For Sale by Owner 10 Inside Tips for Selling Your Home Yourself
"...selling a home on one's own can be challenging
as many home sellers will attest to."
If you ask anyone who has ever tried to sell their home themselves they'll
tell you that from the moment the "For Sale by Owner" sign goes up,
the phone begins to ring. Unfortunately, many of those calls will not be from
prospective buyers, but rather from real estate agents looking to obtain your
listing. Obviously the idea of not having to pay a commission to a real estate
agent is attractive to any home seller. But because of all the issues involved in
the process, selling a home on one's own can be challenging as many home sellers
will attest to.
The key is to be properly prepared. If you are not, your home could remain on
the market longer than you expect because you are not attracting and getting
offers from qualified buyers. This can be a point where many homeowners become
frustrated and consider giving up their dream of selling their home themselves.
However, there are sellers who accomplish selling their own homes, very well.
You can be one of them.
This industry report has been especially prepared to assist home sellers, such
as yourself, understand the elements involved so you, on your own, can sell your
home quickly and for the most amount of profit. To help you prepare, here are 10
inside tips that you should be aware of before you make the decision as to
whether or not this is the right approach for you.
1. Price it Right
Correctly setting your asking price is critical. Setting your price too high
can be as costly as setting it too low. Home prices are determined by
fluctuations in the marketplace not by your emotional attachment or by what you
feel your home is worth. In order to establish a realistic price for your home,
objectively compare the price, features and condition of all similar homes in
both your neighborhood and other similar ones which have sold in recent months.
It is also important for you to be familiar with the terms of each potential
sale. Terms are often as important as price in today?s market. Carefully
budget your selling costs and prepare a net proceeds sheet to calculate your
best estimate of what you will take away from your home sale. Prospective buyers
may also request this kind of analysis of buying costs.
2. Prepare Your Home for Sale
First impression is crucial. Make sure your home makes a positive statement
by carefully inspecting all details and viewing it through the objective eyes of
a buyer. Don?t gloss over needed repairs and fix-ups, as your prospective
buyers won?t. Your job is to ensure that your home stands out favorably from
3. Prepare Yourself With All Necessary Legal Documentation
Not surprisingly, there are many important legal contracts and documents
which you must assemble, complete and understand. A partial checklist of forms
that you will require for prospective buyers and for legal documentation is as
- Mortgage Payoff
- Loan Application
- Deposit Receipt
- Property Profile Fact Sheet
- Buyer?s Cost Sheet
- Closing & Settlement
- Personal Property
- Exclusion List
- Property Survey
- Sellers Statement /Plot Plan of Representation
4. Market Your Home Effectively
Beyond the sign you will put on your lawn, you should find effective ways to
spread the word about your home. Local buyers can be reached through the
newspaper, but this is only a small part of the market you are after. Be sure
you include the many buyers who could already be working with a Realtor?. To
locate them, target as many top agents as possible in your market to see if the
criteria of their buyers matches that of your home's. Because out-of-town buyers
are also an important target, you should create a strategy to reach these people
as well. Above all, you should be very service minded and make it easy for
pre-qualified buyers to view your home. Ensure that there is always someone
available to answer the phone, pick up messages promptly, and be ready to give
qualified prospects a tour of your home as soon as possible.
5. Remain Objective During a Showing of Your Home
Keep emotion out of the sale of your home, and the best way to do this during
a showing is to remain physically in the background. If a prospective buyer says
something negative about your home, it is better to counter-balance this point
of view by illustrating the positives rather than becoming defensive.
6. Pre-Qualify Your Prospects
Don?t waste your time entertaining buyers who could never afford your home.
Research their financial steadiness with respect to job security, salary, debts, liabilities and credit standing.
7. Negotiate Effectively & Knowledgeably
There will be many details to resolve before a sale can be considered final:
price, terms, inspections, possession date, buyer concerns and objections. Make
sure you fully understand the contract you have drawn up so you can in turn
explain details and ramifications to the buyer and make any amendments to the
sale that are necessary. The contract you use should be thoroughly examined by
your real estate attorney. Some real estate brokers may be willing to help you
do this. While this is going on, manage the buyer?s interest in your home so
that it doesn?t wane during negotiations.
8 . Know Your Buyer
Your objective during negotiations is to control the pace and set the
duration. Try to determine what your buyer?s motivation is. Does he or she
need to move quickly? Do they have enough money to pay your asking price?
Knowing this information will give you the advantage in the negotiation because
you will know up front, what you will need to do in order to get what you want.
9. Don?t Move Out Before You Sell
Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that is vacant.
It looks forlorn, forgotten, simply not appealing. It could even cost you money.
If you move, you?re also telling buyers that you have a new home and are
motivated to sell fast which can, of course, give them an advantage at the
10. Know Why You're Selling and Keep it to Yourself
The flip side of ?understanding your buyer? is to ?understand yourself?.
Your reasons for selling will affect everything from your list price to how much
time and money you will invest in getting your home ready for sale. Your
motivation will help you determine what is more important to you: the money you
walk away with, the length of time your property is on the market, or both.
Different goals will dictate different strategies. As someone who wants to sell
without a real estate agent in an effort to save the commission, it is likely
that money is one of your primary considerations, (see, "How to Assess You Net Gain" below).
Whatever your reasons, however, it is very important to keep them to yourself so
as not to place yourself at a disadvantage at the negotiation table. When asked,
simply say your housing needs have changed.
How to Assess Your Net Gain
To analyze whether or not you will end up ahead by choosing to sell on your
own, consider the fact that most buyers do use a real estate agent because it
doesn?t cost them anything for this service (i.e. the seller pays the agent?s
fee). Be cautious as buyers, investors and speculators who seek out For Sale by
Owners are typically those in search of a bargain. The low-ball offers from
these types of buyers will often net you much lower in the long run. What you
will have to judge for yourself is the following:
- Be as prepared as possible with your marketing, negotiations, evaluations,
showings and all legalities.
- Consider what it will cost you to effectively market your home and
assemble all necessary materials from the ?for sale? sign to any
- What price will a buyer offer you as a For Sale by Owner minus the costs identified in point 2 above. Is this net price higher than the price an experienced agent could net for you minus his/her commission?