7-Selling Your Home Without an Agent

Selling Your Home Without an Agent

If you ask anyone who has ever tried to sell their home themselves, they will 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. 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 alone can be challenging, as many home sellers will attest to. The key is to be adequately prepared. If not, your home could remain on the market longer than expected 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 homes themselves. However, some sellers sell their own homes very well. You can be one of them. This post has been specially prepared to assist home sellers, such as yourself, in understanding the elements involved so you, on your own, can sell your home quickly and for the highest profit. To help you prepare, here are ten tips you should be aware of before deciding whether 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 what you feel your home is worth. To establish a realistic price for your home, objectively compare the price, features, and condition of all similar homes in your neighborhood and other similar ones that have sold in recent months. It is also essential 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

The 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 overlook needed repairs and fix-ups, as your prospective buyers won't. Your job is to ensure that your home stands out favorably from the competition.

3. Prepare Yourself With All Necessary Legal Documentation

Not surprisingly, there are many important legal contracts and documents that you must assemble, complete, and understand. A partial checklist of forms that you will require for prospective buyers and for legal documentation is as follows:

  • Mortgage Payoff
  • Loan Application
  • Deposit Receipt
  • Property Profile Fact Sheet
  • Buyer's Cost Sheet
  • Closing & Settlement
  • Personal Property
  • Exclusion List
  • Property Survey
  • Seller 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 tiny part of the market you are after. 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 match that of your home. Because out-of-town buyers are also an important target, you should also create a strategy to reach these people. Above all, you should be very service-minded and make it easy for pre-qualified buyers to view your home. Ensure that someone is always 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 concerning job security, salary, debts, liabilities, and credit standing.

7. Negotiate Effectively

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 necessary amendments to the sale. Your real estate attorney should thoroughly examine the contract you use. Some real estate brokers may be willing to help you do this. While this is happening, manage the buyer's interest in your home so 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. Do they 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 upfront what you must do to get what you want.

9. Don't Move Out Before You Sell

While there are certain benefits to having a vacant home on the market, there are also some disadvantages. Sometimes, selling a vacant home can be more difficult because it becomes forlorn-looking, forgotten, and no longer an appealing sight. Buyers start getting the message that you have another home and are probably motivated to sell. This could cost you thousands of dollars.

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: the money you walk away with, the 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 to save the commission, money is likely one of your primary considerations (see "How to Assess Your Net Gain" below). Whatever your reasons, however, it is essential to keep them to yourself to avoid a disadvantage at the negotiation table. When asked, 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 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 searching for a bargain. The low-ball offers from these buyers will often net you much lower in the long run. What you will have to judge for yourself is the following:

1. Be as prepared as possible with your marketing, negotiations, evaluations, showings, and all legalities.

2. Consider what it will cost you to effectively market your home and assemble all necessary materials from the "for sale" sign to any contracts in terms of time and money.

3. 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 their commission?

When you put your home on the market, you don't want any unpleasant surprises that could cost you the sale of your home. By understanding ten tips, you will be on the road to selling your home fast and for top dollar. I hope you found this post helpful, but please realize that this is just a tiny part of the overall process. Please call us at 858-281-4659 to build a plan together to realize your goals and help remove some of the frustration and hassle by doing it yourself.

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