is a lot of us on here that would be happy to help you. If you do decide to sell this on your own, you should consider hiring a transaction coordinator company here in California. Typically the people that work on files have their real estate license and charge a minimal fee to help provide you the disclosures you'll need to close any escrow. 

Hope this gives you some help!! Best of luck Brad! 

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Hi @Brad Rondeau , you might want to work with a Real Estate Transaction Coordinator to help you with the For Sale By Owner process. You just pay a flat fee and they will provide all forms, know what documents you need (and when they are due), and help you throughout the entire process. 

There is a lot more to do than just filling out some forms. They will also order the Natural Hazard Disclosure Report, Preliminary Title Report, City Report and the Home Warranty, and any other items needed. On top of that they will be the one coordinating with the appraiser, loan officer, and escrow to make sure all deadlines are met. Most real estate agents use them so that they don't have to do all things themselves. You just want to make sure you get an experienced one who is licensed. I have an amazing one that I can refer you that serves all of California and can help answer any questions you have as well as get your property listed in the MLS. Private message me for contact info. I can also refer you an escrow company and title company if you need them.

Like others have mentioned, a Transaction Coordinator "TC" is likely your best bet. They are cost competitive, so be sure to shop around. They all have access to the California Realtor forms and they also have software which makes sure they are not missing any deadlines. Many are agents/brokers themselves.

There are numerous web based companies that help you sell for a "flat fee". Google "flat fee MLS" to get a good idea of what's out there, and be sure to check their reviews and also that their listing agreement doesn't have any hidden fees or requirements to use any of their settlement services.

Best of luck on the sale!

@Brad Rondeau

Absolutely something that can be done, though not everyone can do it well. You're likely in a great market so you have that going for you, listing below the recent sales in your building might spark a lot of interest and some up-bidding. Make sure your unit is comparable or at least attractive as a way to get into that building. 

As others mentioned, you'll need disclosures and contracts. 

Have a good understanding of what you have and your market. A buyer with a great agent might cause you to second guess certain things once you're in escrow, and ultimately concede things you might be convinced you need to. A good agent knows how to price and market your property, understands disclosures, laws, contracts, will show up to show the place, and can hold your hand through the process. But a great agent will go way beyond that, especially in negotiations. Might they be far and few between? I don't know. 

Know your contracts, timelines, and stay on top of the process - collect earnest money, make sure your buyer is performing, etc. I'm a broker in LA, I'm happy to offer you some guidance - as a BP member.