You can easily sell your home yourself.
It’s really not that difficult. You can pay me or another real estate agent thousands of dollars to do it for you or you can sell your home yourself. Put all that money to better use, like maybe:
- That vacation you’ve been wanting.
- A year, or two, of college.
- The downpayment on your next home.
- A new car.
In this day and age with all the tools available it just makes financial sense to sell your home yourself..
The following steps are the basics of what you need to know to sell your home DIY. You can easily do this on your own.
Getting Ready To Sell Your Home Yourself
1. Establish a realistic price. Your price depends on past sales in the neighborhood. the condition of your home will also affect the price. Check to see what similar homes to yours have been selling for in your immediate area. It’s the market that ultimately decides the value of real estate therefore it’s important you use the market to price your home.
2. Get your house in order before you sell your home yourself. Do an inventory of what needs repair, improvement, updating or simply cleaning. You may want to:
- Paint inside and out.
- Clean windows inside and out.
- Insure the roof is in good condition.
- Clean gutters.
- Test all electrical, plumbing and appliances.
- Declutter by renting a storage unit.
- Clean, clean and clean again. Everything.
- Powerwash front porch area.
- Mow and maintain lawn/landscaping.
Because first impressions are so important when selling make sure your home makes a great one!
3. Decide what type of financing you will accept. The 4 main types are conventional financing, FHA financing, VA financing and USDA financing. FHA, USDA and VA loans are government insured. The government insured loan types require less of a down payment or in the case of VA and USDA no down payment. The homes must pass a certain appraisal standard by being in good condition. The appraiser may ask for some repairs to be made if he/she deems it necessary. Conventional loans are borrowing straight from the bank and have less restrictions on the property. Conventional financing is the next best thing to cash for a seller.
When you sell your home yourself it’s important to consider the financing when looking at offers.
Marketing your For Sale By Owner
4. Determine how you want to market your home. With the advent of the internet everything in real estate changed. It’s easy to sell your home yourself now. The consumer, you and your buyer, have all the information you need for a successful transaction. As opposed to the “old days” when real estate agents controlled real estate now buyers are online looking for homes on their own. That’s where they find yours. I have buyers all the time calling me about homes they found For Sale By Owner (FSBO). That’s what you’ll be, a FSBO, with a lot of extra cash in your pocket. Many places you can list your home online like Zillow.com for free. There are some paid sites available too. While print advertising isn’t the most effective there are still buyers who look at the newspaper and real estate magazines.
5. Purchase a yard sign. Make it a sign that looks professional rather than the cheap supermarket for sale by owner signs. You’ll want the sign to be eye catching and weatherproof. You have options such as a corrugated cardboard sign or an aluminum sign. You can even get a metal frame like real estate companies use. The more professional the sign looks the more buyers will take notice.
6. Write a letter to your neighborhood and/or send out postcards letting them know your house is for sale. Many homes are bought by friends or relatives of your neighbors so they can be close.
7. Hold open houses. If you do it all right you may only need one, if that, but it’s a good idea to schedule one right away. Schedule your open house for the first Saturday or Sunday after you are on the market. During your open house have flyers or fact sheets to hand out to prospective buyers. List all of your homes special features on the fact sheet including square footage, number of beds and baths and any other things that are great about your house.
8. Determine how you are going to give prospective buyers access to the house. Whether someone is going to be available to show buyers or if there will be a lockbox on the front door. This is a big decision. You will decide to either let buyers tour your home unsupervised or there will always be someone there with them. If you are willing to work with a real estate buyer’s agent than you’ll want the info for that agent. Same if you decide to let prospective buyers in on their own. You may want to qualify buyers ahead of time by asking for their financing approval information in the form of a letter from the bank or mortgage company.
9. Answer your phone and emails! If you absolutely can’t answer then return calls and emails as soon as you possibly can. This can not be stressed enough if you want to successfully sell your home yourself. One of the biggest complaints about real estate agents, albeit unsuccessful agents, is they are unresponsive. You can also follow up in a few days asking if they have found a home yet. if they haven’t ask what could you do to make them consider yours. Like I always tell my trainees that one call you didn’t have time for could be that one full price cash offer.
Offers and Contracts
10. You’ve gotten everything ready. In most cases the hardest part is getting the house ready to sell. When you hire an agent you still have to do that on your own anyway. An agent may walk thru and help you decide what you need to do to get your home ready but with our premier program we make it easy for you to figure out by yourself.
The house has had several showings and now someone wants to make an offer. Everything leads up to this point.
11. You have an offer. The number one thing to remember here is to keep it professional by keeping emotion out of the equation. Remain calm. The prospective buyer may ask you to pay closing costs for them, they may point out things wrong with the house trying to drive down the price or they may simply make a lowball offer. You don’t have to accept it. You have taken great care in pricing your home properly. Now carefully consider your counteroffer. Unless, of course, you have a full price cash offer which you’ll immediately accept..
The type of financing, any concessions the buyer is asking for and the closing and possession date all need to be considered. When an agreement has been reached all of the appropriate paperwork needs to be filled out, signed and submitted to your buyers lender and a title company for title insurance and escrow. Real estate contracts can be found online or in many states at title companies.
Time To Move
12. If you haven’t already it’s now time to find your next home. What I like to do for my clients is write a 45-60 day contract on the sale of their home. that leaves us 2-4 weeks to find a new home and write a 30 day contract on that purchase. The idea is to coordinate both closings back to back on the same day.
13. And now it’s time to move out of your old house and into your new home. You did it! And saved a ton of money. The whole process is really pretty simple. It may disrupt your routine for awhile but that’s going to happen anyway regardless of how you decide to sell your home. The decision is how much is it really worth to you. You can pay an agent many thousands of dollars to go through the motions for you or you can Do It Yourself and keep all that money.
Congratulations! Enjoy your new home. You certainly earned it.
For disclosures purposes I am a real estate agent licensed in the state of Kansas. If you prefer to hire and pay an agent and live in Kansas I can help. If you don’t live in Kansas we have a vast network of good, “honest” and professional agents around the country that can help.