By using some simple FSBO (For Sale by Owner) tips and techniques, the average homeowner can sell his or her own home without the assistance of a real estate agent. Just as many others have done in the past. You can sell your own home and save thousands, but it takes work and commitment.
Below you will read some simple strategies that can stack the odds in your favor, greatly increasing your chances for success when selling on your own.
FSBO Tip 1. Understanding the real estate market.
Getting an idea of your local market conditions makes good sense. Just like any other product getting a feel of what’s hot and what’s not can help you make decisions that affect the sale of your home. Consider your neighborhood and the features that distinguish it from others. If you’re comfortable, contact a real estate agent to discuss what the current market environment is like.
FSBO Tip 2. Timing is everything.
Timing the decision to sell and gauging the current market conditions could be two of the most critical decisions you make. If you need to sell your home quickly, the less flexibility, you’ll be able to have. Conversely, if you’re not in a big hurry you can sit back and wait for the perfect buyer. Just remember the real estate market is a cyclical environment. If it’s a slow period now and you’re in a position to wait it out then it might be a good idea to wait for the next upswing.
FSBO Tip 3. Assemble a team of professionals to help you.
While it’s nice to think that you can handle things on your own, selling a home takes specialized knowledge. It’s more than just writing up a sales agreement. Depending on what part of the country you’re in you’ll either need to find a real estate attorney or a title/escrow company to help with the legal details. As a rule of thumb, if you’re east of the Mississippi it’s usually a real estate attorney. If you’re west of the Mississippi, it’s a title company. Either way, they’ll be an indispensable part of your home selling process. Another important partner to consider is a reputable mortgage banker/lender. They can assist in helping you prequalify buyer prospects. We’ll talk more about qualifying prospects as you read on.
FSBO Tip 4. How to determine the fair market price of your home.
This always seems to be a real tricky one. For many home sellers, this typically reveals itself as a major point of contention. When trying to decide on a price guessing or basing your asking price on hearsay or nontraditional methods immediately reduces your negotiating advantage. Basing your price on what the house down the street sold for or what media outlets perceive as increased market value is not the way to get a legitimate price either. There are only two legitimate and well-recognized ways of determining a fair market value. One way is to contact a real estate agent or broker to provide you with a CMA otherwise known as a comparative market analysis. The best and most accurate way of determining price comes from a full-blown appraisal done by a professional real estate appraiser.
FSBO Tip 5. You’re selling a house, not a home.
While it’s important to become emotionally detached, you don’t have to become a robot. After all, this is your home, be objective but don’t be cold. Keep in mind that people are going to perceive your home differently than you do. Either way remains positive and ultimately the right person will walk through the door and buy your home.
FSBO Tip 6. Preparing your home for sale.
Today’s real estate market rewards those homeowners that place a high value on neatness as well as cleanliness. It not only adds value but also generally promotes a quicker and more profitable sale. Once again the depersonalizing of your home helps your prospect with such an emotional decision. Decluttering the inside of a home is also key to your preparation. If necessary, rent out a small storage space and store some household items there. Just as a side note, having a garage sale is also a great way of getting rid of items that clutter up the house. Not only do you get rid of the items but also you make a little money in the process.
FSBO Tip 7. Start spreading the news.
It should be understood if you’re going to sell your home and you’re going to do it yourself, the easiest way to get the word out is to put a sign in your yard. This will immediately get the attention of anybody that happens to ride by. Naturally, this is the essence of selling on your own. Coming up with a highlight sheet to outline the key features of your home is a must. With the readily available use of word processing programs putting together a simple highlight sheet is easy.
FSBO Tip 8. Knowing a few, negotiating skills will get you a long way.
It’s not necessary to become the next great diplomat. You will want to keep in mind that it’s necessary to keep your emotions and personal feelings regarding the negotiating price of your property in check. When discussing the selling price it’s important that your calculations and numbers are correct. This allows you to have greater flexibility and leverage and you can negotiate from a position of strength.
FSBO Tip 9. Qualifying buyers and stopping the lookie-loos.
So what’s a lookie-loo? A lookie-loo is a person that comes to your house and looks at everything. They, look in cabinets, closets and drawers check everything out but never make you a serious offer. You need qualified buyers looking at your home or it’s going to get very discouraging. One of the best ways of getting qualified prospects is to have them referred by your mortgage broker/lender. You can also take the direct approach. If you’re arranging a showing over the phone, go ahead and ask them if they are pre-qualified. Don’t be too shy when it comes to your prospects. If you’re holding an open house and someone expresses interest in your home go ahead and ask. Most of the time if they’re pre-qualified they love to tell you. So don’t worry about asking, it’s the right thing to do.
FSBO Tip 10. If all else fails go to where the realtors hang out.
If after a while, you’re not getting the results that you were hoping for you can always go to the MLS option. This doesn’t mean that you have to list with a real estate agent or broker. As a private party, you can list your home with your local multiple listing service. Usually, this costs a fee but by doing this you automatically expose your house to thousands of potential prospects all over the country. The upside is that you should be able to sell your home in short order. The obvious downside will be that you will have to pay co-op to an agent. Only in unique situations would the cost of co-opting be virtually impossible, due to low equity or some other extenuating circumstance.
These FSBO tips should give you a solid foundation for successfully selling your own home. There are many specific ideas and recommendations that are beyond the scope of this article when it comes to pricing, preparing and staging your home, and all of the items previously outlined. You should definitely research and prepare yourself for the selling of your own home process. In the long run, it will make things easier and could either save you or even make you thousands of dollars.