If you ask anyone who has ever tried to sell their home themselves they’ll tell you that from the moment the “For Sale by Owner” sign goes up, the phone begins to ring.
Unfortunately, many of those calls will not be from prospective buyers, but rather from real estate agents looking to obtain your listing.
Obviously the idea of not having to pay a commission to a real estate agent is attractive to any home seller. But because of all the issues involved in the process, selling a home on one’s own can be challenging as many home sellers will attest to.
The key is to be properly prepared. If you are not, your home could remain on the market longer than you expect because you are not attracting and getting offers from qualified buyers. This can be a point where many homeowners become frustrated and consider giving up their dream of selling their home themselves.
However, there are sellers who accomplish selling their own homes, very well. You can be one of them. To help you prepare, here are 10 insider tips that you should be aware of before you make the decision as to whether or not this is the right approach for you.
1. Price It Right
Correctly setting your asking price is critical. Setting your price too high can be as costly as setting it too low. Home prices are determined by fluctuations in the marketplace not by your emotional attachment or by what you feel your home is worth.
In order to establish a realistic price for your home, objectively compare the price, features and condition of all similar homes in both your neighborhood and other similar ones which have sold in recent months. Just so you know, in a suburban area an appraiser is going to look within a one mile radius of your home and they are going to look at square footage of the living area, bedrooms and bathrooms, year built, and whether or not its in a planned community or home owners association first then they will look at the upgrades and upkeep on the home.
We have this conversation with sellers all the time about how much they spent installing upgrades that they have enjoyed for years and then want the full dollar value of those upgrades back when they sell the home. This never works out.
It is also important for you to be familiar with the terms of each potential sale in your area because your prospective buyer is going to be.
2. Prepare Your Home for Sale
First impression is crucial. Make sure your home makes a positive statement by carefully inspecting all details and viewing it through the objective eyes of a buyer. Don’t gloss over needed repairs and fix-ups, as your prospective buyers won’t.
Your job is to ensure that your home stands out favorably from the competition. Also be aware of any odors that you might be nose blind to such as pets or smoking as these will turn a potential buyer off quickly.
3. Prepare Yourself With All Necessary Legal Documentation
Not surprisingly, there are many important legal contracts and documents which you must assemble, complete and understand. A checklist of forms that you will require for prospective buyers can be found online that will be pertinent to your state as what’s required varies depending on where you are.
4. Market Your Home Effectively
Beyond the sign you will put on your lawn, you should find effective ways to spread the word about your home. Make a comprehensive list of all the websites that will allow you to post a for sale by owner listing and start there.
You might also consider offering a “buyers agents commission” to encourage local agents who are working with buyers to show your home to their buyers. Above all, you should be very service minded and make it easy for pre-qualified buyers to view your home. Ensure there is always someone available to answer the phone and or texts promptly, and be ready to give qualified prospects a tour of your home as soon as possible.
Keep your home “show ready” on a daily basis make sure everything is picked up the beds are made and there are no dishes in the sink at all times.
5. Remain Objective During a Showing of Your Home
Keep emotion out of the sale of your home. The best way to do this during a showing is to remain physically in the background. If a prospective buyer says something negative about your home, it is better to counter-balance this point of view by illustrating the positives rather than becoming defensive.
Remember the buyer wants a “good deal” and they are going to downplay how much they like your home to your while they are looking at it.
6. Pre-Qualify Your Prospects
Don’t waste your time entertaining buyers who could never afford your home. Research their financial steadiness with respect to job security, salary, debts, liabilities and credit standing.
7. Negotiate Effectively and Knowledgeably
There will be many details to resolve before a sale can be considered final: price, terms, inspections, possession date, buyer concerns and objections. Make sure you fully understand the contract you have drawn up so you can in turn explain details and ramifications to the buyer and make any amendments to the sale that are necessary.
The contract you use should be thoroughly examined by your real estate attorney. Some real estate brokers may be willing to help you do this. While this is going on, manage the buyer’s interest in your home so that it doesn’t wane during negotiations.
8. Know Your Buyer
Your objective during negotiations is to control the pace and set the duration. Try to determine what your buyer’s motivation is. Does he or she need to move quickly? Do they have enough money to pay your asking price? Knowing this information will give you the advantage in the negotiation because you will know up front, what you will need to do in order to get what you want.
9. Don’t Move Out Before You Sell
Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that is vacant. It looks forlorn, forgotten, simply not appealing. It could even cost you money. If you move, you’re also telling buyers that you have a new home and are motivated to sell fast which can, of course, give them an advantage at the negotiating table.
10. Know Why You’re Selling and Keep it to Yourself
The flip side of “understanding your buyer” is to “understand yourself”. Your reasons for selling will affect everything from your list price to how much time and money you will invest in getting your home ready for sale. Your
motivation will help you determine what is more important to you: the money you walk away with, the length of time your property is on the market, or both.
Different goals will dictate different strategies as someone who wants to sell without a real estate agent in an effort to save the commission.