Sell Your Own House
Does the thought of paying a realtor thousands of dollars to list and market your house
make you cringe? It IS possible to sell your own house without a real estate agent - if you're
willing to roll up your sleeves, do your homework and do the legwork yourself.
According to a number of different sources, between 80% and 90% of owners who attempt to
sell their homes on their own eventually enlist the aid of a realtor. Of the remainder,
most end up lowering their price in order to sell. What makes the difference?
In a few words, research, availability and hard work. Selling a house may LOOK easy, but
there's far more to it than sticking a sign on the front lawn and waiting for the calls to
come in. There's an amazing tangle of laws, regulation and knowledge that go into making a
successful sale. If you're going to succeed in selling your house privately, you'll need at
least a passing knowledge of it all.
Here are some suggestions that will ease the process of selling your own home.
Do Your Homework
Hit the local library, city hall and registrar of deeds. Learn all that you can about the
home buying process - what inspections you'll need, what professionals will have to be
involved, how to set up an escrow account, and how to find a good realty lawyer. While
you're at it, get to know a few home appraisers and mortgage loan officers. Besides getting
information from them, you'll find their services useful later, when buyers need information
Do Some More Homework
Probably the biggest reason that houses fail to sell is that they're priced out of the
market. Even if you eventually bring it down to a more realistic price, making the mistake
of pricing your home too high can have long term damage. Sellers will notice the length of
time that the house is on the market, and they'll assume that there is a problem with the
What's the right price? That's where the homework comes in. Check
MLS listings, Realtor
sites and listings of recent sales to see the selling prices for properties that are both
similar to yours and in your neighborhood.
Have Your Home Inspected And Appraised By A Professional
This will accomplish a few things. First and foremost, you'll get a realistic
appraisal of your home's value. It will give you a critical third-party view to your home and alert
you to any needed repairs or problems before your potential buyers find them. It adds
professional support to your required disclosure statements, and it may even convince
your buyer not to do an inspection of his own.
Prepare Your House
Before you actually list your house, give it a good facelift (aka
Make any needed repairs, especially ones that detract from its appearance. Give it a fresh coat of paint if possible.
Wash down siding, touch up any painted trim, and straighten up the yard. The goal is to give your house 'curb appeal'
- a term used to describe a home that gives an immediate welcoming, fresh impression.
Inside, depersonalize the house as much as you can. Pack away family photos and heirlooms,
and give everything a thorough scrub down. A fresh coat of white or light paint in a neutral
color will make everything seem light and airy, a very good thing in the real estate business.
Get rid of all clutter in every room. Clean out closets and storage areas, and make sure
that everything is scrupulously, white glove clean.
There are options that can get your house listed without obligating you to pay a realtor's
fee. Use the Internet - these days nearly 85% of all home buyers start their search on the
internet. There are a number of For Sale By
Owner web sites with varying fee structures where
you can list your home, along with photos and particulars. List with several to increase your
odds of finding a buyer.
Invest in a professional to photograph your home from its best angle. Use that photo on web
sites, and in flyers and newspaper ads. Use professional looking signs - not just on your
lawn, but at the end of your street to direct buyers toward you.
Show Your House
You can arrange an open house to kick things off, but for the most part, once you start
advertising, you'll need to make yourself available to take calls and make appointments for
showings. Selling your house isn't something you can do in just a few minutes a day. It's work,
but if you put the work into it, you'll see results.
Once you have an interested buyer, be prepared to negotiate. You should already have a
'firm' floor price under which you won't consider, but even if the first offer is above
that price, you'll benefit from 'meeting the buyer halfway'.
Follow Through On Required Inspections, And Make Sure That All Paperwork
Is Filed On Time And In Order.
Once you have an offer for the price that you want, don't miss out by failing to file the
required paperwork on time. Make sure that all inspections are done on time, and copies are
provided to the buyers. Schedule and keep appointments, and follow through on your end of