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 106 Plymouth Cove, San Rafael, CA 94901 (MLS # 21901378)
    28
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,827 sqft   lot 4,199 sqft
    Listing provided by Carol Dean, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21901378
  2. Photo of 152 Del Rio Drive, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21901501)
    27
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,056 sqft   lot 871 sqft
    Listing provided by Jamie Trujillo, RE/MAX Gold
    MLS 21901501
  3. Photo of 7321 Pleasants Valley Road, Vacaville, CA 95688 (MLS # 21901337)
    50
    2 beds,  3 full baths
    1,818 sqft   lot 140.00 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Jean Deleonardi, KW Vaca Valley
    MLS 21901337
  4. Photo of 567 Spinnaker Court, Clearlake Oaks, CA 95423 (MLS # 21901482)
    8
    6 beds,  3 full baths
    2,867 sqft   lot 8,880 sqft
    Walk Score® 12
    Listing provided by Janice Maschek, Shore Line Realty, Inc
    MLS 21901482
  5. Photo of 125 Currant Lane, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21901167)
    50
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,597 sqft   lot 4,918 sqft
    Walk Score® 20
    Listing provided by Renee Neuman, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21901167
  6. Photo of 497 Regency Circle, Vacaville, CA 95687 (MLS # 21901497)
    35
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,209 sqft   lot 4,787 sqft
    Walk Score® 30
    Listing provided by Kathleen Ramos, Stumbaugh Realty Advisors
    MLS 21901497
  7. Photo of 332 Donahue Street, Sausalito, CA 94965 (MLS # 21901500)
    3
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,667 sqft   lot 701 sqft
    Walk Score® 36
    Listing provided by Pete Zavlaris, Alain Pinel, REALTORS®
    MLS 21901500
  8. 5 beds,  3 full baths
    1,280 sqft   lot 4.79 ac
    Walk Score® 1
    Listing provided by Andrew Nicoll, W Real Estate
    MLS 21901457
  9. Photo of 18765 Dove Court, Hidden Valley Lake, CA 95467 (MLS # 21901498)
    24
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,189 sqft   lot 12,197 sqft
    Walk Score® 5
    Listing provided by Yvette Sloan, NextHome Yvette Sloan
    MLS 21901498
  10. 4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,698 sqft   lot 8,276 sqft
    Walk Score® 58
    Listing provided by Jimmy Perez, United Realty Group
    MLS 21901495
  11. Photo of 1040 Boggs Lane, Lakeport, CA 95453 (MLS # 21901425)
    17
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    lot 9,306 sqft
    Walk Score® 13
    Listing provided by Shawn Hermosillo, W Real Estate
    MLS 21901425
  12. Photo of 371 Nicoli Lane, Sonoma, CA 95476 (MLS # 21901412)
    17
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    990 sqft   lot 5,998 sqft
    Walk Score® 57
    Listing provided by Erin Davis, Compass
    MLS 21901412
  13. Photo of 17155 Morgan Valley Road, Lower Lake, CA 95457 (MLS # 21901493)
    37
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,000 sqft   lot 40.00 ac
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by Yvette Sloan, NextHome Yvette Sloan
    MLS 21901493
  14. 3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,136 sqft   lot 7,532 sqft
    Walk Score® 58
    Listing provided by Chanell Tyhurst, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21900701
  15. Photo of 248 Orris Terrace, San Rafael, CA 94903 (MLS # 21901246)
    25
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,337 sqft   lot 6,499 sqft
    Walk Score® 54
    Listing provided by Liz McCarthy, Compass
    MLS 21901246
  16. Photo of 1360 Milton Place, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21900887)
    42
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    1,821 sqft   lot 5,249 sqft
    Walk Score® 60
    Listing provided by BUNHONG YI, CLIMB REAL ESTATE GROUP
    MLS 21900887
  17. Photo of 5973 Lone Pine Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472 (MLS # 21901387)
    22
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    809 sqft   lot 29,381 sqft
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by David Rendino, RE/MAX Marketplace
    MLS 21901387
  18. Photo of 30 Hillcrest Court, San Anselmo, CA 94960 (MLS # 21901394)
    29
    2 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    1,956 sqft   lot 5,981 sqft
    Walk Score® 41
    Listing provided by Judy Smith, Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21901394
  19. Photo of 284 Scenic Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 (MLS # 21900224)
    19
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,112 sqft   lot 2.00 ac
    Walk Score® 8
    Listing provided by Grant Alvernaz, Grant Alvernaz
    MLS 21900224
  20. Photo of 300 South Lincoln Street, Dixon, CA 95620 (MLS # 21901485)
    30
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,903 sqft   lot 7,405 sqft
    Walk Score® 23
    Listing provided by Marianne MacDonald, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21901485
  21. Photo of 1500 West Watmaugh Road, Sonoma, CA 95476 (MLS # 21900393)
    22
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,094 sqft   lot 42,689 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Mary Szykowny, CENTURY 21 Wine Country
    MLS 21900393
  22. Photo of 8189 Sonoma Mountain Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442 (MLS # 21901484)
    35
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    lot 15.48 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Holly Bennett, Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21901484
  23. Photo of 7609 Camino Colegio, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21901402)
    20
    1 bed,  1 full bath
    614 sqft   lot 675 sqft
    Walk Score® 39
    Listing provided by Andrew Saltzman, Keller Williams Realty
    MLS 21901402
  24. Photo of 8185 Sonoma Mountan Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442 (MLS # 21900795)
    23
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,952 sqft   lot 5.22 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Holly Bennett, Sotheby's International Realty
    MLS 21900795
  25. Photo of 465 Hillsdale Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95409 (MLS # 21822166)
    17
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,696 sqft   lot 10,890 sqft
    Walk Score® 19
    Listing provided by Paula Lewis, Century 21 Valley of the Moon
    MLS 21822166
  26. Photo of 2150 Yellow Rose Circle, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21827153)
    25
    Price Drop
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,342 sqft   lot 5,698 sqft
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by Eric Pangilinan, RE/MAX Gold of Fairfield
    MLS 21827153
  27. Photo of 7318 Michelle Way, Browns Valley, CA 95918 (MLS # 21824125)
    41
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,906 sqft  
    Walk Score® 4
    Listing provided by Kelsie Morse, Providence Properties
    MLS 21824125
  28. Photo of 32 Braun Court, Sausalito, CA 94965 (MLS # 21901477)
    19
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,241 sqft   lot 1,786 sqft
    Walk Score® 38
    Listing provided by Elizabeth Ellis, Compass
    MLS 21901477
  29. Photo of Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (MLS # 21901481)
    21
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,832 sqft   lot 19,798 sqft
    Walk Score® 15
    Listing provided by Katherine Clark, Bertolone Realty
    MLS 21901481
  30. Photo of 184 Hogan Avenue, Vallejo, CA 94589 (MLS # 21900192)
    16
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,060 sqft   lot 5,227 sqft
    Walk Score® 39
    Listing provided by Daryll Canlas, Coldwell Banker Res. Broker
    MLS 21900192
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