Selling your house yourself gives a higher return on investment at the closing table and this is one of the reasons why homeowners decide to sell their houses without involving a realtor.
For sale by owners or FSBO eliminates agency fees leading to higher savings, however selling your house yourself is not as easy as you might think, it requires time, ambition, and commitment.
A survey conducted by Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2019 shows that 11% of homeowners who sold their houses in the last 12 months completed the sales without hiring an agent while 10% eventually engaged the services of an agent.
If you’re wondering about how to sell a house by owner, you should know it takes a lot of patience and research besides homeowners don’t sell their houses every day.
The best thing to do is arm yourself with the necessary knowledge that will help you maximize profit while minimizing cost and stress.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Selling House by Owner
There are advantages and disadvantages of selling a house by owner without engaging a realtor and they include:
Personal interaction and negotiation between the house owner and potential buyer.
Save on commission, most agents collect an average of 6% on profits made. Not engaging their services helps you save money.
More control over your showing time and listing.
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- Selling your house yourself requires time, patience, commitment, and lots of paperwork which could lead to burnout on your part.
- Selling a house without the help of a realtor or agent leads to a lower profit made on sales.
- You are likely to make mistakes such as pricing your house too high or low.
- Inability to access good marketing channels.
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How to Sell House By Owner
To complete an FSBO, you should do the following:
1. Determine an attractive home listing price
Getting a high return on investment from selling your house is the goal but then don’t forget that a very high price might put off potential buyers while leaving your house on the market for a very long time which would eventually cause you to sell at a price that is unacceptable by you.
One of the most important steps in successfully selling a house is setting an appealing price whether you’re selling it yourself or through a realtor.
To avoid overpricing or underpricing your house you should engage the services of a professional real estate appraiser and this would only cost about $300_$400.
A home appraiser will help you do a competitive market analysis, check recent sales, market trends, and then arrive at an attractive price for your listing.
If you decide not to engage the services of a home appraiser, you’ll need to check recent sales in your residence, compare similar houses, market trends, and special features your house offers like a pool, etc.
You can also visit sites like Zillow for more information, however, be careful of the kind of online housing platforms you visit because some of them have unverified information.
Look out more for homes that are already sold than those still in the market because they were successfully priced.
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2. Prepare Your House for Sale And Accompany It With Photos Of Special Amenities
If you’re selling a house by owner, you’ll need to ensure the house is in great condition for showings and listings photos, you can do this by:
Doing a Thorough Cleanup
Clean every nooks and cranny of your house, remove the cobwebs, scrub the tiles, clean the carpets, polish your furniture, and wash the windows.
Make sure everywhere is sparkly and has a nice scent. If the work looks much and your budget can cover it, you can also hire a cleaning company.
Our homes are our personal space and sanctuary. Therefore, it is normal to have personal belongings here and there, but immediately after you decide to sell your house, it no longer belongs to you.
It becomes an investment and to get the best out of it you’ll have to put away family photos in storage and dispose of every junk or items you’re not using to create more space.
Clean up the Curb
While cleaning up and decluttering the interior of your home remember the exterior.
When potential buyers are coming to check the house that’s the first thing they’ll see and nobody likes the site of an overgrown lawn.
Therefore, pull the weeds, mow your lawn, and put away whatever might make your house exterior look unattractive.
To give the interior of your house a fresh look you can hire the services of a professional stager or you can rearrange your furniture to achieve a nicely decorated and organized space.
You also decide to repaint your house interior to make it more attractive to potential buyers.
Add Lights and Repair Any Damages
Ensure your house has adequate light in every room. Let in natural light by opening your windows, repairing bulbs, and adding lamps.
Repair and fix any issue that might lead to problems during the home inspection or a price reduction in your house sale.
Make Proper Preparations for Your Pets
If you’re a pet lover and you have pets, you have to adequately clean up their mess, put away their belongings, and keep them elsewhere before your potential buyers arrive. Your potential buyers shouldn’t be able to tell you to keep pets and some might be allergic to pets as well.
• Put away your valuables, money, etc., during your house showing.
3. Invest In Home Advertisement and Marketing
To attract a wider range of potential buyers you’ll need a good advertisement.
Normally, if you were working with an agent, the agent will have the right network, tools, and resources to attract a wide range of buyers for your home.
To sell a house by owner you’ll have to:
Hire A Professional Photographer
Hiring a professional photographer is the next thing to do, getting snapshots of your home from different angles to display online will attract more buyers.
The price of hiring a professional photographer depends on your location and the size of your house.
The photographer can also include a virtual tour of your home to aid advertisement.
Prepare An Organized And Engaging Listing
After seeing the images of your house, the next thing buyers are interested in is an engaging listing of your house. The buyers can use keyword search if they are looking for unique features of your home, do you should use strategic keywords to list out special features in your home.
You can include basic information like the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc., Unique features like wall designs, hardwood floors, and other things like closeness to parks, schools, malls, and more.
You can also list your house on online housing platforms like Trulia and Zillow for free. Print out and distribute ads and signs. Physical signs can help your neighbors and passersby know you’re listing your house for sale, and they’ll spread the word.
You can also place ads on social platforms like Craigslist, Facebook, or any group you belong to as well as at work. Finally, you can also consider listing on Multiple Listing Services (MLS).
There are two ways a for sale by owner can be listed on MLS, you can use the flat listing fee where you pay a realtor to list your home on the MLS or you hire a discount broker who’ll carry out some of the tasks a full-service agent would do mostly for 1 % commission.
4. Behave Like A Professional Realtor
To complete an FSBO, you should act like a professional real estate agent. Most potential buyers feel reluctant whenever they find out they’re transacting with the house owner because they feel the owner is inexperienced.
Some buyers’ agents might try to persuade their clients not to work with you for fear of having to direct the house owner on how to sell a house by owner. It is your duty therefore to prove them wrong.
Always be ready and available to answer calls at any time, be willing to show your house, listen to suggestions, take feedback seriously, don’t get angry or give a negative reply to a potential buyer especially if they criticize your home, remember everyone has their taste and preferences.
Above all don’t let your house stay in the market for long. If you’re not getting any potential buyers then you should consider reducing the price. You can as well hold an open house to attract many buyers at once.
5. Make Sure You Have Qualified Buyers
Selling a house by owner is not easy therefore you won’t want to work with fraudsters or unserious buyers.
To ensure the safety of your home and valuables as well as to know which buyers are interested in your house it is better to make a record of all the buyers and their agents you come in contact with, take down their names, addresses, and ID or business card.
Ensure you let buyers know that every offer must be followed with a mortgage pre-approval letter or proof of funds to show their commitment.
6. Engage A Real Estate Lawyer
Sell of the house by the owner or even with an agent comes with lots of paperwork. It is necessary to know what documents are needed and which ones you’ll be signing to avoid mistakes.
You should hire a professional real estate lawyer to go through each document especially the disclosure statement.
Most states in the USA require you to engage a real estate attorney for every transaction especially FSBO.
7. Don’t Rule Out the Services Of A Realtor
For sale by owner is very tasking and time-consuming.
If along the line you find out the processes of how to sell a house by the owner such as listing, showings, advertising, negotiation, are too much to handle alone you can always bring in an agent.
You can either work with an agent halfway or hire a discount agent to complete the sale.
Selling a house by owner comes with a lot of challenges and back-breaking tasks but if you’re determined you’ll get it done.
If you get stuck at some point and you feel stressed out you should get a professional realtor with several years of experience to complete the sales to avoid making mistakes.
Now you can also find a lot of housing websites like Zillow to simplify the process of selling the house for you without the help of a realtor.
Be careful when dealing with potential buyers to avoid getting scammed and you can prevent this by acting as a professional real estate agent as well as hiring a professional real estate attorney.
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