How to Find a Buyer for Your Home in Florida
Let the matchmaking begin: How to Start Your Search
At any given moment, there could be dozens or even hundreds of people who are ready, willing and able to buy your home. All you have to do is let them know it's for sale. But how? Short of developing mental telepathy, there are some tried-and-true ways of going about locating a buyer.
FSBO vs. agent
Some confident souls tackle the quest for a buyer on their own. Known as "for sale by owner", or FSBO ("fizzbo"), this technique can be successful, if you know what to do. Others enlist the help of a real estate agent, who is trained in the science of home selling. See the FSBO vs. Agent
page for the advantages of both.
Open listings and exclusive listings: The different types of agent listings.
Let's say you'd prefer that a real estate agent help you. There are several types of arrangements, or listing agreements, you can enter into. A listing agreement (listing, for short) is a legal contract regarding how you will work with the agent.
- Open listing. In this arrangement, you can list your home with as many agents as you want, paying a commission to the first one who brings about a satisfactory sale. If you sell the home on your own, you owe no commission. While this scenario might be optimal for you, agents don't have much incentive to market your home with so many other agents involved. Plus, open listings typically can't be put into the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, so you miss out on a great marketing tool.
- Exclusive listings. These fall into two categories:
- Exclusive agency. Here the agent you hire is the only agent who will receive a commission. But if you sell your home yourself, the agent doesn't get paid. This puts you at odds with the agent, who doesn't have much incentive to work hard since he or she might not end up getting paid.
- Exclusive right to sell. The most popular type of listing, exclusive right to sell guarantees the agent a commission no matter who finds a buyer, be it you or a buyer's agent.
Be sure you know who the agent represents. There are buyer's agents who work for the buyer, seller's agents who work for the seller and transactional brokers who work for both.
No matter what kind of listing you choose, each involves signing a legal contract spelling out the compensation terms (commission, flat fee or hourly rate) and termination date for the agreement. It also specifies that the agent may represent you during the sale. If you have any questions at all about this contract, consult your real estate attorney. An agent cannot answer legal questions! Not even about his or her own listing agreements.
See the Seller Disclosure
page for information on what you need to tell buyers about your home's flaws.