You don’t really need an agent to sell your home. This is what you need to sell a house by owner!
Did you know that you can sell a house by owner? That’s right – you don’t need a real estate agent to sell your house and earn some money. Although this process is far from simple, if you do everything right, you might be able to organize everything and save some money, as well.
When you want to sell a house by owner, this is known as FSBO, or ‘for sale by owner’. These listings are quite common today, and they are a good option for people who don’t trust agents. But are they really a cheaper option, or are some hidden costs waiting for you on this path, as well? Here’s what you need to do if you want to sell a house by owner.
Prepare Your Home
Just like if you were to sell with an agent, you need to prepare your house. This includes organizing repairs and upgrades, as well as decluttering and removing any personal belongings from your home. Anything that makes your home look like it belongs to you needs to go. This is a good opportunity to sell everything you don’t need, or to organize a yard sale.
Clean the place in its entirety. This is a good option to contact some cleaning services, as you might not be able to do this alone. Potential home buyers will need to see your house when it’s sparkly clean, and anything you might’ve missed can ruin your chances of a successful sale. Contact a friend if you need a second pair of eyes. Someone who doesn’t live in the same house as you might see some issues that you overlooked.
Finally, make everything as neutral as possible. Repaint any walls so they are in some neutral color, such as beige or white. Rearrange furniture in the right way so your home seem spacious yet warm. Decorating your house to sell is important. Of course, don’t forget the exterior of your property. Arrange the back and front yard to look nice, as curb appeal is essential.
Set the Right Price
Price can be a selling point of a property. When you decide to sell a house by owner, you’ll be the one responsible for valuing your property and setting the right price. Now, we would suggest you hire a professional appraiser for this part, as owners tend to be subjective when deciding on the price. You love your home and it’s hard to admit to yourself that it might be worth that much. If you still want to do this on your own, there are a few steps to take.
Review any sales in your area that have happened in the previous six months. Look for houses similar to yours to see what their selling price was. You might use some online tool, such as the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s HPI calculator for this, but know that it can make mistakes and that it might not show the real value in case you’ve entered some parameter wrong. Of course, the buyer’s bank will eventually conduct its own appraisal when the underwriting happens, so you can risk and wait for that.
Once you’ve done all the research, set the price that matches your goals and the market’s condition. Keep in mind that a low listing price can indicate that something is wrong with your property, while a high price will make many buyers give up on the sale.
Gather Information for the Listing
Next step is gathering information you need for the listing. This includes quantitative information on your house, including the year it was built, square footage and lot size, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc. Take notice of some details, such as parking arrangements and HVAC system. If you aren’t certain about some information, check out Zillow or Trulia, as they might have data on your house already listed in their databases.
Taking good photos is also important, especially today when almost the entire process is moved online. You should consider hiring a professional photographer, as smartphone photos are a no-no. Write a good description for your house, as well. Think of something that will capture buyer’s attention, but avoid words such as ‘awesome’, ‘amazing’, ‘the best’, and similar.
List Your Home and Advertise
While listing on MLS isn’t necessary, it’s probably the best option, as this is what buyer’s agents will look at. Listing itself isn’t overly expensive, but you’ll still be required to pay for buyer’s agent commission fees.
You shouldn’t stop at just listing your house. Advertise on as many places as possible. Place a sign in your front yard. Look at FSBO and real estate sites. Consider paying for an advertisement on social media, or create a dedicated website. Of course, spreading the word that you’re selling your house is also important, as word-of-mouth is a very good advertisement method.
Not all buyers will be friendly, or want to accept the listed price. Since you’re working alone, you’re the one that has to deal with all the showings and negotiations. Keep in mind that you’re not obliged to answer to any offer you don’t like for any reason, although this will greatly lower your chances of selling. And remember to be patient.
Gather all the Documents
You’ll need plenty of paperwork to sell a house by owner. If you want to learn more, you can check everything you need here.
What if You Can’t Focus on All of This Right Now?
It isn’t easy to sell a house by owner, and not everyone has the time or resources to do this. If this is the case with you, don’t worry, you don’t have to work with an agent. You can also sell to a direct buyer.
When you opt for a direct sale, you will be faced with many offers that you didn’t think about before. Direct sale can save you a lot of time. Most people who make direct offers will pay you in cash, which means there’s no waiting for banks. In other words, you can often sell your house in just a week! A quick sale will immediately end your financial obligations, which will help you save a lot of money on things such as insurance, utilities, commissions and listing costs. A direct buyer often won’t require any cleaning, repairs or upgrades and will buy your home as-is. A direct sale will allow you to get a great price for your house, without any wait. This means that you can start planning on what you want to spend your cash right now, because you will now exactly how much you’re earning and when.