For Sale by Owner a Hard Sell in Duluth

By KBJR News 1

February 18, 2013 Updated Feb 18, 2013 at 10:06 AM CDT

Selling your home is a process. A process that Beth Grussing and her husband decided to conquer on their own.

"We were able to lower the price point, in hopes to get more people, because of the no commission."

Things were going great, until she got a few disheartening phone calls.

"In the last month, we had two phone calls from prospective buyers whose agents had told them that it wasn't for sale."

Beth heard from friends in the business that some agents 'black list' for-sale-by-owner homes. She was concerned that some realtors were saying her house wasn't on the market because they didn't want to take a hit in their comission.

So, we made some phone calls.

Of the seven real estate agents from different agencies we called, only one said it wasn't listed.

For all of them, however, it did take some searching and sometimes a call-back to find the home.

Duluth real estate agent Kristi DuCharme says that's because 'For-Sale-by-Owner' homes don't get listed on the Duluth Multiple Listing Service, only on the statewide list.

"When I do a search criteria for my clients or my buyers, I'm going through the Duluth MLS system, I'm not going statewide and looking for other listings that we may have missed."

Certain 'sell-by-owner' websites will put you on the state MLS and some won't.

But unless you pay a real estate agent a fee, there is no other way to get on the Duluth area MLS.

Real estate agents say it's just plain harder for a potential buyer to find your house if it is for sale by owner.

"Working with a realtor, you're going to get the most exposure you can get," says DuCharme.

But ultimately, each agent is their own company, and the President of the Duluth Association of Realtors Len Sarvela says it's up to them if they don't want to show a property.

"Some agents might not want to do a for-sale-by-owner, others might see the for-sale-by-owner as an effective way of getting some business," says Sarvela.

Beth says, although they are using an agent to find their new home, they are going to stick to their current strategy for selling.

"We've had a couple promising bites."

Courtney Godfrey
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