FSBO Seller can really shoot themselves in the foot

Our weekends lately involve house hunting. We generally try to go to open houses because they are more casual and if we don't make it, no one is really put out. This can sometimes backfire though. For instance, we went to see a house in Oak Park that was a For Sale By Owner (FSBO). The seller was exploring selling her home so she put fliers in her neighbors mailbox asking them to refer friends. One of the many friends who want us to buy in their neighborhood passed the info on to me.

For Sale By Owner is one of those things that I think make a lot of sense on paper -- like communism and Taylor Swift -- but doesn't work in reality, mostly because the industry resists it at every turn.

This particular FSBO seller was a talker. It wasn't even so much that she was trying to sell me on the house per se. It was more that she was trying to head off any of my potential objections before I even made them. At the same time she advised me to ask for a new garage if I made an offer!

One of the issues with the house was the small outdated kitchen. It would not only have to be updated but also the size somehow increased. The only feasible way would be to move a wall. I said knowing if it was a load bearing or non-load bearing wall would determine what you could do and how much it would cost. And she would argue with me even when I agreed with her!

"Oh you could move the wall all the way to here and do this and do that," she rambled on.
"You can do anything if you have the money," I said. "being on a tight budget, we might not be able to afford to do what someone with deeper pockets might be able to achieve."

This made her even more determined to convince me it could be done. She was quite the talker and even though I had set the expectation that we had other appointments, she managed to eat up all our cushion time so that we couldn't check out her neighbor's open house. It's not that she didn't want us to see that house. Quite the opposite in fact. She really wanted us to see that house so that we realized what a price break we were getting on a almost identical house -- if by identical you mean 30% smaller and more awkward floor plan.

We missed the window of opportunity to see her neighbor's house because of her non stop rambling. She missed out on convincing us that her held potential for the same reason.


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