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 7142 Carillon Court, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21829515)
    32
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,586 sqft   lot 7,000 sqft
    Walk Score® 50
    Listing provided by Jonny Sanchez, Keller Williams Realty
    MLS 21829515
  2. Photo of 2380 Millay Court, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 (MLS # 21821219)
    21
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,144 sqft   lot 7,501 sqft
    Walk Score® 30
    Listing provided by Yousef Khoury, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21821219
  3. Photo of 1133 Kelcie Drive, Ripon, CA 95366 (MLS # 21829530)
    28
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    2,246 sqft   lot 8,503 sqft
    Walk Score® 4
    Listing provided by George Hawrysz, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-Drysdale Properties
    MLS 21829530
  4. Photo of 690 Cypress Drive, Rio Vista, CA 94571 (MLS # 21829528)
    21
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,864 sqft   lot 6,098 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Andria Haisley, Shafer Real Estate
    MLS 21829528
  5. Photo of 908 Louisiana Street, Vallejo, CA 94590 (MLS # 21829526)
    24
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    922 sqft   lot 2,130 sqft
    Walk Score® 79
    Listing provided by Lizbeth Alarcon, RE/MAX Gold of Fairfield
    MLS 21829526
  6. Photo of 46841 Ocean View Avenue, Anchor Bay, CA 95445 (MLS # 21708911)
    30
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    1,956 sqft   lot 12,632 sqft
    Walk Score® 30
    Listing provided by Karen Scott, Banana Belt Properties
    MLS 21708911
  7. Photo of 109 Upham Street, Petaluma, CA 94952 (MLS # 21828280)
    16
    Open House
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,152 sqft   lot 7,083 sqft
    Walk Score® 86
    Listing provided by Vicki Thiessen, RE/MAX Full Spectrum
    MLS 21828280
  8. Photo of 1814 Hanford Street, Petaluma, CA 94954 (MLS # 21829398)
    29
    Open House
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,591 sqft   lot 5,428 sqft
    Walk Score® 36
    Listing provided by Robert Ramirez, CENTURY 21 Bundesen
    MLS 21829398
  9. Photo of 379 John Kamps Way, Ripon, CA 95366 (MLS # 21829518)
    21
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    3,194 sqft   lot 8,207 sqft
    Walk Score® 28
    Listing provided by George Hawrysz, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-Drysdale Properties
    MLS 21829518
  10. Photo of 7711 Pythian Court, Santa Rosa, CA 95409 (MLS # 21828582)
    20
    Open House
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,211 sqft   lot 3,903 sqft
    Walk Score® 9
    Listing provided by Kerry Rose, Compass
    MLS 21828582
  11. Photo of 3921 Louis Krohn Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 (MLS # 21829517)
    4
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,617 sqft   lot 3,633 sqft
    Walk Score® 12
    Listing provided by Kyle Beeler, Redwood Property Group
    MLS 21829517
  12. Photo of 3006 Hagen Road, Napa, CA 94558 (MLS # 21829024)
    34
    Open House
    2 beds,  1 full bath
    1,159 sqft   lot 11,099 sqft
    Walk Score® 3
    Listing provided by Elizabeth Olcott, Keller Williams Napa Valley
    MLS 21829024
  13. Photo of 1911 Buckingham Lane, Petaluma, CA 94954 (MLS # 21829441)
    27
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,140 sqft   lot 5,279 sqft
    Walk Score® 49
    Listing provided by Jeffrey Lokey, Pacific Union International
    MLS 21829441
  14. Photo of 2245 Alysheba Court, Napa, CA 94559 (MLS # 21819478)
    14
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,726 sqft   lot 3,067 sqft
    Walk Score® 18
    Listing provided by Jeffrey Sickler, Coldwell Banker B of V-Napa
    MLS 21819478
  15. Photo of 1072 Mockingbird Lane, Valley Springs, CA 95252 (MLS # 21829511)
    21
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,521 sqft   lot 7,405 sqft
    Walk Score® 2
    Listing provided by Penny Boutte, Excel Realty Inc.
    MLS 21829511
  16. Photo of 1420 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo, CA 94960 (MLS # 21829372)
    38
    Open House
    3 beds,  1 full, 1 half baths
    1,290 sqft   lot 5,249 sqft
    Walk Score® 60
    Listing provided by Phoebe Reyes, Marin Modern Real Estate
    MLS 21829372
  17. Photo of 5044 Eliggi Court, Santa Rosa, CA 95405 (MLS # 21829512)
    19
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    3,071 sqft   lot 7,170 sqft
    Walk Score® 16
    Listing provided by Katherine Clark, Bertolone Realty
    MLS 21829512
  18. Photo of 922 Sundance Drive, Fremont, CA 94539 (MLS # 21829510)
    50
    5 beds,  3 full baths
    3,707 sqft   lot 14,823 sqft
    Walk Score® 7
    Listing provided by Steven Lederman, Bay Select Realty
    MLS 21829510
  19. Photo of 1360 West College Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 (MLS # 21829483)
    11
    3 beds,  1 full bath
    973 sqft   lot 12,001 sqft
    Walk Score® 65
    Listing provided by Shawn Loucks, Town & Country Properties
    MLS 21829483
  20. Photo of 1613 Wishing Well Way, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 (MLS # 21829501)
    14
    Open House
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,297 sqft   lot 4,282 sqft
    Walk Score® 58
    Listing provided by Fermin Escutia, Prosper Real Estate, Brokered By eXp Realty
    MLS 21829501
  21. Photo of 1551 Sylvia Street, Hayward, CA 94545 (MLS # 21829509)
    13
    3 beds,  3 full baths
    1,974 sqft   lot 3,376 sqft
    Walk Score® 53
    Listing provided by Marcela Hidalgo, Bradley Real Estate-Novato
    MLS 21829509
  22. Photo of 5004 Oakbrook Circle, Fairfield, CA 94534 (MLS # 21829487)
    50
    4 beds,  2 full baths
    1,554 sqft  
    Walk Score® 5
    Listing provided by Renee Neuman, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21829487
  23. Photo of 4813 Duval Street, Fairfield, CA 94533 (MLS # 21827217)
    42
    4 beds,  3 full baths
    2,655 sqft   lot 8,782 sqft
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Pamela Watson, Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
    MLS 21827217
  24. Photo of 650 Deer Park Road, St. Helena, CA 94574 (MLS # 21829503)
    17
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    2,722 sqft   lot 1.08 ac
    Walk Score® 16
    Listing provided by Ryan Dailey, Compass
    MLS 21829503
  25. Photo of 6300 Alisal Street, Pleasanton, CA 94566 (MLS # 21829508)
    30
    Price Drop
    3 beds,  2 full baths
    1,680 sqft   lot 7.21 ac
    Walk Score® 6
    Listing provided by Lyn jason Cobb, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
    MLS 21829508
  26. Photo of 4451 North Hwy 1, Albion, CA 95410 (MLS # 21829506)
    19
    2 beds,  2 full baths
    1,086 sqft   lot 1.45 ac
    Walk Score® 0
    Listing provided by Deirdre Lamb, Mendocino Realty Company
    MLS 21829506
  27. Photo of 5763 Dexter Circle, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 (MLS # 21829336)
    29
    Open House
    5 beds,  3 full baths
    2,593 sqft   lot 9,099 sqft
    Walk Score® 12
    Listing provided by Carole McMahon, Century 21 NorthBay Alliance
    MLS 21829336
  28. Photo of 1946 Bristol Street, Petaluma, CA 94954 (MLS # 21829471)
    21
    Open House
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,642 sqft   lot 2,648 sqft
    Walk Score® 27
    Listing provided by Steven Cozza, Pacific Union International
    MLS 21829471
  29. Photo of 1700 Dean York Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574 (MLS # 21829470)
    45
    4 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    3,076 sqft   lot 28,946 sqft
    Walk Score® 12
    Listing provided by Cassandra Chastain, Pacific Union International
    MLS 21829470
  30. Photo of 20 Madrid Court, Novato, CA 94949 (MLS # 21829450)
    22
    Open House
    3 beds,  2 full, 1 half baths
    1,588 sqft   lot 1,015 sqft
    Walk Score® 36
    Listing provided by Jean Nicol, Bradley Real Estate-Novato
    MLS 21829450
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