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. 3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,223 sqft   lot 5,227 sqft
    Walk Score® 39
    Listing provided by Yohannes Gebrekidan, Alliance Bay Realty
    MLS 21801403
  2. 2 beds,  1 full bath
    727 sqft   lot 3,250 sqft
    Walk Score® 68
    Listing provided by Pamela Jenkins, Century 21 M&M and Associates
    MLS 21801346
  3. Photo of 1025 Vintage Drive, Rio Vista, CA 94571 (MLS # 21801390)
    39
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,430 sqft   lot 5,850 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by DONNA STARKS, RE/MAX GOLD
    MLS 21801390
  4. Photo of 1930 Rose Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 (MLS # 21801380)
    7
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    977 sqft   lot 6,534 sqft
    Walk Score® 69
    Listing provided by Kelly Kline, Premier Realty Associates
    MLS 21801380
  5. Photo of 54 Vine Street, Vacaville, CA 95688 (MLS # 21708687)
    27
    5 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    4,202 sqft   lot 1.29 ac
    Walk Score® 28
    Listing provided by Nicole Solari, The Solari Group
    MLS 21708687
  6. Photo of 473 Rosso Court, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21801389)
    29
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,229 sqft   lot 2,252 sqft
    Walk Score® 66
    Listing provided by Paulo Corro, Heritage Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21801389
  7. Photo of 114 Shelley Drive, Vallejo, CA 94591 (MLS # 21727343)
    35
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,932 sqft   lot 6,534 sqft
    Walk Score® 30
    Listing provided by Beth Brittenbach, Century 21 Schutjer Realty, Inc
    MLS 21727343
  8. Photo of 16927 Schiller Court, Sonoma, CA 95476 (MLS # 21800710)
    31
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,740 sqft   lot 6,098 sqft
    Walk Score® 31
    Listing provided by Phoebe Brookbank, Coldwell Banker B of V
    MLS 21800710
  9. 2 beds,  1 full bath
    847 sqft   lot 5,097 sqft
    Walk Score® 86
    Listing provided by Lani Cooke, Heritage Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21801388
  10. Photo of 1152 Church Street, St. Helena, CA 94574 (MLS # 21801378)
    44
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,597 sqft   lot 6,922 sqft
    Walk Score® 79
    Listing provided by Cyndi Gates, Gates Estates Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21801378
  11. Photo of 33721 So. Highway One Highway, Gualala, CA 95445 (MLS # 21801368)
    22
    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 21801368
  12. Photo of 942 Grant Street, Vallejo, CA 94590 (MLS # 21801238)
    19
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,477 sqft   lot 5,002.00 ac
    Walk Score® 39
    Listing provided by Frenchelle Franklin - Bowie, RE/MAX Gold Elite
    MLS 21801238
  13. Photo of 9216 Si Oliver Way, Windsor, CA 95492 (MLS # 21801375)
    7
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,200 sqft   lot 3,812 sqft
    Walk Score® 67
    Listing provided by Greg Levy, Levy & Associates Real Estate
    MLS 21801375
  14. Photo of 1327 Legend Circle, Vallejo, CA 94591 (MLS # 21801322)
    16
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    1,982 sqft   lot 6,046 sqft
    Walk Score® 32
    Listing provided by LaGuan Lea, Lea Pannell Realty
    MLS 21801322
  15. Photo of 389 Catalina Way, Vallejo, CA 94589 (MLS # 21801373)
    27
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,449 sqft   lot 6,534 sqft
    Walk Score® 6
    Listing provided by Scott Brown, eXp Realty of California, Inc
    MLS 21801373
  16. Photo of 405 Woodman Creek Road, Laytonville, CA 95454 (MLS # 21801372)
    24
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,225 sqft   lot 7.45 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Sharon Noah, Realty World-Selzer Realty
    MLS 21801372
  17. Photo of 1867 Carignan Way, Yountville, CA 94599 (MLS # 21801366)
    25
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,400 sqft  
    Walk Score® 47
    Listing provided by Cyndi Gates, Gates Estates Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21801366
  18. Photo of 1021 Sheridan Street, Vallejo, CA 94590 (MLS # 21728673)
    5
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,075 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 42
    Listing provided by Clinton Dickson, I.C.E. Realty Services
    MLS 21728673
  19. Photo of 1724 Vermont Street, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21800679)
    40
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,417 sqft   lot 4,792 sqft
    Walk Score® 67
    Listing provided by Julia Culpepper, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21800679
  20. Photo of 1865 Windsorville Way, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21801369)
    19
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,866 sqft   lot 7,889 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Debbie Duncan, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21801369
  21. Photo of Fort Bragg, CA 95437 (MLS # 21801209)
    35
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    2,200 sqft   lot 1.30 ac
    Walk Score® 2
    Listing provided by Gale Beauchamp, Gale Beauchamp Realty
    MLS 21801209
  22. Photo of 2781 Warm Springs Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442 (MLS # 21801365)
    39
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,696 sqft   lot 110.53 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Laura deRutte, RE/MAX Marketplace
    MLS 21801365
  23. Photo of 322 Yellowstone Drive, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21801355)
    12
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,367 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 32
    Listing provided by Tezra Rogers, Pacific Bay Estates
    MLS 21801355
  24. Photo of 9233 Magnolia Way, Windsor, CA 95492 (MLS # 21801317)
    23
    Open House
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,384 sqft   lot 6,573 sqft
    Walk Score® 16
    Listing provided by Marnie G. Teri V., NextHome Wine Country Premier
    MLS 21801317
  25. Photo of 240 Sugar Loaf Drive, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21801358)
    27
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    1,562 sqft   lot 10,481 sqft
    Walk Score® 15
    Listing provided by Evan Gorder, Evan Gorder
    MLS 21801358
  26. Photo of 1426 Driftwood Circle, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21801363)
    41
    Open House
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,942 sqft   lot 5,079 sqft
    Walk Score® 12
    Listing provided by Robert Chung, Legacy Real Estate & Associates
    MLS 21801363
  27. Photo of 285 College View Drive, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21727423)
    23
    2 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    985 sqft   lot 871 sqft
    Walk Score® 63
    Listing provided by Bret Menze, Keller Williams Realty
    MLS 21727423
  28. Open House
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,012 sqft   lot 3,254 sqft
    Walk Score® 34
    Listing provided by Michelle Perez, RE/MAX Gold of Fairfield
    MLS 21801359
  29. 4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,856 sqft   lot 10,838 sqft
    Walk Score® 23
    Listing provided by Maria Yee Johnson, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21801360
  30. Photo of 125 Mountain Meadow, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (MLS # 21801169)
    22
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    3,610 sqft   lot 18.48 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Mary Anne Veldkamp, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21801169
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