Luxury Homes Wine Country by Kathy Luebcke
Kathy Luebcke
707-280-5753707-280-5753

Napa For Sale by Owner Signs may be an Endangered Species

9-4-fsboThey may be getting rarer, but you still see some Napa “For Sale by Owner” signs from time to time. Sometimes they signify an owner who, truth be told, simply doesn’t mind letting it be known that he or she isn’t in much of a hurry to sell the place. This can be true if it’s an extraordinary example of its architectural style, or beautifully landscaped and maintained, or in other ways, from curb to chimney-top, obviously a prime piece of local property. This is a For Sale by Owner anomaly though; you don’t see many of them.

A far greater number of them (‘FSBOs,’ for short) are average, run-of-the-mill homes—or even clearly neglected ones (in the latter case, the For Sale by Owner designation invites passersby to assume the sign really means “Fire Sale!!!”).

But for the everyday-looking Napa For Sale by Owner properties, that sign out front has to make you wonder. Currently, 88% of homes are sold through a real estate agent or broker—a percentage that’s been steadily rising for more than a decade. What would impel the owner to take a route that the vast majority of sellers avoid?

There’s often a history behind the sign: a major experience that prompted the go-it-alone venture. That story usually falls into one of two general categories—and they’re polar opposites!

HAPPY STORY!

This camp had a pleasure cruise the last time they sold their home. Their agent put together a listing, and BANG! That was it! Showings by the end of the week, and SOLD in days! For the full asking price! A dream closing with no unexpected details, gifts to and from the excited buyers, and nice notes still exchanged at the holidays…

The Happy Story takeaway: selling a house is so simple, why in the world would you gift a commission to a third party? It’s so easy, why not save thousands of dollars? Up goes the ‘For Sale by Owner’ sign…

UNHAPPY STORY!

These folks found themselves all but victimized by a previous home sale. Everything went haywire from the get-go. They may have started on the wrong foot, assuming that every licensed agent is equally qualified and offers the same level of service. From there, it was all downhill. Bad communication, missed appointments, showings to loud-mouthed prospects who made it clear they were not about to pay anything like that asking price. Maybe a change of agents, but the eventual sale, after those lengthy missteps (and perhaps a technical hitch or two at closing) resulted in a disappointing sale price.

The Unhappy Story takeaway: I bet I can do this better, myself! Up goes the Napa For Sale by Owner sign…

The current national statistics seem to indicate that the FSBO sign itself is a lot more likely to engender an Unhappy Story result. A typical For Sale by Owner home, if it sold at all, yielded just 80% of what agent-assisted sales brought. Not to mention the hassle of foregoing all the technical and marketing help a good agent brings. The first key to your own Happy Story is to find the right agent—one with a history of Happy Story endings.

This takeaway: call me!


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  1. Photo of 131 Isle Royale Circle, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21818518)
    20
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,314 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 4
    Listing provided by Thomasine Peters, RE/MAX Gold
    MLS 21818518
  2. Photo of Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21818743)
    48
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,073 sqft   lot 6,033 sqft
    Walk Score® 13
    Listing provided by Hope Hernandez, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21818743
  3. Photo of 1040 Campoy Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 (MLS # 21818577)
    10
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,188 sqft   lot 566 sqft
    Walk Score® 33
    Listing provided by Mary Anne Veldkamp, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21818577
  4. Photo of 2331 Morningside Circle, Santa Rosa, CA 95405 (MLS # 21818783)
    34
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,439 sqft   lot 4,012 sqft
    Walk Score® 28
    Listing provided by Gary L Sumner, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21818783
  5. Photo of 1870 Leaning Oak Drive, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21818774)
    28
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    1,975 sqft   lot 3,106 sqft
    Walk Score® 4
    Listing provided by Kathleen Ramos, Stumbaugh Realty Advisors
    MLS 21818774
  6. Photo of 3263 Inwood Place, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21818771)
    2
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,409 sqft   lot 2,322 sqft
    Walk Score® 11
    Listing provided by Sofia Waiz, Greater Solano Real Estate Services
    MLS 21818771
  7. Photo of 717 Crestview Drive, Pinole, CA 94564 (MLS # 21818759)
    14
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,161 sqft   lot 8,398 sqft
    Walk Score® 56
    Listing provided by Artavia Taylor, Taylor Real Estate Brokerage
    MLS 21818759
  8. Photo of 1391 Couples Circle, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21818563)
    42
    5 beds,  3 full baths
    3,477 sqft   lot 7,166 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Candice Sullivan, Country Estates, Inc
    MLS 21818563
  9. Photo of 399 Riviera Circle, Larkspur, CA 94939 (MLS # 21818547)
    33
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    1,750 sqft   lot 7,501 sqft
    Walk Score® 31
    Listing provided by Angela Curley, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21818547
  10. Photo of 1105 Bello Drive, Dixon, CA 95620 (MLS # 21818698)
    40
    Open House
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,489 sqft   lot 8,490 sqft
    Walk Score® 19
    Listing provided by Juli Paschal, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21818698
  11. Photo of 799 Dizzy Gillespie Way, Windsor, CA 95492 (MLS # 21816962)
    30
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,400 sqft   lot 3,920 sqft
    Walk Score® 67
    Listing provided by Craig Curreri, Pacific Union International
    MLS 21816962
  12. Photo of 359 Seaport Drive, Vallejo, CA 94590 (MLS # 21818792)
    37
    2 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    1,238 sqft   lot 1,594 sqft
    Walk Score® 20
    Listing provided by Candice Camden, Camden Realty & Property Management
    MLS 21818792
  13. Photo of 165 Vineyard Circle, Yountville, CA 94599 (MLS # 21818810)
    16
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,154 sqft   lot 1,442 sqft
    Walk Score® 43
    Listing provided by Cyndi Gates, Gates Estates Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21818810
  14. Photo of 1079 Tahoe Court, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21817132)
    48
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,596 sqft   lot 3.26 ac
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by Elizabeth Olcott, Keller Williams Napa Valley
    MLS 21817132
  15. Photo of 132 Riordan Lane, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21814133)
    4
    Price Drop
    Open House
    5 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    2,821 sqft   lot 6,970 sqft
    Walk Score® 31
    Listing provided by Elli Ketcherside, Ryder Homes Realty, Inc
    MLS 21814133
  16. Photo of 13970 Green Valley Road, Forestville, CA 95436 (MLS # 21818797)
    4
    1 bed,  1 full bath
    lot 7.87 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Trish McCall, Keller Williams Realty
    MLS 21818797
  17. Photo of 153 Riviera Drive, San Rafael, CA 94901 (MLS # 21818790)
    46
    Open House
    4 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    3,433 sqft   lot 14,161 sqft
    Walk Score® 2
    Listing provided by Benjamin Faber, Redfin
    MLS 21818790
  18. Photo of 1 Frisbie Street, Vallejo, CA 94590 (MLS # 21817327)
    15
    2 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    964 sqft   lot 492 sqft
    Walk Score® 33
    Listing provided by Tim Hiemstra, Napa River Realty
    MLS 21817327
  19. Photo of 260 Ginger Street, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21818804)
    26
    Open House
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,514 sqft   lot 5,092 sqft
    Walk Score® 17
    Listing provided by Jill Alderson, Century 21 MM
    MLS 21818804
  20. Photo of 82 Longview Drive, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21818751)
    31
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,546 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 58
    Listing provided by Bonnie Almarez, Windermere Hulsey & Associates
    MLS 21818751
  21. Photo of 4 Lorraine Street, Ukiah, CA 95482 (MLS # 21801826)
    14
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,220 sqft  
    Walk Score® 51
    Listing provided by Lynn McNamara, RE/MAX Full Spectrum
    MLS 21801826
  22. Photo of 1200 East Railroad Avenue, Cotati, CA 94931 (MLS # 21818788)
    34
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,620 sqft   lot 19.79 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Lauren Camarda, Engel & Voelkers Sonoma County
    MLS 21818788
  23. Photo of 30 Castellina Circle, American Canyon, CA 94503 (MLS # 21818791)
    39
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,652 sqft   lot 5,223 sqft
    Walk Score® 17
    Listing provided by David Tate, Century 21 Exclusive
    MLS 21818791
  24. Photo of 201 Floribel Avenue, San Anselmo, CA 94960 (MLS # 21815197)
    24
    4 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    1,936 sqft   lot 10,920 sqft
    Walk Score® 23
    Listing provided by Aron Cawood, Dolan Realty Company
    MLS 21815197
  25. Photo of 509 South Foothill Boulevard, Cloverdale, CA 95425 (MLS # 21818415)
    38
    Open House
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,544 sqft   lot 6,286 sqft
    Walk Score® 41
    Listing provided by Annaliese Hiatt Quisisem, RE/MAX Gold
    MLS 21818415
  26. Photo of 2929 Branch Street, Sacramento, CA 95815 (MLS # 21817021)
    14
    Open House
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,538 sqft   lot 19,798 sqft
    Walk Score® 31
    Listing provided by David Coombs, Realty One Group Complete
    MLS 21817021
  27. Photo of 4974 Filament Street, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21818779)
    22
    Open House
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,685 sqft  
    Walk Score® 31
    Listing provided by Kenneth Schrier, RE/MAX Marketplace
    MLS 21818779
  28. Photo of 32290 South Highway 1 Highway, Gualala, CA 95445 (MLS # 21818770)
    11
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,210 sqft   lot 1.58 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Sean Gaynor-Rousseau, Sea Ranch - Gualala Real Estate Co
    MLS 21818770
  29. Photo of 6740 Merchant Street, Petaluma, CA 94952 (MLS # 21818777)
    35
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,400 sqft   lot 3.84 ac
    Walk Score® 11
    Listing provided by Kelly Sullivan, Century 21 NorthBay Alliance
    MLS 21818777
  30. Photo of 15115 Konocti View, Clearlake, CA 95422 (MLS # 21818776)
    23
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,248 sqft   lot 8,100 sqft
    Walk Score® 46
    Listing provided by Colleen Chatoff, Chatoff Properties
    MLS 21818776
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