There have been a few instances where we’ve successfully sold property without the assistance of a real estate agent. In fact, this approach has never failed us. The most recent involved a Condo we owned and lived in, in Tampa. We owned a unit for a short time. Everyday, Mrs. FIREdUp and I walked around the lake on the waking path. One day, we struck up a conversation with a lady who was looking at units for sale. The units she was seeing were not great fits for her as she was looking to live on the lake front. She had been renting while she got to know the area. Come to find out, she was renting the unit directly behind ours. We were winding down our time in Tampa, which was temporary while I worked on a project locally. We expressed to her that we may be interested in selling our lakefront unit, in the near future. She stated that she wanted to buy our unit and expressed she was flexible on timing. We kept in touch, and when I was done with my project, we approached her to confirm she was still interested, and she confirmed she was interested. We negotiated the terms, agreed to using a local Title Company to handle the closing, and a few weeks later the deal was done. We are firm believers that you have to ask for what you want, and this is a great example of that.
A few years ago, I had foreclosed on the buyers to whom I had financed the purchase of a three bedroom ranch in Michigan. This party had been good payers on a mortgage for several years but over time the timeliness of their payments were simply unreliable and eventually stopped. This was not a house that would make a good rental for me, due primarily to the location, so I needed to sell it. I listed it, By Owner, on Zillow. I got dozens of calls within a short period of time. I screened callers for ability to pay. The first buyer was not able to close due to a lack of funds, so I listed it again on Zillow and this time we got another buyer that have since been excellent mortgagees. We used a Title Company to perform the closing and file the mortgage/promissory note. They have been excellent payers for the past two years.
We have been buyers/sellers of dozens of properties but have never used a For Sale by Owner Sign. In this case, we had a vacant lot next to a lot that we had built our home on. We were not interested in building on this vacant lot but rather we wanted to sell. Mrs. FIREdUp made up a For Sale by Owner sign with our phone number. Within a few days, we received a call from a gentleman interested in buying the lot. We came to an agreement on a cash sale and closed on it with a local Title Company, incurring very little closing costs. The following summer, the buyers built a nice home on the lot.
In all three of these cases, I used a purchase agreement contract template from past deals we had done, so there was no legal fees. In cases where I financed the sale to the buyer, I used examples of documents that were used on past deals we had done. I arranged for the title company to process the signing of the documentation and filing of the documents with the local county. My only expenses were the Title Insurance, the fee of the Title Company, and the sellers real estate taxes.
I am a firm advocate for using a Rock Star real estate agent to buy and sell property, however there can be cases where it does not make sense. Not everyone will be comfortable with these types of sales, but these are examples of cases that have worked, that may work for you. Do you have any examples of selling real estate without a real estate professional? How about examples of you financing the sale of property to a buyer? If so, can you share your examples, lessons learned and how did the deals work out?