How To Sell Your Own Home
1. Pricing Your Home to Sell
Before listing your home on the sites available to For Sale By Owner Properties, make sure you’ve done your research & priced it in line with other comparable homes in your neighborhood.
This is the toughest part as many home owners feel they have a unique property that is worth more than the market dictates. Overpricing is the #1 reason for a home to stay on the market & often results in even lower than market sales due to a negative stigma of being on the market too long.
*Tip: Having an updated Comparative Market Analysis from a real estate agent that has access to sold listings on the local MLS is crucial when negotiating with potential buyers as well as getting your contract to the finish when their lender is determining the appraised value.
2. Make Ready & Repairs Prior to Marketing
Make sure to walk your home inside & out looking for all updates, cleanup, organization, minimizing, repairs etc.. to ensure your home is show ready. Store as much as you can and minimize personal items throughout your house. The goal is to get your house looking as much like a new construction model as you can attracting the best offers possible.
3. Know Your Home’s Selling Points
When writing your ad copy for brochures, mailers or online, make sure to include basic info about your house (price, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, lot size, location and the specific details that make the house special to potential buyers).
Take a look at other listings on the MLS, Craigslist, REALTOR® websites, etc… to get a sense of what sort of details others are using to market their homes. You’ll quickly find out that features like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and upgraded flooring entice buyers. Determine what’s special about your home and highlight those features in your marketing efforts.
4. Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
Professional photography is a must in today’s real estate market for standing out in the crowd and will be the #1 factor in determining how many people see your home. The cost is about $150 and up depending on the home and what you have done.
5. Video, Aerial, 3D/Virtual
Depending on your budget, professional video, aerial photography and 3D/Virtual renderings will take your listing to that next level for maximum exposure. However, these options will increase your ad/marketing budget quite a bit. Two to three high quality aerials run at least $75-$100 per session.
6. If possible, Add to MLS
Your local MLS has the largest list of real estate for sale in your area hands down, which in turn gives you the greatest pool of potential buyers. Almost all other websites feed from the MLS. In order to list here, you will need to reach out to a REALTOR® like us.
7. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat
Promote, boost and create ads on all social media platforms to give you another great area of online presence. Think “Coming Soon”, “New Listing”, “Open House”, etc… when coming up with ad ideas. The biggest trick is to do video for maximum exposure and send prospective buyers to a landing page for lead capture and follow up. However, boosting and/or ads have fees associated with them. The more you market, the more it will cost.
8. Other 3rd Party Online Marketing Options
Create ads on craigslist, your local newspaper’s classified section, FSBO.com, etc…
*Tip: There are costs in advertising your home. Of course the real cost is the amount of time and energy you will need to put into selling your home.
9. Your Own Property Website
Having your own property website is a great way to highlight your home and can be easily distributed across all mediums. Think Facebook posts, paying for google ads, etc. There are companies that will create a single page website for you, but this can be costly. There are some free website options, but are limited in what you can do.
10. Don’t Forget The Signs
Advertise daily at your home by putting up a “For Sale” sign. You also want to invest in a few “Open House” signs when you are ready to have one. Your local hardware store should have a basic “For Sale By Owner” or “For Sale” sign. You can also be like us and go all out with large banners and flags.
11. Brochures for Showing Off
Want to have some marketing materials for potential buyers to take home with them after viewing your home? There are websites that can help you create brochures, but keep in mind that the descent options usually have some sort of reoccurring user fee. A good example is Canva.com. Your professional photos will look great here. Make sure to use heavy card stock paper and have printed at a store or online. Home printers do not work well and lack the professional touch of a commercial printer.
12. More Paper Options
Going old school with mailers can bring great publicity to surrounding neighbors and neighborhoods. There are companies, such as Corefact.com, that can automate these and give you behind the scenes access to see who is actually reading your mailer. However, this can get costly at about $.50 plus per postcard.
13. Hold An Open House
You can also hold an open house to advertise the sale of your home. Advertise for the open house by posting signs in your neighborhood. Have some light refreshments available and set out brochures about the home that visitors can take with them as they leave. Tip: You can create a Facebook event for your open house and advertise online. Again, there is a cost to it. Tip 2: The largest audience that views Open House availability is on your local MLS, but you will need to get in touch with a real estate agent like us.
14. Prepare to Show Your House
You will have to prepare your house for showings and open house events. Deep-clean the house, including scrubbing the kitchen counters and the appliances, shampooing the carpets, cleaning the flooring, and stashing your keepsakes in a closet. The final result should be a home that’s squeaky clean and stripped bare of most personal items.
15. Show Your House
You will have to place a key in a lock box and answer calls from other agents or buyers. If you are at home during the day, you can show the house yourself. Otherwise, you will have to verify the identity of the agent before giving out your lock box combination. Another option is to find a real estate agent to accompany unrepresented buyers. Tip: Think safety first when allowing others to visit your home. Check references, look up the agent online for good reviews, etc…
16. Persistent Follow Up
After an agent shows your house, be sure to call/email to follow up on the showing. It can often take several attempts to get feedback from agents. Some agents will share the buyer’s feedback with the homeowner, if they feel it won’t compromise their clients’ confidentiality.
17. Perform Your Own Negotiations
Real estate negotiations take the form of a contract that is submitted to the seller. The seller can accept the offer, or revise the contract and submit it to the buyer. The process continues until both parties sign a contract. In most states, there is a standard contract for real estate purchases. If you are not familiar with the contract, you should have it reviewed by an attorney. Or, you can find a real estate agent that will perform this function with you for a flat fee. Agents like to close deals quickly so they can get their commission, even if you don’t ultimately receive the price you want for your home. They may even inadvertently relay your negotiating position to the buyer. If you are a distressed seller, that is the last thing you would ever want an enthusiastic buyer to learn. Doing your own negotiating ensures that you do not give away important indications of your financial strengths and weaknesses.
18. Contract to Close at Title
Congratulations on having your contract executed. You more than likely will need to select a title company to aid in transferring ownership to the new buyer. The options are pretty limitless. Make sure to ask for references. Not all title companies are created equal and can make it a smooth transaction or not so much.
19. Coordinate Buyer Inspections & Appraisal
You will have to open your home again between an executed contract and closing for a buyer to have inspections performed and more than likely an appraisal completed for the buyer’s lender.
20. Passing Option Period
This is the time immediately following an executed contract where a buyer will have a licensed inspector walk your home inside and out to determine if there are any issues and/or repairs that need attention prior to closing. You more than likely will have to negotiate during this period as well for possible seller concessions and/or repairs to be completed.
21. Knowing Your Trades
When repairs are negotiated, you will most often need to have them completed by a licensed specialist. Make sure to do your research and ask for references before committing to having someone come out. This is always a trouble area for so many as reliable “General Contractors” and licensed vendors are hard to come by. Make sure all repairs are completed prior to closing with paid invoices produced to the buyer/their agent.
22. Comply with All Laws in Your Area
It’s critical that you comply with the laws in your area related to selling homes. Some laws are universal and will apply to the sale of your home no matter where you live. The Fair Housing Act stipulates that sellers cannot discriminate against buyers for reasons including race, religion, and sex. Contracts and agreements found online can help get you started on the selling process, but remember, those forms aren’t specific to your unique situation. It’s best to have a real estate attorney review all documents and contracts related to the sale of your home.
23. Attend Closing
Prior to closing, make sure you receive your closing disclosure document itemizing everything for your transaction. You may want to have an attorney review it to make sure everything is in order.
24. Post Close Items
After closing, you will want to deliver the keys, remotes, home accessories, etc… to the new owner. Also, make sure to disconnect your old utilities.
Selling a home is not for everyone. Many will not have the time or the patience to deal with the process. And for some, if the listing price is low enough, the potential savings might not be worth the time and effort necessary to sell the house without a REALTOR®.
Whatever the case, if you are planning to list your own home, at least consider if the great savings you might receive by selling the house on your own is really worth it… Or, if all of this seems a little overwhelming, time consuming and/or too expensive, my team is here to help from beginning to closing and beyond.