Did you know if you don’t use a realtor you can save up to 6 percent in commissions when you sell your home? That’s $18,000 on a $300,000 home. But, to cut out the commission you must perform the realtor’s duties. Luckily, we have serious for sale by owner tips to help you.
When you sell your own home you don’t have to pay a real estate agent or buyer’s agent commission. No commissions reduce the sale price. A lower price makes your home appealing to buyers.
If you’re acting as the real estate agent, you must understand the job. A real estate agent performs 4 main tasks:
- Markets the Home
- Arranges House Showings and Events
- Handles Negotiations Between the Buyer and Seller
- Accompanies the Client to the Closing
When you act as the agent, you’re responsible for these tasks and more. Like an agent, you don’t get paid until you close the deal.
If you’re ready to cut out the middle man, follow the tips below for success.
1. Prep Your House
Deep clean and declutter your home before you advertise it. Shampoo the carpeting, scrub the kitchen, and scour the bathrooms. Wash the windows, and dust everything.
Remove clutter from countertops, corners, and closets. Buyers can’t see storage areas if they’re filled with stuff. Clear out anything that isn’t necessary or attractive. Don’t throw everything into a closet. Rent a storage unit so your stuff doesn’t take up space in the attic or basement. Buyers want to see lots of available storage.
Professional stagers remove one-third of the belongings from the home for a sale. Schedule a consultation with a professional home stager if you need help. Remove personal photos and memorabilia. Potential buyers aren’t interested in looking at your stuff. They want to see how they can live in the house.
It’s easier to highlight the home’s attributes when personal items don’t distract the buyer. A dark home with poor lighting isn’t appealing. Paint the walls a light color, then use artificial and natural light to brighten the space.
Pay attention to your home’s exterior, too. Power wash the siding, walkway, and driveway. Consider fresh paint on shutters, doors, and trim. Refresh the landscaping for a good first impression. Add mulch and fresh flowers near the entrance. Every touch matters to home buyers.
2. Don’t Overprice Your Home
If your home is overpriced for the market, buyers won’t consider it. Research sales prices for comparable homes in your neighborhood. Match your sales price to similar houses.
One of the biggest challenges when selling a home without an agent is assigning the sale price. Many homeowners think their house is worth more then it is. Put away your emotions and memories. You must base the sales price on facts. Gather solid data before pricing your house.
Check internet listings and property appraiser sites. Visit open houses and track final selling prices. Figure the price based on square footage, location, and the number of rooms.
If you’re worried, use an online tool or hire an appraiser to give you a professional estimate.
3. Market Your Property
Use the same techniques an experienced real estate agent uses to drive buyers to your door.
- Stage your Home
- Take Quality Photographs
- Post a Sign in the Yard
- List the Property Online; Create a Website
- Create Flyers or Brochures
- Get a Flat Fee Listing from Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
Don’t skimp on quality. Get professional yard signs and flyers. Expect to spend money on marketing your home. Don’t worry, it won’t anywhere near the amount of an agent’s commission.
Since most home buyers search online your first impression could be there. The photos in your online listing can make or break a sale. Buyers scroll past lousy photos. Always use interior and exterior photos in your listings. Add a video tour if you can. Include driving directions, school districts, and special features.
Include specific details on the house in listings. Tell potential buyers the price, square footage, lot size, and the number of rooms. Describe the home’s style and building materials. Tell buyers why the home is desirable. Are there stainless steel appliances and granite countertops? Is there a new roof or a waterfront view?
Post the pictures and descriptions on social media and for sale by owner websites. Hang flyers on public bulletin boards at work, grocery stores, and gyms.
Don’t spend money on newspaper ads or local real estate guides. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says only 1 percent of people find homes via those ads.
NAR says a yard sign is one of the most effective ways to attract buyers. Use a sign that’s easy to read and has a phone number buyers can call day or night. Get a flat fee listing from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It’s the system realtors use. An online MLS listing makes your home searchable by agents and prospective buyers.
Don’t forget about word of mouth advertising. Tell your coworkers, neighbors, friends, and family you’re selling your home. You never know who knows someone looking to buy.
4. Host an Open House
Advertise and your open house like a pro. Announce it on social media and online websites. Put a sign in front of your house and around the neighborhood. Hang flyers. Tell everyone you know.
Bake cookies or light candles before the open house so your home smells inviting. Offer refreshments and brochures to visitors. Ask people to sign in and provide an email and/or phone number. Let people explore the house and yard.
Practice giving a tour. How will you describe special features you want people to notice? Make sure everyone takes a sales brochure. Follow up after the open house via email to say thank you for visiting. Offer to answer any questions.
Always have someone in the home during an open house or showing for safety.
5. Sell a House, Not a Home
Act like a professional when interacting with potential buyers. Boost buyer confidence by keeping track of paperwork and appointments. With a realtor, the home seller says yes or no to an offer. Without an agent, you must handle price negotiations. Don’t negotiate with your emotions.
If a buyer makes a low offer don’t get angry. You’re selling a house (not your home) and that means negotiation. Make a counteroffer and see what happens. Once you find a buyer, the buyer submits a contract to the seller. The seller can accept the offer, or revise the contract and resubmit it to the buyer.
Most states have a standard contract for real estate sales. If you aren’t familiar with the contract, ask an attorney to review it. Look for buyers who prequalified for a loan. Someone who prequalified is serious about buying and knows how much they can spend.
Market your home to local mortgage brokers so they send qualified buyers your way. A deal made with someone who has a mortgage commitment has a better chance for success.
6. Follow the Law
Laws like the Fair Housing Act apply everywhere. The Fair Housing Act states sellers can’t discriminate against buyers.
There are plenty of sales contracts available online. Make sure the contract you use applies to your specific situation. It’s a good idea to have a real estate attorney review all the documents related to the home sale
Many states don’t need a lawyer, but hiring one who knows local rules is smart. A lawyer can help field offers, execute contracts, and close the sale.
7. Sell at the Right Time
Spring into Summer is the best time of year to sell a house. Homes sold in May sell faster and for money.
It’s important to note that the market is more crowded in Summer. That means buyers have more choices. If you’re selling a home during the busy season get ready to negotiate.
Now That You Have All of Our for Sale by Owner Tips, Are You Ready to Sell Your Home?
Now that you know the for sale by owner tips, make sure you’re ready to sell solo.
Do you have enough time to show the house? Are you comfortable negotiating the price? Can you handle the marketing duties?
If you decide going it alone is too hard, consider a service that helps you list and market your property. You get a flat fee MLS listing with no commission fee. And, you always have a professional back up if you need it.