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“By Owner” Sellers Win Big This Home-Buying Season With ForSaleByOwner.Com

Tribune Company real estate website launches sweepstakes to give sellers the chance to win up to $25,000 every month all summer long.

Chicago, Ill. (May 20, 2014) – According to a national survey conducted by Tribune Company-owned ForSaleByOwner.com, more than half of Americans would consider selling their home without the help of a real estate agent.1 This home-buying season, ForSaleByOwner.com is giving those on the fence a reason to go for it – rewarding people who have sold their homes by themselves the chance to cash in twice.

The Home Seller Sweepstakes will award three winners the equivalent of the six percent commission that they would have paid to sell with an agent, up to $25,000.2 Anyone who has sold their home without the aid of an agent from January – May 14, 2014 is eligible for entry. Entries can be submitted through July 30, 2014 on the ForSaleByOwner website. One winner will be randomly selected the first week of June, July and August, respectively.

“As one of the nation’s leading sources of information and support for people who are looking to sell their homes, we’re thrilled to be giving sellers the chance to cash in twice,” said Eddie Tyner, General Manager at ForSaleByOwner.com. “With the re-launch of our website now complete, it’s the perfect time to kick off the Home Seller Sweepstakes to celebrate with those who have already sold by owner and inspire those who are looking to sell throughout the summer months – a peak time for home sales.”

Since the site launch in 1999, ForSaleByOwner.com has grown into a trusted resource for “by owner” home sellers and buyers. The recently redesigned website is home to a more modern and intuitive online experience that makes the process of selling by owner easier and more accessible through new tools, content and design.

The site contains easy-to-use marketing tools that advertise listings across a network of top real estate websites and on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), along with how-to guides and live customer support. This makes it especially simple for the 80-percent of Americans who would consider buying a home being sold by owner to find their dream property.3

Backed by the Tribune Company, ForSaleByOwner.com has empowered its users to the tune of more than $2.3 billion in home sales in 2013 alone, all thanks to the information, tools and services that put the power to sell and buy a home directly in the hands of homeowners.4

For more information about by owner home selling or buying, visit ForSaleByOwner.com.

About ForSaleByOwner.com
ForSaleByOwner.com is the nation’s leading “by owner” real estate website, connecting home sellers with home buyers since 1999. The company offers a wide range of listing packages at varying prices that provide advertising, information, tools and resources to empower people to sell their homes themselves.

In 2013 alone, ForSaleByOwner.com facilitated the sale of $2.3 billion of residential real estate, accounting for upwards of $70 million in commission fees on home sales.

By selling a home without a real estate agent, sellers can save thousands of dollars by eliminating the commissions and fees a full service agent would command. A homeowner selling a $300,000 house through a full service real estate agent would forfeit up to $18,000 of their hard-earned home equity, based on the traditional six percent commission rate that has become the industry norm. ForSaleByOwner.com was acquired in 2006 by Tribune Digital, a division of Tribune Company, based in Chicago, IL.

Media Contacts:
Zeno Group
Leah Rosenfeld
Leah.Rosenfeld@zenogroup.com
O: 312-396-9766

ForSaleByOwner.com
Mercedes Carlton
mecarlton@tribune.com
O: 312-527-8526

    1, 3 – According to the 2014 Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers, a national survey conducted on behalf of ForSaleByOwner.com.
    2 – The Home Seller Sweepstakes is open to the current ForSaleByOwner.com customer base as well as the general public who have legal proof of selling their home without the aid of an agent.
    4 – According to ForSaleByOwner.com sales data.
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Selling By Owner Takes Common Sense

You’ve passed the first big test by assessing your financial situation and deciding to move forward with selling your home. Congratulations. Now it’s time to consider your selling method. Essentially, you have three options: use a traditional agent who’ll be paid a traditional commission; use a discount broker, or sell your home on your own and save thousands of dollars in the process.

Seems like a no-brainer—why pay a small fortune for a service you can perform yourself?

We’re not going to sugar coat it: Selling by owner takes work and determination. Real estate agents work hard. We respect the work they do and the time they put in, but you don’t need a Ph.D. to understand what’s behind the home selling process. You need the right information and the right tools to get the job done right. And the knowledge you do need? It’s all easily accessible online, most of it right here.

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Why It Makes Sense to Sell Your Home FSBO (for sale by owner):
• Is there anything an agent does that you can’t do for yourself? Really?
• Say you sell your home for $300,000 using a traditional agent with 6 percent commission fees. You owe $18,000 at closing. Ask yourself: Do you think an agent can do enough for you to earn $18,000? Even if you use a discount agent for half the traditional commission, that’s still $9,000.
• If you sell your home on your own, you control the showing schedule. You don’t have to leave your house spotless every morning in case your agent schedules an unexpected showing.
• You establish a personal connection with prospective buyers when you show your home yourself. That could be helpful when you sit down to negotiate an offer.
• Nobody knows your home better than you, and nobody’s a better advocate for your home than you are. When you sell by owner, you put that knowledge and passion to use every step of the way.
• If the market is depressed and you have trouble moving your home, you may be able to lower your price by effectively rebating the agent commission you didn’t pay to the buyer.

The reward for your DIY attitude: You get to keep the thousands of dollars you would otherwise pay an agent in commission. Your most difficult task just might be deciding what to do with the money you save.

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A New Reality for Real Estate Agents

When Cindy Brockwell, 58, and Bill Dailey, 62, sold their townhouse in Reston, Va. in early April, the only real estate agent involved was the one who brought them their buyers.

Instead of a listing broker, they used Internet services including ForSaleByOwner.com to price their house and do all the other things a broker would normally do.

“We decided that the value of the listing agent was minimal,” says Brockwell, who found a buyer in just five weeks. The total commission came to 3%.

Up until now: You couldn’t really operate in the residential real estate market without access to the National Association of Realtors’ multiple-listing service. The monopoly meant that only realtors really knew what homes in your area were selling for. They’d be happy to share the data – in return for the standard 6% commission.

The next evolution: Real estate information wants to be free. An estimate for just about any home’s value at any time will soon be available online at Zillow.com, HomeGain.com, RealEstateABC.com and other websites.

Zillow and its ilk are not perfect. Zillow’s valuation program, for example, tends to work best for mid-price homes in areas where there are a lot of transactions, less so in neighborhoods where people seldom move.

But the time may come when Zillow is seen as more reliable than human brokers. Like owners, brokers get anchored to higher prices as home values fall, and they have an incentive to inflate estimates to win prospective clients. Zillow has no such biases. If your house is worth $50,000 less than you paid a year ago, Zillow will tell you. It can’t be fired.

John Vogel, who teaches economics and real estate at Dartmouth, says the democratization of data spells the end of the 6% commission. “You go to an agent for information,” says Vogel. “Free access to it should be a major threat to the brokerage business.”

Real estate brokers will still have a role as marketers, especially in tough times like these. But like stock brokers before them, they’ll find that as they lose their traditional monopoly on information, they just can’t command their traditional price.

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Buying Condos By Owner: Need to Know

  • Find latent sellers. In this buyer’s market, many would-be sellers are holding back. If the units you’re most interested in are not officially on the market…ask! Their owners might be delighted to strike a deal with you.
  • Work the built-in social network. Condo associations have newsletters, intranets and social gatherings that you can leverage to get the word out about your interest in buying.
  • If you’ve got particular units in mind, mine public records to find out who owns them. Then contact the owners directly to open a conversation, recommends Jaime Uziel, a San Francisco attorney with Sheppard, Rosen, Uziel & Sussman who specializes in by-owner sales. He says he has handled numerous transactions that stemmed from buyers reaching out directly to owners.
  • Make sure you understand the underlying dynamics inherent in the size and complexity of the condo association. Yes, politics abound in larger condo associations, but the downside of very small associations is the inability to break stalemates. “When you have a smaller group, the personalities come into play more,” says Uziel. “With two-unit buildings, there is no way to break a deadlock. If one unit votes yes and one votes no, you have a problem.”
  • Inspection of the unit should include both the traditional inspection of the physical condition plus a pest control inspection.
  • Inspection of the common areas should include not only the building that includes your potential unit, but all buildings owned by the condo association: garages, club houses, pools, sports facilities, parks and all other grounds.
  • Expect it will take your real estate attorney 15 to 25 hours to help you with negotiations and to review the contract and related paperwork.
  • Scrutinize the association papers not just for current reserves, liens, and lawsuits, but also for pending complaints that could turn into lawsuits, special assessments and other financially draining problems.

The seller should provide you with these essential documents:

  • Copies of the legal description, including parking & storage spaces
  • CC&R – Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Bylaws
  • Rules and regulations currently enforced
  • Most recent financial statements of the homeowners’ association
  • Current operating budget
  • One year’s minutes of HOA meetings

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