Do you know how to sell your house yourself? Have you ever considered it?

for sale by owner real estate sign and beautiful house.

When you think of selling your home what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For most it’s where to find a realtor. How do I find the right Realtor? Many will go to their friends for referrals. Some will google and end up with a service that promises to find them the “best” Realtor.

The truth of the matter is the first thought should be can I do this myself? If you don’t think so then by all means you should hire a Realtor, but think about that commission. It might be worth learning how to do it yourself.

It’s really not that difficult. With some instruction it’s very possible. I’ve taught many new agents the art of listing and selling a home. Brand new agents with no more experience than you have. So why not pay yourself instead of an agent.

Take the money you save and put it down on your next house to lower the mortgage payments. Maybe you can finally afford that vacation you’ve been dreaming about. Or buy a new car. It’s your money. You should keep it.

The Basics

Here’s basically what you need to know to sell your house yourself and save thousands of dollars:

Price your house right!

Many for sale by owners (FSBO) fail and realtors love to point that fact out. The only reason a house doesn’t sell is because of price and everything is relative to price. Homes in the neighborhood may be selling in a certain price range and you think that’s what your’s should sell for. That may be the case but a few things to consider;

  • Is your home the same size? If the neighbors house is 2400 sq ft and yours is 1900 sq ft the neighbors house will be more.
  • Is your house in similar or better condition? The condition of a house factors into price.
  • Does your house need updating? If a home is stuck in the 80’s it will have an effect on price.

You can use the online real estate portals such as Zillow to find comparables when pricing your house.

Realtors that stalk FSBO’s that have been on the market awhile know that the price is to high and they have a strategy. When meeting with the seller they’ll brag about their record, go over marketing plans and convince you they can sell it knowing full well in a couple weeks they’ll be asking you for a price reduction. And you’ll agree. I’ve seen it happen time and again. Now you’re selling the house for what it should have been to begin with but you’re stuck paying those expensive real estate commissions.

Get Your House In Order.

Yes, clean your house. Upside down and inside out. Clean is a big deal when getting your house ready to sell.

Do an inventory of what needs to be repaired, improved upon or replaced. Consider;

  • Painting inside and out where needed.
  • Clean windows inside and out.
  • Insure the roof is in good condition.
  • Test all electrical, plumbing and appliances. repair or replace as needed.
  • Declutter by renting a POD or storage unit.
  • Powerwash the front porch area. Entire house if it needs it.
  • Mow often and maintain landscaping.
  • Clean or replace carpeting if needed.

It has been my experience that home buyers are always on the lookout for what’s wrong with a house, looking for negotiating points. If the carpet needs cleaning to a buyer that’s $5000 for new carpet. In reality it may cost $300 to have it cleaned. A dripping faucet means the plumbing needs to be replaced when the faucet just needs a new washer. You get the picture.

Remember, buyers want to move in and start living. They’ll look for a house that will let them do that.

Marketing Your Home

In this day of the internet, marketing your home is really quite simple. That’s the big difference between pre internet real estate and real estate now. Before the internet, and sites like Zillow, the real estate industry held all the information. You needed a real estate agent to market your home. A real estate agent was also needed to research and visit homes.

Not anymore. Now consumers have all that information at their fingertips.

To effectively market your FSBO;

  1. Put a for sale sign in your yard. You want all your neighbors to know there is a house for sale in the area.

2. Advertise your house online everywhere you can. This can mostly be done for free. Sites like Zillow posts FSBO’s. Craigslist is another popular place that home buyers search.

3. Host an open house. It’s best to hold your house open on the weekend. Find out when realtors do it your area. Start advertising in the online real estate portals where you listed at least a full week before the event.

Sell It

So now that you have priced your home right and prepared it for market your ready to start showing. Potential buyers will call you and ask to see it. If you’ve done everything right someone, or several someones, will make an offer.

A full price cash offer with no concessions is the best. If you don’t get that perfect offer right away but a lesser one you can counter offer. This will go on until you come to an agreement and then you put it in writing.

Ask your potential buyer for a pre approval letter from his/her lender. You’ll want to make sure it is a reputable bank or mortgage company. If you have any doubts research the firm and it’s OK to call.

Every state has a different contract and different rules and disclosures. There are also federal disclosures. You can find paperwork for your real estate transaction online. Search for it. Many title companies have contracts you can use. Make sure you do your research and have all the paperwork in order. Make sure everything is included in the contract. Any concessions or contingencies, such as inspections or paid closing costs, must be included.

It may be that you get get a low offer. What we call a lowball. If that happens do not get emotional. Keep your cool and either say no thank you or give a counter. Some buyers will test the water by making a low offer. They may very well be willing to pay what you want but you’ll never know if you you don’t give them a chance.


Arrange who will be handling the closing ahead of time be it an attorney or a tile company. This can also be a valuable source of information throughout the process. Keep the closing agent in the loop while you’re in contract.

Once you have a contract most of the hard work is done. The buyers lender and the title agent do most of the work from here on. Just be ready to answer any questions or provide any requested documents.

That’s It

It’s not always easy and sometimes there are complications but that happens with or without a real estate agent. The money you’ll save is well worth the effort.

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