Setting Up The “Corner Shop” - Can You Sell Without An Agent?

Ever since I became an agent, I thought if it would be possible for Malaysians to buy and sell properties without agents. Indeed, in the US, as many a 35% of all transactions are the “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) variety. However, it’s not honky dory for many FSBO transactions either.

Home-selling is stressful even with an agent’s help. Malaysian home-selling without an agent is likely to be twice or thrice the stress. The only way it can be a little less stressful than it actually is for other FSBO homeowners is if you’re (a) a former real estate agent, (b) a graduate of real estate school, or (c) you follow any of these tips towards a stress-free FSBO experience:

  1. Think about whether this is what you want or not. FSBO is not something for everyone. It takes a lot of work, a lot of patience, and even more work. You have to do more than just home staging and open houses in Petaling Jaya; you have to do the listing, you have to work on making your adverts awesome and attractive enough to be noticed amongst the tons of other homes on the listing. On top of that, you have to make sure that all the paperwork are well cared for and attended to – down to the last bit. Oh, and did I mention having to face every other potential client and their every visit? Yes, including those who have the ‘I’ll-come-whenever-is-convenient-for-me’ kind of customers. Needs quite a lot of thinking doesn’t it?
  2. Read, read, read. Learn, learn, learn. Ignorance may be bliss at some point in our lives, but ignorance is the biggest enemy of FSBO selling. So be informed. Read all sorts of materials, fill yourself with tons of information that concerns real estate marketing because that is your biggest companion in this endeavor of yours. You have to learn everything from pricing your house to competitive marketing strategies on top of home staging techniques. I like going to MPH in MidValley to stock up on real estate books!
  3. Set a budget. It’s much easier to set a budget if you don’t have to do all the marketing-related work. After all, with an agent, you are free from the stresses of having to pay for every ad and every poster. And by doing FSBO, you have no one else to trust but yourself for every little thing. So go ahead and figure out your every little responsibility, do a thorough research on the costs of each, and then set up a realistic budget for them and more importantly: follow them!
  4. Never be too sensitive on the criticism. The very reason why agents mostly forbid the presence of the homeowner during a client visit is because of criticism. When the Malaysian client knows that the owner is at home, his assessment of the house might be a little limited and he won’t be fully comfortable about telling the truth. Also, as owner, you would naturally be a little overprotective about your house and may not take criticism so well. You just can’t have this when you’re selling FSBO. You have to be objective and totally detach yourself from the home since you’d be listening to practically everything that every potential client would have to say about your house.
  5. Be patient. Patience has won more clients for the Malaysian real estate agent more than marketing prowess. So always have tons and tons of patience for the nitpicky, the fickle, the annoying customers; and more importantly, be patient about the waiting time – it might be loooong!

One client of mine tried to sell her Binjai Residency on her own by doing a listing at property portals. She couldn’t get any leads because she was unable to buy credits to blast her way to the top. Fortunately I was able to save the day by helping her advertise, and I managed to sell her Binjai unit in less than six weeks! Kudos to me :)

Cheng :)

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