It’s time to sell your house and you are thinking about doing it yourself. Maybe you have a new job in a new city, downsizing or the opposite, need a bigger home for a growing family. Whatever the reason you need to sell your house, you can do it yourself without hiring an agent, thus saving yourself some money in realtor commissions. However you must take some careful steps to make sure the process goes smoothly.
Getting Your House Ready For Sale By Owner
You may think that all you need to do is put a sign in the front yard “for sale by owner” and you will have a buyer for your house in no time. However without some careful planning it may take some time to get the right buyer, or even a buyer for that matter, to put your house under contract.
In reality there are a few things that you must do to get your house ready to sell. People are going to want to look at your house. So a dirty or cluttered house most certainly won’t entice any would be buyers. Getting the house ready to sell should be at the top of your list. For Sale By Owner has a great article that explains this and more:
1. Make Your Home Look Great
Presentation is everything. Home buyers are attracted to clean, spacious and attractive houses. Your goal is to dazzle buyers. Brighten-up the house and remove all clutter from counter tops, tables and rooms. Scrub-down your house from top to bottom. Make it sparkle. Simple aesthetic improvements such as trimming trees, planting flowers, fixing squeaking steps, broken tiles, shampooing rugs and even re-painting a faded bedroom will greatly enhance the appeal of your house. Also, make sure your house smells good. That’s right, clean out the cat box and light mildly scented candles.
Invite a neighbor over to walk through your house like a buyer would. Get their opinion on how it “shows.” The stuffed donkey in the family room may have to go to your in-laws for a while.
2. Price Your Home Right
Careful not to over price your home. Over-pricing when you sell a home reduces buyer interest, makes competing homes look like better values, and can lead to mortgage rejections once the appraisal is in. Over-pricing when selling a home is the single biggest reason why many “for sale by owner” (FSBO) home sellers don’t sell their homes successfully. The home selling market dictates the price (not what you think it should be worth).
One of the best ways to correctly price your house when selling is to find out how much other homes, similar to your own, recently sold for in your neighborhood. Talk to home sellers, buyers and check out the real estate listings in your local newspaper.
Typically, if you set the price of your home at 5 to 10 percent above the market price, you are likely to end up with an offer close to your home’s true value. Also, you may try calculating the cost per square foot of your home compared to the house selling prices in your area (divide list price by square footage of livable space). If your house has more features or other desirable qualities, you may want to set a slightly higher house selling price.
The easiest way to accurately price your home is to contact your local home appraiser.
Finally, set your house selling price just under a whole number, such as $169,900 rather than $170,000.
All good stuff. Your house HAS to be kept clean when you are trying to sell it, whether you use an agent or not. Some more good advice is to go ahead and pack some things and put them in a storage unit before you start to show the home to make it less cluttered. You don’t want potential buyers to think the house doesn’t have enough storage.
Also pricing is another big point. Over price your property and you won’t get any interest. When you are trying to determine the price make sure you are comparing “apples to apples”. You can’t expect to get as much for your home that was built in the ’70’s and never updated to one that was built around the same time frame and has a brand new kitchen and bathrooms with granite counter tops.
Please read the full article as there are a lot more good tips on getting your house sold.
Closing The Deal And Getting Your House Sold
So you have cleaned the house top to bottom, put the sign in the yard, maybe done some internet marketing and ready to start showing the property. What next? US News has some good info on that:
4. Be available
Once your listing is up, potential buyers will likely come to you. Are you ready?
Udelson says being available in multiple ways is essential for good marketing. In other words, potential buyers should be able to reach you by email, phone or in person. Some prospects will email first and won’t want to meet in person until later. That’s OK. Your goal is to engage prospective buyers in conversation, and try to get them to look at the home in person eventually.
Also, be sure to welcome calls and interest from agents. “Just because you elect to sell without an agent,” Udelson says, “doesn’t mean that the buyer should be expected to go without.”
On this note, be prepared to work with a potential buyer on arrangements for showing the home. If the buyer is coming with an agent, you can most likely leave the home, allowing the agent to take his client through. But if you’re showing directly to a buyer, you’ll need to be there to highlight the best points of your home, and answer any questions the prospect might have.
5. Get ready for closing
Before you even start marketing your home, it’s important to know what you’ll need for closing. This can be a complex process with lots of paperwork. You’ll need to stay on top of the paperwork, and make sure your buyer is on top of things, especially if the buyer doesn’t have an agent. Closing is one good reason to use a FSBO sellers website, since many of these sites have helpful information to walk you through the closing process.
Great advice. We would add that you might want to go ahead and schedule a few Saturday’s & Sunday’s for showing to tell people about when they call or email about your property. That way it will be a little easier on you to have the house spic and span when a buyer is looking at the property and not just have people popping in.
You may also want to contact a closing attorney to check and see what documents you need to sell your house. They may have a template that you can use and make the selling process that much easier.
Selling your home by owner can be a lot more involved that just putting a sign in the front yard. As long as you clean your house well, do some marketing and make sure you contact an attorney to help you with the closing, the entire process should go smoothly.
As a reminder, one of the best ways to sell your house by owner is to contact a real estate investor like us. We have a streamlined process to purchase properties. In fact you don’t even have to worry about any of the things we have listed above, not even clean the house because we buy houses as is. You can contact us at 770 756-8680 for a free, no obligation offer any time 🙂