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 8350 Lombard Way, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21726664)
    25
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    882 sqft   lot 6,599 sqft
    Listing provided by Annaliese Hiatt Quisisem, RE/MAX PROs
    MLS 21726664
  2. Photo of 3109 Rocklin Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95405 (MLS # 21726747)
    12
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    978 sqft  
    Walk Score® 62
    Listing provided by Sarah Carlson, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate/Wine Country Group
    MLS 21726747
  3. Photo of 5787 Levie Lane, Sebastopol, CA 95472 (MLS # 21726685)
    42
    3 beds,  4 full baths
    3,098 sqft   lot 2.25 ac
    Walk Score® 13
    Listing provided by Trish McCall Team, Keller Williams Realty
    MLS 21726685
  4. Photo of 812 Taylor Street, Winters, CA 95694 (MLS # 21726742)
    14
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,435 sqft   lot 6,181 sqft
    Walk Score® 35
    Listing provided by Sandy Vickrey, Realty World Camelot Winters
    MLS 21726742
  5. Photo of 512 Tamalpais Drive, Mill Valley, CA 94941 (MLS # 21726736)
    21
    3 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    1,808 sqft   lot 3,406 sqft
    Walk Score® 19
    Listing provided by Christopher Toomajian, Redfin
    MLS 21726736
  6. 2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,432 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 10
    Listing provided by Cory Schell, The Kelly Company
    MLS 21726740
  7. Photo of 332 Coast Street, Willits, CA 95490 (MLS # 21726637)
    19
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    896 sqft   lot 7,841 sqft
    Walk Score® 83
    Listing provided by Roxanne Lemos-Neese, Coldwell Banker Mendo Realty
    MLS 21726637
  8. Photo of 8389 Liberty Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21726558)
    19
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,392 sqft   lot 6,098 sqft
    Walk Score® 66
    Listing provided by Shayne Bowen, Samson Group
    MLS 21726558
  9. Photo of 1022 Linda Vista Way, Rio Vista, CA 94571 (MLS # 21716538)
    31
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,581 sqft   lot 5,998 sqft
    Walk Score® 52
    Listing provided by Diane Shafer, Shafer Real Estate
    MLS 21716538
  10. Photo of 4697 Green Valley Road, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21726732)
    6
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    2,462 sqft   lot 1.08 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Kelly Dagul, Security Pacific Real Estate
    MLS 21726732
  11. Photo of 918 5th Street, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21726729)
    17
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,140 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 68
    Listing provided by Vickie Jackson, RE/MAX Gold of Fairfield
    MLS 21726729
  12. Photo of 3006 Hagen Road, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21718745)
    36
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,159 sqft   lot 11,099 sqft
    Walk Score® 1
    Listing provided by Jannette Hall, RE/MAX Gold Napa
    MLS 21718745
  13. Photo of 13431 Green Valley Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472 (MLS # 21726692)
    23
    5 beds,  2 full baths
    8,800 sqft   lot 38.50 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Kimberly Sethavanish, Century 21 Alliance
    MLS 21726692
  14. Photo of 2376 Chad Court, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21725809)
    48
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,164 sqft   lot 8,516 sqft
    Walk Score® 26
    Listing provided by Che Hill, Che Hill, Broker
    MLS 21725809
  15. Photo of 1690 E Street, Napa, CA 94559 (MLS # 21722768)
    26
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    880 sqft   lot 10,303 sqft
    Walk Score® 70
    Listing provided by Andrew Paulson, RE/MAX Gold Napa
    MLS 21722768
  16. Photo of 15 Avocet Court, Novato, CA 94949 (MLS # 21726704)
    14
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,683 sqft   lot 6,408 sqft
    Walk Score® 17
    Listing provided by Philip Wright, Wright Realty
    MLS 21726704
  17. Photo of 600 Rowland Boulevard, Novato, CA 94947 (MLS # 21726627)
    28
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,000 sqft   lot 7,575 sqft
    Walk Score® 35
    Listing provided by Kristie Martinelli, Bradley Real Estate-Novato
    MLS 21726627
  18. Photo of 1051 North Pine Street, Ukiah, CA 95482 (MLS # 21725568)
    22
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,229 sqft   lot 4,792 sqft
    Walk Score® 62
    Listing provided by Karena Jolley, Coldwell Banker Mendo Realty
    MLS 21725568
  19. Photo of 4695 Old Adobe Road, Petaluma, CA 94954 (MLS # 21726689)
    48
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,248 sqft   lot 299.36 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Karl Bundesen, CENTURY 21 Bundesen
    MLS 21726689
  20. Photo of 34 Hop Ranch Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 (MLS # 21726481)
    29
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,068 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 45
    Listing provided by Mary Anne Veldkamp, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21726481
  21. Photo of 8875 Quarterhorse Lane, Lower Lake, CA 95457 (MLS # 21726715)
    16
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,248 sqft   lot 11,326 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Timothy Toye, Timothy Toye & Associates
    MLS 21726715
  22. Photo of 31 Drakes View Circle, Greenbrae, CA 94904 (MLS # 21726711)
    30
    2 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,727 sqft   lot 1,973 sqft
    Walk Score® 63
    Listing provided by Jennifer Pfeiffer, Zephyr Real Estate
    MLS 21726711
  23. Photo of 208 Mesa Verde Street, Vallejo, CA 94589 (MLS # 21726710)
    40
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,442 sqft   lot 4,792 sqft
    Walk Score® 57
    Listing provided by Cathleen Rojas, RE/MAX Gold-Vallejo
    MLS 21726710
  24. Photo of 1617 Nancy Court, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 (MLS # 21726688)
    24
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,338 sqft   lot 8,076 sqft
    Walk Score® 49
    Listing provided by George Theodorides, Vanguard Properties
    MLS 21726688
  25. Photo of 132 Skyline Court, Vallejo, CA 94591 (MLS # 21723196)
    35
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,562 sqft   lot 8,276 sqft
    Walk Score® 43
    Listing provided by Hamed Nawabi, Intero Real Estate Services
    MLS 21723196
  26. Photo of 2042 Devonshire Drive, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21726695)
    23
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,321 sqft   lot 4,447 sqft
    Walk Score® 42
    Listing provided by William Keller, Coldwell Banker B of V-Napa
    MLS 21726695
  27. Photo of 104 Hawkesbury Way, Vallejo, CA 94591 (MLS # 21726658)
    16
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,945 sqft   lot 5,998 sqft
    Walk Score® 18
    Listing provided by Evelyn Harris, Home 4 All Realty, Inc.
    MLS 21726658
  28. Photo of 2099 Mount Olive Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (MLS # 21726690)
    45
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,752 sqft   lot 10,624 sqft
    Walk Score® 58
    Listing provided by Susan Franks, Keller Williams Realty
    MLS 21726690
  29. Photo of 3798 Manzanita Drive, Nice, CA 95464 (MLS # 21726701)
    22
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,500 sqft   lot 7,841 sqft
    Walk Score® 42
    Listing provided by Diana Dahl, RE/MAX Gold
    MLS 21726701
  30. Photo of 208 Via La Cumbre, Greenbrae, CA 94904 (MLS # 21726700)
    25
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,770 sqft   lot 9,108 sqft
    Walk Score® 18
    Listing provided by William Osborne, REALHome Services and Solutions, Inc
    MLS 21726700
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