A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

Decisions (part 4)-A Seminar for those going it alone

I wanted to write this post after I had attended one of the seminars offered by ForSaleByOwner.com. The seminar was free to those who are using their service, but not open to others, so I decided to go through the ads to see which companies might be speaking at the meeting, and if I could find any information on them.

Each market will have its own speakers, and my assumption is that an advertiser is probably also the speaker. The seminar lasts for three hours, with the following experts: Home Appraiser; Marketing Specialist; Real Estate Broker; Home Inspector; Mortgage Broker; and Title Company. Each will give you information on their area of expertise, which really does give you a bit to think about. However, each speaker would have thirty minutes allotted to their presentation. For comparison, the program from HUD takes eight hours to prepare a home buyer, and they see that as a starting point. When I go over a report, it takes me at least a half hour, and that would be explaining my findings, not all possible findings. With so much information needed, and so little time to present it, I feel that I am safe in writing that only a brief beginning into what your efforts will be could be given.

I started typing web addresses into my browser for the advertisers to see what information they offered on their sites to discover a mixed bag. Some sites offered very brief discussions into their topics, while others provided more details. Most of the sites were geared towards showing the importance of using their service, so the information given was presented in a way that it is important to use them. Now I do this as well on my site, but I attempt to give you a basic understanding of each topic, without trying to directly suggest that you need my service at every step. Does a seller need to use a home inspector? The report may be useful to the seller, but they do not absolutely need my service. Should a seller be aware of what may come up in a report? Definitely, they should be prepared for what the buyer may bring to the table. A good understanding of an inspection can be useful to a seller, and this was not provided on the advertiser’s site as well as I would have liked. I also do not think that this could have been presented to a seller in thirty minutes.

How does this compare to a Realtor? All Realtors will have a basic understanding of the topics presented by the experts. In Texas for example, Realtors have to take a class on home inspections, and I would think that is fairly standard practice around the country. Each Realtor is different though, and their involvement with the seller will be handled variously by them, so I cannot speak to every situation involving a Realtor. Let us look at some facts: a seller’s Realtor will spend more than three hours dealing with their client, and they will be assisting a client through this process, and they will be taking care of a good deal of the tasks involved in selling, which means that you do not necessarily need to be exposed to all of the data. Facts that need attention will be brought up by any good Realtor.

My conclusion follows suit to what I have already posted on this subject: for an average home seller, you are better off with a Realtor. If you are motivated, and willing to do your research, and take advantage of the package which offers you a listing on the MLS (multiple listing service), you can save money and sell your home. Ask yourself if you are ready to do this job for several months, and if you have the ability to deal with all that is involved. You would not want to spend this money on that program, just to end up using a Realtor. Going it totally alone means that there will be even more work for you, but it is not impossible. Maybe Realtors should consider changing the way that they do business, as firms like Redfin or Zillow are suggesting, but you are not truly loosing out financially when using a Realtor. Consider not only the cost in commission versus FSBO programs, but your time and efforts as part of the true cost, when evaluating your expenses. Remember also your Realtor’s efforts, and what they are worth. In the end your own analysis should include all of these factors when considering how to sell your home.



  Elaine Reese wrote @

Very well written and informative.

Well, let’s see. I had to take 130 course hrs just to sit for my licensing test. I have to take 30 course hours every 3 yrs of continuing ed. And each of the 9 yrs I’ve been in the business I learn even more because the laws are forever changing. I read and read and read.

And the ‘unrepresented seller’ is going to learn everything that I know in just 3 hours. Yeah, that’s the ticket! 😉

  frankschulteladbeck wrote @

I think that is a fact that many who are not in the real estate profession forget. Anyone with a license in this field has to have continue education to maintain their license, so we are always learning the latest. I can see where someone might be able to go it alone, but if someone is thinking about it, they need to factor in more than just the money. Of the three houses that I was looking at for these posts. The one using FSBO.com is not keeping up with the competition from the Realtor shown house in its appearance. Our lives step in the way of our focus to sell, and a Realtor would be the motivation to stay on track.

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