If you’ve decided to sell your house by owner, your main reason is probably to save money. You want to keep the money you would pay towards a listing agent’s commission. This is understandable, but only about 7% of homes are sold by owner. This could simply be because people find the process confusing.
Many people aren’t sure how to sell a house by owner. Don’t let this stop you, just make sure you take these necessary steps first.
If you’re planning on listing your house for sale, there are a few key things to think about before you begin. Getting familiar with the process and learning about what you need to do before you put your property on the market, will save you a lot of time, stress and headaches.
So, where do you begin? Check out the following list for eight need-to-know tips to sell your house without a realtor:
1. Know the Pros and Cons – Just like anything in life, selling a house by owner has ups and downs. Make sure you take the time to weigh the pros and cons before you make your final decision.
The pros are that you save the listing agent’s commission and you have complete control over the whole process. You set the price, you decide how to market your property and you create your listing exactly how you want it to look. You also will be solely responsible for scheduling showings, so you don’t have to worry about an agent choosing inconvenient or last-minute times.
Some cons of doing it on your own are that it’s time-consuming, a lot of work and can still be costly in terms of paying for your own marketing. Also, some research suggests that for-sale-by-owner homes sell for less than those represented by an agent.
So make sure the amount you are saving in commission is worth a potentially lower sales price. And you need to keep in mind if your buyer uses an agent, it’s typical for the seller to pay the buyer’s agent’s commission.
2. Have Good Timing – After assessing the pros and cons, if you decide to move forward with selling your house by owner, you need to get your timing right. There’s a good time to sell houses, and there’s a bad time to sell houses. Although the best time to sell a house in most areas is spring, that’s not necessarily the case everywhere, especially in tropical climates like those found in Florida.
In places where spring just gets too hot or rainy, winter might be the best time to sell. Plus, you can get a lot of motivated buyers toward the end of the year who want to take advantage of tax breaks.
The main point is to research the best season to sell for your location. No matter where your house is, there’s going to be advantages and disadvantages to selling for any time of year. Look at all of your options, educate yourself and settle on the best time to sell for your particular area and situation.
3. Price it Right – Everyone wants to make the most money possible when they sell their home, but if you over-price your property it can have the opposite effect. Your house can sit on the market longer, and this makes it more likely that you’ll end up with lower offers.
Think like an agent. Check out the list prices of other homes in your area that are similar to yours and scope out the sale prices of recently sold homes. It’s worth it to get an appraisal of your property for a true sense of what it’s worth, and it can help you set a fair, objective list price.
4. Prepare Your House – This is a step that you need to do whether you are using an agent or not because buyers want houses that are move-in ready. If buyers see a lot of work to do or a lot of mess, they will shut down and walk away.
This doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands of dollars on costly repairs and updates. In fact, there are many DIY projects you can do to give your house a fresh look and make it more appealing to buyers.
A fresh coat of paint, a good cleaning and decluttering can work wonders! Simple changes like switching out light fixtures and hardware can create an updated look, and good curb appeal is easy to get with a mowed lawn, weeded garden and clean exterior.
Selling a house as “for sale by owner” takes a lot of effort and time, but if you do the work it can reap a lot of rewards.
5. Don’t Skimp on Advertising – Your goal for listing your house on your own might be to save money but don’t let that stop you from investing in strong marketing. People need to know about your house, what it offers and that it’s for sale. There are a bunch of ways you can advertise, including for sale by owner signs, online ads, open houses, social media and the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), to name a few.
If you’re not sure which way is the best, consider the fact that 50% of buyers searched online for their next home. When you create your online listing, It is essential to have good photographs. Bad photos can kill a deal before it starts, so if photography isn’t your thing, then you may need to hire a pro. What you can be sure about is that the worst kind of advertising you can do is none at all.
6. Verify Buyers – As exciting as it is to get a lot of potential buyers through the door, you need to make sure to protect yourself. Keep a record of everyone that tours your home, and have all potential buyers know that they must supply a pre-approval letter or proof of funds (if paying cash) with all offers.
If you really want to save yourself future headaches, require a pre-approval letter before you will even show the property. Buyers do this when they look at an agent represented property, so make them do it for you. Serious buyers will get the necessary paperwork together, so this is a good way to weed out the people who might potentially waste your time.
7. Be Professional – A big factor in maintaining a professional attitude is to keep emotions out of the deal. This can be hard to do if it’s your own property in the mix, but it’s very important if you want a successful sale. You need to treat selling your house like a job. Take it seriously, and make the time to do it well.
Be prepared to work on evenings and weekends, because this is usually when buyers are out shopping, and be ready to show your house at some times that might be inconvenient for you. Listen calmly when buyers give you feedback on your home and don’t take it personally. Look at all criticisms as opportunities to improve your property and get a quick sale.
8. Hire a Real Estate Attorney – A real estate transaction involves a lot of paperwork. Contracts, forms, and documents are a necessary part of the process. If you don’t know what you’re doing or what to sign, you can end up in a lot of trouble. It can be a big benefit, and a relief, to hire a real estate attorney to look over all of your documents and make sure everything is in its proper place.
Selling a home by owner does not have to be an overwhelming experience. It’s just important that you take the time to educate yourself first and create a game plan before you begin the process.
If you follow these tips, you can overcome some of the most difficult parts of selling a home by owner, like setting the right price, handling paperwork, prepping your home for a quick sale and organizing your time and schedule properly. If you feel overwhelmed, you always have the option of hiring an agent or selling directly to us.
If you need to sell a house in West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach or Delray Beach we can help you. We are direct house buyers in South Florida.
Give us a call anytime (561) 246-6200 or fill out the form here today!