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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 on financing.

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 house.

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 home staging). 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.

Advertise

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.

Negotiate

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 the deal.


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