When it comes to selling your home, you might be considering going without a realtor. Many people who find that they don’t want to deal with these companies and feel comfortable taking on this task aren’t necessarily wrong. If you’re highly motivated and you’re selling at a good time, then you may be able to navigate this challenge successfully. However, it’s important to be prepared so use these tips to put a house on the market for sale by owner.
Prepping Your Home
Before you even put your house on the market, you should get it in good shape for an upcoming sale. Start by decluttering the house. The goal here is to make the buyers interested in your home by creating a clean slate. Remove anything that gives your house a live-in feel, including pictures. Give away or donate items that you simply don’t need.
This may be a good time to put some of your non-essential items into storage. You can pack up anything that’s going to be moved eventually and place it into storage. This will be a help when your house does sell.
Finally, make sure that your house is clean and ready to be put on the market. It may be worth the cost to have a professional housecleaner come by. There is a benefit of a deep clean, especially if you have a busy schedule.
Research and Set a Price
Before you put the house on the market, you’ll also need to set your asking price. Research sales of comparable homes in your area to get a sense of where you should set your price. Look for the prices of homes that have similar square footage, bedroom count, bathroom count, and lot size. You can even use the Federal Housing Finance Agency HPI calculator to get an estimate of pricing. While some potential sellers will use an appraisal to set their cost, you don’t need to take this step.
Now that you have a rough estimate of the price your home is worth, then you should set your price based on objectives and your own time frame. If you need to sell your home rapidly, then you might find that it’s worth pricing lower for a quick sale. If you can afford to wait for a better price, list a higher price. In a hot seller’s market where homes are selling above the asking price, a lower list price may actually give you a bidding war that will end with the home selling for more than its worth. Use all of this information to set your price.
Gather Data and Create a Listing
In order to list your house on the market, you’ll need the following information:
- Home data – year build, lot size, bathroom/bedroom count, and other pertinent details
- Photos – it’s not a bad idea to have professional photos taken but make sure that you take a wide variety of photos giving details on every area of the home.
- Description – this is an area where you can be more descriptive. Give yourself a little more freedom to discuss the home in detail, providing information that’s more than simple facts
List Your House
There are a few places where you can create a listing. The MLS My Home listing does come at a cost but is easy and will gain you serious exposure for your listing. You can also put on a yard or sidewalk sign for local advertising. There are many FSBO sites to create listings. Realtor.com offers packages that will allow you to create listings on Zillow and Trulia- are also a great deal and should be considered. You may also want to advertise on local classified websites such as Craigslist and Nextdoor. These will be free and are popular with buyers.
Hold Open Houses
After you’ve listed the house, provide at least one open house to attract traffic and interest. Create a sales sheet and make dozens of copies for potential buyers. Schedule an open house for a late morning or early afternoon when traffic is the highest. You can add this detail to your listings but also consider posting flyers in community spaces around town. You’ll have to be present during the open house. Remember to dress professionally and be pleasant to potential buyers.
Show the House
Once the house is on the market, it’s going to be available for private showings. When buyers’ agents contact you, make sure that you verify their identity and then work out showing times with the agents. Evenings and weekends tend to be the most popular times for buyers. You can buy a lockbox or install a numeric keypad lock on the front door so that agents can show the house when you’re not there.
Field and Negotiate Offers
Now that your house is on the market, you should be prepared to receive offers. You don’t have to respond to low offers, be prepared to reject them immediately. Motivated buyers are there, so also be willing to negotiate for an offer that is slightly lower but still realistic.
Close on the House
Now that you’re going to accept an offer, you’ll probably need some professional help to close the sale. You’ll need an escrow agent to facilitate the process and this professional will be the main contact for closing paperwork. You can use the American Land Title Association directory to find an escrow agent as needed.
You and the seller will sign a standard real estate sales contract- you can create your own but make sure to run it by a real estate attorney to ensure that it’s in compliance with state and federal laws. Your escrow agent will manage the closing paperwork but if you need additional help, consider hiring a fee-only broker to help you wrap up the sale.
Now that you’ve got the necessary steps down, you’ve successfully sold your house without an agent. Most people find that this process takes more work but they end up with significant savings as well.