Luxury Homes Wine Country
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. 3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,158 sqft   lot 2,788 sqft
    Walk Score® 72
    Listing provided by Jill Alderson, Century 21 M&M and Associates
    MLS 21722759
  2. Photo of 1713 Andrews Circle, Suisun City, CA 94585 (MLS # 21722727)
    25
    Price Drop
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    2,117 sqft   lot 6,050 sqft
    Walk Score® 17
    Listing provided by Anthony Ward, Ward's Realty
    MLS 21722727
  3. Photo of 422 Rio Del Mar, American Canyon, CA 94503 (MLS # 21722612)
    15
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,032 sqft   lot 7,475 sqft
    Walk Score® 29
    Listing provided by Marcia Hadeler, Coldwell Banker B of V-Napa
    MLS 21722612
  4. Photo of 701 701 Way, El Sobrante, CA 94803 (MLS # 21722649)
    27
    3 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    1,076 sqft   lot 5,001 sqft
    Walk Score® 22
    Listing provided by Robert Triglia, Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific
    MLS 21722649
  5. Photo of 4124 Yeager Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 (MLS # 21722754)
    31
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,694 sqft   lot 4,626 sqft
    Walk Score® 18
    Listing provided by Rhonda Alderman, Pacific Union International
    MLS 21722754
  6. Photo of 150 Enes Avenue, Bay Point, CA 94565 (MLS # 21721078)
    30
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,404 sqft  
    Walk Score® 46
    Listing provided by Ellen Sabino, BA Golden State Homes
    MLS 21721078
  7. Photo of 260 Heritage Lane, Dixon, CA 95620 (MLS # 21722753)
    23
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,711 sqft   lot 3,054 sqft
    Walk Score® 19
    Listing provided by Nicholas Munsee, Select Realty Team
    MLS 21722753
  8. Photo of 122 Chula Vista Drive, San Rafael, CA 94901 (MLS # 21722639)
    17
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,929 sqft   lot 7,048 sqft
    Walk Score® 8
    Listing provided by Susan Coleman, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21722639
  9. Photo of 400 Evergreen Road, Bolinas, CA 94924 (MLS # 21721827)
    29
    3 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    1,352 sqft   lot 27,000 sqft
    Walk Score® 19
    Listing provided by Tom Wredberg, Oceanic Realty
    MLS 21721827
  10. Photo of 1531 South Wright Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 (MLS # 21721063)
    43
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,466 sqft   lot 1.50 ac
    Walk Score® 4
    Listing provided by Jonny Sanchez, RE/MAX PROs
    MLS 21721063
  11. Photo of 4480 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (MLS # 21722748)
    4
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    2,513 sqft   lot 36,900 sqft
    Walk Score® 36
    Listing provided by Lenora Kauth, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21722748
  12. Photo of 170 Hearthstone Drive, American Canyon, CA 94503 (MLS # 21722747)
    21
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,841 sqft   lot 5,153 sqft
    Walk Score® 40
    Listing provided by Connie Johnson, Heritage Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21722747
  13. Photo of 362 Edwin Drive, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21720694)
    3
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,374 sqft   lot 6,098 sqft
    Walk Score® 18
    Listing provided by Ronald Kahn, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate JFF
    MLS 21720694
  14. Photo of 33721 South Highway One, Gualala, CA 95445 (MLS # 21722740)
    29
    2 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,073 sqft   lot 33,106 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Sharon Burningham, Coldwell Banker Coastal Properties
    MLS 21722740
  15. Photo of 2121 Rachel Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 (MLS # 21706634)
    9
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,545 sqft   lot 4,278 sqft
    Walk Score® 35
    Listing provided by Jay Belmont, W Real Estate
    MLS 21706634
  16. Photo of 2125 Rachel Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 (MLS # 21706633)
    8
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,410 sqft   lot 4,021 sqft
    Walk Score® 35
    Listing provided by Jay Belmont, W Real Estate
    MLS 21706633
  17. Photo of 2577 Trinity Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442 (MLS # 21722741)
    13
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,880 sqft   lot 3.66 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Julie Dempsey, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21722741
  18. Photo of 405 Fairway Court, Healdsburg, CA 95448 (MLS # 21722432)
    48
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,900 sqft   lot 13,504 sqft
    Walk Score® 41
    Listing provided by Marel Ponseti, Century 21 Alliance
    MLS 21722432
  19. Photo of 381 Mark West Commons Circle, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 (MLS # 21722476)
    24
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,290 sqft   lot 1,816 sqft
    Walk Score® 51
    Listing provided by Susan Mobley, Russian River Realty Co
    MLS 21722476
  20. Photo of 512 Skylark Drive, Suisun City, CA 94585 (MLS # 21722733)
    21
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,720 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 33
    Listing provided by Tess Downey, RE/MAX Gold Elite
    MLS 21722733
  21. Photo of 2205 Forest Run, Hercules, CA 94547 (MLS # 21722694)
    11
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,126 sqft   lot 1,124 sqft
    Walk Score® 62
    Listing provided by Barrett Adams, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21722694
  22. 3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,480 sqft   lot 6,098 sqft
    Walk Score® 38
    Listing provided by JoAnn Paulon, HomeSwing
    MLS 21722730
  23. Photo of 208 Redstone Circle, Suisun City, CA 94585 (MLS # 21722732)
    29
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,158 sqft   lot 2,862 sqft
    Walk Score® 72
    Listing provided by Ninoroy Machado, All City Homes
    MLS 21722732
  24. Photo of Angwin, CA 94508 (MLS # 21714206)
    30
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    2,741 sqft   lot 2.15 ac
    Walk Score® 4
    Listing provided by Jan Dykema, Coldwell Banker BofV ST Helena
    MLS 21714206
  25. Photo of 14860 Rotonda Way, Guerneville, CA 95446 (MLS # 21719747)
    20
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,150 sqft   lot 3,049 sqft
    Walk Score® 9
    Listing provided by Mary Mount, Russian River Realty Co
    MLS 21719747
  26. Photo of 517 Apple Tree Lane, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21718308)
    31
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    926 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 52
    Listing provided by Ninoroy Machado, All City Homes
    MLS 21718308
  27. Photo of 141 San Andreas Street, Vallejo, CA 94589 (MLS # 21722643)
    31
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,441 sqft   lot 6,534 sqft
    Walk Score® 12
    Listing provided by Ninoroy Machado, All City Homes
    MLS 21722643
  28. Photo of 890 Woodward Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437 (MLS # 21722731)
    24
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    1,805 sqft  
    Walk Score® 46
    Listing provided by Paul Clark, Century 21 Fort Bragg Realty
    MLS 21722731
  29. Photo of 790 Youngsdale Drive, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21722717)
    49
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,562 sqft   lot 6,403 sqft
    Walk Score® 13
    Listing provided by David Clutts, Country Estates, Inc
    MLS 21722717
  30. Photo of 2744 Overlook Drive, Vallejo, CA 94591 (MLS # 21722644)
    41
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,918 sqft   lot 12,763 sqft
    Walk Score® 22
    Listing provided by Cathleen Rojas, RE/MAX Gold-Vallejo
    MLS 21722644
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