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. Photo of 30397 River Road, Cloverdale, CA 95425 (MLS # 21719522)
    9
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    1,800 sqft   lot 7.03 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Charmayne Alcones, San Felipe Realty & Mortgage
    MLS 21719522
  2. Photo of 809 Rancho Way, Petaluma, CA 94954 (MLS # 21719519)
    30
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,456 sqft   lot 5,663 sqft
    Walk Score® 22
    Listing provided by Marshall Mello, Sterling California Properties
    MLS 21719519
  3. Photo of 3025 Foothill Boulevard, Calistoga, CA 94515 (MLS # 21717960)
    10
    0 beds,  0 baths
    lot 4.59 ac
    Walk Score® 15
    Listing provided by Inna Lehman, Lehman Properties
    MLS 21717960
  4. Photo of 10300 Hwy 20 Highway, Willits, CA 95490 (MLS # 21719542)
    2
    0 beds,  0 baths
    lot 30.83 ac
    Walk Score® 1
    Listing provided by Randy Weston, Summit Realty
    MLS 21719542
  5. Photo of 122 Poppy Court, Bodega Bay, CA 94923 (MLS # 21719488)
    33
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,513 sqft   lot 8,851 sqft
    Walk Score® 14
    Listing provided by Kristopher Lepore, Sonoma Coast Living
    MLS 21719488
  6. Photo of 809 Paula Lane, Petaluma, CA 94952 (MLS # 21719507)
    36
    5 beds,  3 full baths
    2,845 sqft   lot 7,118 sqft
    Walk Score® 16
    Listing provided by Steven Gavriloff, Westgate Realty
    MLS 21719507
  7. 3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,148 sqft   lot 5,475 sqft
    Walk Score® 30
    Listing provided by Leanne Ridley, NewVision Realty Group
    MLS 21719454
  8. Photo of 20924 Powder Horn Road, Hidden Valley Lake, CA 95467 (MLS # 21719536)
    24
    3 beds,  1 full, 2 half baths
    2,016 sqft   lot 14,375 sqft
    Walk Score® 2
    Listing provided by Erica Bergstrom, Morgan Lane Real Estate, Lake
    MLS 21719536
  9. Photo of 586 Peppertree Drive, Windsor, CA 95492 (MLS # 21719323)
    50
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    2,469 sqft   lot 6,003 sqft
    Walk Score® 20
    Listing provided by Marshall Mello, Sterling California Properties
    MLS 21719323
  10. Photo of 0 Silverado Trail, St. Helena, CA 94574 (MLS # 21719531)
    29
    0 beds,  0 baths
    lot 3.04 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Deborah Russell Broman, Coldwell Banker BofV ST Helena
    MLS 21719531
  11. Photo of 529 East Blithedale Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941 (MLS # 21719520)
    19
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,250 sqft   lot 5,502 sqft
    Walk Score® 73
    Listing provided by Chip McAllister, Paragon Real Estate Group
    MLS 21719520
  12. Photo of 1204 Colorado Drive, CA 95961 (MLS # 21716793)
    25
    5 beds,  3 full baths
    2,596 sqft  
    Walk Score® 2
    Listing provided by Rhonda Welch, Welton Realty
    MLS 21716793
  13. Photo of 114 Topsail Court, Vallejo, CA 94591 (MLS # 21719518)
    29
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,740 sqft   lot 8,485 sqft
    Walk Score® 9
    Listing provided by Scott Foster, Delta Realty Group Inc
    MLS 21719518
  14. Photo of 486 Banning Way, Vallejo, CA 94591 (MLS # 21719491)
    38
    4 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    1,988 sqft   lot 37,897 sqft
    Walk Score® 26
    Listing provided by Rosita Arriaga, Powerhouse Real Estate & Mgmt
    MLS 21719491
  15. Photo of 6757 Covey Road, Forestville, CA 95436 (MLS # 21719445)
    20
    2 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    1,938 sqft   lot 19,476 sqft
    Walk Score® 42
    Listing provided by Brenda Alarcon, Bradley Real Estate-Santa Rosa
    MLS 21719445
  16. Photo of 15621 Forest View Road, Manchester, CA 95459 (MLS # 21719511)
    28
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    lot 16,117 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Rosemary Campiformio, Kennedy & Associates
    MLS 21719511
  17. Photo of 512 Hastings Drive, Benicia, CA 94510 (MLS # 21717851)
    27
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    2,071 sqft   lot 9,583 sqft
    Walk Score® 14
    Listing provided by Linda Takacs, Kennon Realty
    MLS 21717851
  18. Photo of 2901 Old River Road, Talmage, CA 95481 (MLS # 21719169)
    24
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,300 sqft   lot 6,970 sqft
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by Gary Nix, Realty World-Selzer Realty
    MLS 21719169
  19. Photo of 1042 Daroff Court, Vacaville, CA 95688 (MLS # 21719420)
    21
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,130 sqft   lot 3,280 sqft
    Walk Score® 26
    Listing provided by Kelly Thornhill, Stumbaugh Realty Advisors
    MLS 21719420
  20. Photo of 318 Earl Avenue, Roseville, CA 95678 (MLS # 21719498)
    13
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,182 sqft   lot 7,362 sqft
    Walk Score® 66
    Listing provided by Michaelene Major, Realty One Group Complete
    MLS 21719498
  21. Photo of 16221 Par Road, Cobb, CA 95426 (MLS # 21719506)
    16
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    lot 7,754 sqft
    Walk Score® 5
    Listing provided by Timothy Toye, Timothy Toye & Associates
    MLS 21719506
  22. Photo of 310 Murphy Avenue, Sebastopol, CA 95472 (MLS # 21719224)
    45
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    888 sqft   lot 9,052 sqft
    Walk Score® 57
    Listing provided by Ann Harris, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21719224
  23. Photo of 1711 Lincoln Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901 (MLS # 21714645)
    28
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,448 sqft   lot 5,201 sqft
    Walk Score® 17
    Listing provided by Rick Warner, Bradley Real Estate
    MLS 21714645
  24. Photo of 125 Claxton Court, Vallejo, CA 94589 (MLS # 21718284)
    11
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,232 sqft   lot 4,792 sqft
    Walk Score® 26
    Listing provided by Lisa Carter-Salaices, Century 21 Schutjer Realty, Inc
    MLS 21718284
  25. Photo of 5825 East Highway 20 Highway, Lucerne, CA 95458 (MLS # 21719480)
    9
    0 beds,  0 baths
    lot 33,977 sqft
    Walk Score® 22
    Listing provided by Denise Marino, RE/MAX Lake County Realty
    MLS 21719480
  26. Photo of 5298 Gramercy Circle, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21719396)
    25
    3 beds,  3 full, 1 half baths
    2,195 sqft   lot 4,138 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Heath Rose, Real Estate Broker Services
    MLS 21719396
  27. Photo of 548 Monterey Avenue, Boyes Hot Springs, CA 95416 (MLS # 21719038)
    16
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,038 sqft   lot 4,748 sqft
    Walk Score® 75
    Listing provided by Tish Thames, Alain Pinel Realtors
    MLS 21719038
  28. Photo of 212 Foss Creek Circle, Healdsburg, CA 95448 (MLS # 21718971)
    17
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    960 sqft   lot 436 sqft
    Walk Score® 61
    Listing provided by Susan Montgomery, Pacific Union International
    MLS 21718971
  29. Photo of 450 Edgewood Drive, Rio Vista, CA 94571 (MLS # 21719468)
    14
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,418 sqft   lot 4,051 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Joseph McNeany, Bertolone Realty
    MLS 21719468
  30. Photo of 580 Lommel Road, Calistoga, CA 94515 (MLS # 21719501)
    16
    2 beds,  2 full, 2 half baths
    2,400 sqft   lot 160.00 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Joshua Dempsey, Coldwell Banker BofV ST Helena
    MLS 21719501
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