Using a real estate agent to sell a property is the most popular method of home sales. However, just because it’s the most popular choice doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. While working with an agent has some significant benefits, the cost and time savings you accrue when pursuing a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) may outweigh those benefits.
If you’re considering a for-sale-by-owner approach to getting rid of your house, following these steps will make the process much easier.
Determine that FSBO is right for you
Before listing your home, take a little time to sit down and determine whether a for-sale-by-owner is the best option for your situation. Some of the most common reasons homeowners opt for an FSBO vs. a traditional sale include:
- Selling a house to someone they know
- Saving money on fees
- Maintaining control over the sales process
- Looking for a faster sale
If you need to sell your home quickly or you just like the idea of maintaining control over the entire process, opting for a for-sale-by-owner could be a good fit.
One of the trickiest parts about an FSBO is getting the sales price correct. Without understanding the current housing market in your neighborhood, it’s easy to over or underprices your home. Many homeowners make the mistake of allowing sentiments to influence the price of their home and list far above market value.
Real estate agents can compare your house to similar properties in the area and get a baseline for what price your property could fetch on the market. If you’re selling on your own, you’ll have to do some homework. While tools like Trulia, Zillow, and Redfin offer a good baseline, you should consider looking up tax records for sales in your area (public records) to get an idea of where to price your house.
Prepare for Showtime and Nailing the Listing
Selling your home means you need to attract potential buyers. Selling without an agent means these steps are up to you. Nailing your listings and showings will seriously affect how your home sells. Before listing your home, consider removing as many of your personal items as possible. Buyers want to see themselves in the house, and it’s hard to do that with family photos and knick-knacks all around.
Make sure to spend extra time deep cleaning inside the home and tidying up the yards.
When listing your property, take the time to get quality photos of each room in your house. You might want to splurge and hire a professional photographer who knows what angles show your home in the best light. Since many buyers are scoping out homes online before visiting, great photos can increase traffic to your house and increase the odds of a good offer.
When listing your home, take the time to provide all relevant information, including square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any new features (like an updated roof, new HVAC system, etc.). Don’t be shy about mentioning the charming neighborhood, quick access to local amenities, or your beautiful garden in the back. Use your listing to entice buyers.
Besides listing on sites like Facebook and Craigslist, you can pay around $500 to have your home included in the MLS, so it will show up on traditional real estate websites too. If you go this route, you may need to pay the buyer’s agent a commission.
Schedule showings in advance
When you do an FSBO, you’re responsible for determining when potential buyers can visit. It can help to request a 24-hour notice or set specific days and times when you list your home (for example, every Tuesday and Thursday between noon and 4 p.m.). Outlining this schedule can relieve some stress since you’ll have time to clean your house, put your pets somewhere safe, and prepare for visitors.
You can choose to stay at the property during walkthroughs. You might also consider putting a lockbox outside so that buyer agents can bring their clients through without you home.
The Art of Negotiation
Once the offers start coming in, you should be prepared to negotiate. Many buyers are savvy. In a seller’s market, you may have less to worry about. However, when the market shifts in favor of the buyer, savvy clients may ask for contingencies like repairs or closing costs.
If you understand what your buyer wants and know your goals, you can approach the negotiation from equal ground. You may be willing to sell for a lower price if you can close quickly, or you could negotiate a slightly higher price if the buyer wants you to make repairs. Be prepared for negotiations and don’t take it personally. Selling your property is a business transaction.
Use a Real Estate Attorney for the Hard Stuff
Once you’ve found a buyer, it’s time for the tricky stuff. Selling a home requires various documents, including title transfers, mortgage paperwork, and other legal documents. You should hire an attorney to handle drafting and filing the paperwork to ensure that you don’t make costly mistakes. Some states, like South Carolina, require the use of a real estate attorney. Utah does not require a real estate attorney if the home is listed on the MLS, but it’s still a good investment.
Consider Selling to a Cash Buyer
A for-sale-by-owner can save you money and allow you to control the process. However, it can be time-consuming. If you’re uncomfortable having people walk through your home or dealing with offers, selling to a buyer like Brick can simplify things. Brick buys homes in any condition, and we make cash offers fast. If selling your house quickly is a top priority, working with Brick can ensure you get a fair offer so that you can move on to your next adventure fast.
Have any questions? We’re happy to help.