Are you looking to sell your home but want to avoid high-priced realtor fees?
You’re not alone. Many homeowners find themselves in your position. However, it’s hard to know where to start and what to do without a realtor.
For example, do you know how and where to list your home? Do you even know how much your home is worth? What about all the logistics and legalities?
Don’t worry! Although we just laid a handful of complicated questions on you, we did so with a purpose. We want to help you learn how to sell by owner and keep your earnings where they should be – in your pocket.
Keep reading to find out more.
Know the Value of Your Home
One of the biggest mistakes FSBO sellers make is letting the home go for way too little money. Whether they don’t know any better, get impatient, or feel desperate to sell, this mistake often costs sellers tens of thousands of dollars.
1. Market Research
You can avoid making this mistake yourself by doing a fair amount of research on the real estate market. However, you must be sure that you’re looking up housing prices within your neighborhood. The neighborhood in which your home is located can affect its value significantly.
There are various websites on the internet that project the costs of homes, even if they’re not for sale. However, for a more accurate depiction, you can look at homes that have sold recently in your neighborhood. The only subjective part on your end will be contrasting and comparing your home based on size, condition, updates, features, etc.
2. Professional Appraisal
Next, while it’s often a potential buyer who pays for the home appraisal, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your bank do an appraisal on your property. Based on their assessment, you’ll have a valid starting point for pricing your home.
However, keep in mind that appraisal values vary from appraiser to appraiser. When learning how to sell by owner, you have to figure out how to use suggestions to formulate your own price point.
3. Professional Home Inspection
Finally, it might be a good idea to have a home inspection done before you start the home selling process. This will alert you to any major issues before the home is on the market and take care of any problems that could potentially scare off buyers.
The last thing you want is any nasty surprises that may interfere with the selling process or give buyers a leg up during negotiations. While it may cost you upfront, it will save you time and headaches in the future.
Know the Options of How to Sell by Owner
Next, learning how to sell by owner means learning your FSBO options. There are several choices, all with their own pros and cons. Educate yourself to find the best choice for you and your situation.
1. MLS Companies
MLS or multiple listing services typically charge a flat rate for their services, rather than taking a percent of the home sale for the commission, like traditional real estate agents.
For example, if you sold a $350,000 home at a 3% commission for your realtor, it would cost you nearly $11,000. However, in many cases, the seller pays both realtor fees, meaning you would pay nearly $22,000! On top of that, you would also pay part of or all of the closing costs.
However, just because your opting for non-traditional home-selling services, it doesn’t mean you won’t have realtor-level assistance. For example, our basic package assists you with the following:
- Document management
- Contract Management
- Multiple listings
- Professional house showings
- Remote access to a real estate agent
- Assistance with the house title
- Assistance with closing
However, we also offer full service with a dedicated agent (still a flat-rate fee) that gives you everything listed above, plus:
- A real estate agent 7 days a week
- Agent negotiations
- A home sale sign and lockbox
- Professional Photos
- In-depth pricing analysis
- Weekly meetings with the home seller
Therefore, learning how to sell by owner but opting for an MLS company means you’ll never be on your own.
2. Cash Buyer Companies
Another option for FSBO sellers is seeking out companies who buy homes for cash. These companies are in the house-flipping business and will typically buy your home for what they consider to be a fair price and then flip it for a much higher value.
This option has its perks and downfalls. It’s great for people who need out of their home quickly, are trying to sell “as-is”, are facing foreclosure, etc.
However, despite how “fair” the prices claim to be, homeowners who sell to cash buyer companies often take it on the chin. That being said, they can also be a saving grace for people who find themselves between a rock and a hard place.
3. 100% On Your Own
Finally, when learning how to sell by owner, you may choose to do the whole thing completely solo. The benefits here are that you don’t have to pay a commission or flat fee to anyone.
The downfall, however, is that these sales only have an 11 percent success rate. Additionally, many FSBO sellers often undervalue their homes and leave tons of money lying on the table.
Prep Your House
While you’re deciding which route to take on how to sell by owner, you can get started preparing it for buyers. Regardless of how you sell your home (except when selling “as-is”), the methods and tactics remain the same. Your home must appeal to buyers as much as possible if you expect to get a fair price.
1. Move Out or Minimalize
First, it always helps if you can depersonalize the house. The best way to do this is by moving you and everything you own out of it. It will make the rest of the process much easier.
If moving into your next home isn’t an option yet, we recommend finding a friend or relative to bunk with for the time being. Move your extra stuff into a storage unit until you can get into your permanent home.
If leaving isn’t an option, you should still minimalize your home as much as possible. The less clutter you have in the home, the more relaxing and inviting it will feel to prospective buyers. This will also make it easier to keep it clean.
2. Repair and Update
Next, you can start fixing all the small flaws of your home. Small repairs such as broken windows and doors, damaged drywall and trim, and stained floors are inexpensive to fix but make a big difference in the eyes of buyers. This is especially important when learning how to sell by owner.
You can also take this time to make some small updates to create a big effect. For example, a fresh coat of paint in all the rooms will freshen things up. Additionally, buying new fixtures such as doorknobs, drawer and cabinet handle, faucets, and light fixtures could significantly upscale your home’s value and appeal.
Once you have all of the construction-related projects completed, it’s time to thoroughly clean your home. If you’re not capable of doing a fantastic job, hire it out to someone else. Your home must shine in the eyes of buyers, as they will use its cleanliness as a major factor in forming an opinion.
Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms, these are the places where people expect complete sanitation and perfection. Also, try to get up any stains on the floors and carpets. Finally, remove all odors, especially any that are pet-related.
4. Boost Your Curb Appeal
The outside of your home is like the cover of a book. It’s not necessarily indicative of what’s inside, but most people will still judge it as such. Your curb appeal must motivate buyers to want to look inside.
Keep the vegetation trimmed down and clean. This includes grass, weeds, shrubs, trees, etc. If you’re selling in the fall, this means keeping all the leaves picked up at all times – yes, it will be tedious.
Depending on its current state, it might not be a bad idea to repaint the exterior of your home either.
5. Stage Your Home
Next, if you really want to learn how to sell by owner quickly, consider having your home professionally staged. Studies have shown that these homes can sell up to 73 percent faster.
A stager will use trendy furniture and decor to make your home feel warm, yet elegant. It will be much better than your old, stained, and heavily used furniture.
6. Be Ready to Show Your Home
Next, you need to be ready to show your home. With some services, such as our MLS packages, you’ll have help showing your home. Regardless, you need to cater to prospective buyers and their schedules.
This often means your days will be interrupted or you’ll have to quickly clean or even leave the house (if you still live there). If you’re showing the home yourself, check out these top 10 tips.
Finalizing the Sale
When you have a buyer on the hook, you’ll have to go through the final stages of the process. Be warned, however, that these can sometimes be just as tedious. Learning how to sell by owner also means learning how to figure out the logistics.
First, you have to enter into buyer/seller negotiations. Typically buyers will come in with a lower offer. Don’t be offended, everyone always wants the best deal possible.
Use your judgment to determine what you will and won’t accept. However, keep in mind that there’s more to barter with than just the price of the home. For example, you can negotiate using closing costs, decor, furniture, appliances, etc.
Remember to be patient and take your time – never rush a sale.
2. Closing Contracts and Documents
Finally, once both sides agree to terms, you can start processing the sale. This includes signing contracts and transferring the title over to the new owners. If you’re not using a service that provides help in this area, we recommend hiring an attorney to look everything over before you put ink on the page.
This will protect both you and the buyer in case something goes sideways.
There’s a steep curve when learning how to sell by owner. However, that’s what we’re here for! Contact us if you have any questions, and please, feel free to look through the rest of our articles for more helpful advice and information.
And remember, you don’t have to do this on your own. Consider using one of our low-cost, flat-rate options to help you sell your home.