From a buyer’s point of view, having access to more listings is generally a good thing. More listings of course means more choices. When it comes to For Sale By Owner Homes, however, the amount of different homes you’ll find by searching for them may not fully justify the trouble, compared to simply paying closer attention to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Nevertheless, I thought I’d take a look at some resources you might consider.
The largest site I’ve seen dedicated to FSBOs exclusively so far is Owners.com. This site is advertising fairly aggressively on Google adwords, and as a result, they have a decent number of listings. Keep in mind here that by a “decent number of listings”, I’m not talking about anything like what you can find on this web site or another web site fed by our Multiple Listing Service (MLS). For example, in a 20 mile radius of the Elite Properties Pan-Galactic Headquarters here in Orangevale, there are 28 homes listed on owners.com, as compared to 10,635 in the MLS. (OK, to be fair, if you factor out commercial listings, business opportunities, and income properties, it’s only 10,186). Still, it’s clear that the numbers here represent a mere fraction of what’s available in the MLS.
One would think the local paper might also prove to be a resource, but the largest category of homes listed on the Sacramento Bee are homes fed by the MLS (as are the homes on this site). Hoping to find more FSBO listings, I checked out the classified, but as I write this the classified real estate listings amount to a mere ten homes, or roughly 1/10 of one percent what’s in the MLS. Several of these are listed by agents, so not much help here. Searching the Sacramento Bee classifieds somewhat differently by using the phrase “For Sale By Owner” yields three classified ads, for a body and paint shop business, a boat, and a pit bull. Not exactly a windfall there.
Probably the best place to search for For Sale By Owner Homes in Sacramento is Craigslist. I noticed there that for a one given day, for example, the number of possibly relevant ads on Craigslist was about half the number of homes listed in the MLS on that day for El Dorado, Sacramento, and Placer County. I suspect that Craigslist might have a much higher repeat listing rate, since ads can be repeated once per week, and there’s certainly more noise there (listings in other states, irrelevant ads for other things, etc.). However, if you’re interested in checking out the For Sale By Owner home, inventory, Craigslist might be a good place to start.
Admittedly the FSBO resources here are a “quick sketch”, but if you know of other general resources or resources specific to greater Sacramento, please feel free to leave a comment.