Are you tempted to stake a “For Sale by Owner” sign in your yard? After all, you’d save the commission. If you can sell your house yourself, you could save a potential $8,925 if you sell your house for $178,500, the recent median single-residence home sale price in Arkansas. Of note, the median price of homes in Fayetteville is $186,200; Rogers is $168,200, and Springdale is $146,600.
But selling your own home is hard work. It requires energy, time, money, and market knowledge. That may be why only 7 percent of sellers try to sell their house without an agent, a record low, down from 8 percent last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. If you plan to join that minority, use these tips for greater success.
Be sure you’re ready for the time commitment of selling your home.
If you don’t flinch at negotiations, then you may relish the challenge of selling your own home. You must also have plenty of time to show your home and are comfortable with the basics of marketing and sales.
Price it right.
An online appraisal service can help. A free tool on ForSaleByOwner.com, for example, can determine a price range based on public-record information. I also recommend entering your address on Zillow’s website to see your estimated home value and learn what similar homes in the city and homes close to your location recently sold for. You’ll also want to spend several weekends going to open houses near you to track the homes’ final selling prices.
Declutter and Clean.
First, fix the loose stair railing, clean the baseboards and counters, and store the family photos. It’s also a good idea to apply a fresh coat of paint (neutral colors) to the walls. To present your home in its best light, you can arrange a two-hour session with a professional stager for around $300. Search for a stager on the International Association of Home Staging Professionals’ website.
Use online tools to advertise.
Several websites cater to FSBO individuals. www.forsalebyowner.com will list your home (including photos) free for 30 days. As of the posting of this blog, for $399, you can receive a legal review of the title.
When you use an online tool, feature pictures and a video tour in your listings. Include driving directions, heating and cooling sources, your school district, and zoning information.
In addition, publicize your listing on free sites such as Craigslist, Facebook, and Twitter. Don’t bother with newspaper ads and local real estate guides; a tiny percentage of home buyers find their home through those ads.
Put Up a For Sale By Owner Sign.
A “For Sale” sign, after the Internet and a real estate agent, is a very effective tool for attracting buyers. Position it as close to the road as possible. Ensure it’s easy to view with no barriers around it. Include a phone number that’s easy to read and have someone ready to answer around the clock.
Show Your Home Professionally
When you show people your home, make sure you’re not alone in the home, for safety reasons. As potential buyers come through, ask them provide you with their e-mail address and a phone number.
Remove emotion as much as possible. Point out special features but keep personal anecdotes to a minimum. This is about them. Let them lead the way through your home, while you spend time in the background. Before they leave, get their contact information. Within a day or two, send an e-mail or call them to thank them for looking at your home and to see if you can answer any questions.
Look for buyers with commitment (that is, mortgage commitment).
Someone who has prequalified for a mortgage is not very far along in the home buying process. A lender has simply checked their credit. Once a lender has verified all the information on a loan application, he or she can provide a mortgage commitment letter to a potential home buyer. This document informs everyone involved that the buyers have been approved on a loan and can close on a home. A deal with a buyer holding a commitment is less likely to fall apart.
Hire a real estate attorney.
Between the documentation needed for the mortgage, title transfer and other legal requirements, the paperwork for home sales is extensive. A real estate attorney can help execute contracts and arrange a closing date.
Don’t rule out going with an agent. If at any point of your “For Sale by Owner” journey, you’d like to talk to a professional real estate agent, I’m here for you. A FSBO requires a significant investment of time and energy. Give me a call, and I’ll chat about your options.
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