Deciding to sell your house is a major life decision and one that can have significant financial impacts. Most homeowners hire a real estate agent to help them with the sale, but that’s not a requirement.
In fact, some sellers don’t hire a real estate agent and just sell the house themselves. This decision can drastically reduce the costs to sell. For one, many brokerages charge 5-6% for you to enlist an agent to sell your home. That means if you’re home is $300,000, you would have to pay $15,000-$18,000 from your net proceeds for an agent. And also, by taking the process into your own hands you gain control over the sale and can directly influence how you wish to proceed.
If you have a home that you think is easy to sell, whether because it’s really nice or because you are willing to accept a low offer, then think about whether or not hiring an agent is really worth it. If the expectation is that the home will sell quickly, then maybe an agent’s skills and services are not needed.
Saving the money might be enticing enough for you to sell your house on your own. And by doing this, you can now accept offers lower than what you originally planned for because you are saving an additional 5-6% in commissions. If all of this sounds good to you, then let’s dive into some of the major things you should do when selling your house For-Sale-By-Owner.
You’re going to want to invest in marketing the sale of your home. This is something usually your agent would take care of for you and it’s included in their commission. Luckily, there are a lot of fantastic options to advertise online. Since 90% of home buyers search online for their home, you should really focus on digital marketing and leave the newspaper ads and yard signs for another time! You can pay for a flat-fee listing on the MLS or manually create a listing on major sites like Zillow, Redfin and Trulia. You should also send out some pictures and details to your friends and family. Lastly, promote the “listing” on Facebook groups or neighborhood groups so that local investors and home buyers can see it. You will be surprised how quickly all of that will make your phone ring off the hook.
Since you are making all the decisions for selling your own home, you’re going to need to come up with a price that you want to get for it. This can be tricky without an agent since they have access to MLS data, local context and experience of setting the price correctly. If you price it too high, it will get no offers and it can sit without activity. Too low and you might get burnt financially on the sale. The tip here is to ask for help! If you’re not comfortable running a comparable analysis with public information, then call up an appraiser or someone who can give you an opinion of value. It might not be free, but it’s still going to be a small cost in comparison to hiring an agent!
When selling your house as the owner, you take on the role of the agent. And with that comes all of the menial tasks and duties required to get an offer. That means you will schedule all the showings, prepare the house for those appointments and coordinate all of the negotiations directly. This could be a bit more time consuming than you expect, so be ready to allocate some of your nights and weekends to hosting these showings and answering the phone. One tip here is to find a time that works for you and host an open house. This will get a lot of foot traffic through the front door in a shorter amount of time.
Are you a good negotiator? Many of us are not! One risk to selling your house on your own is being able to negotiate the deal in your favor. My tip here is to learn some basic tactics and rehearse some of the scenarios. If you get an offer that is below what you are asking, what will your strategy be? You might decline. You might counteroffer. Have those plans ready before you market the house. And also stand your ground. Don’t be swayed by the initial feedback or types of offers you are getting. Remember, you only need one good offer to make the deal work.
Great news! You’ve accepted an offer on your home from a nice family that is qualified to purchase. Make sure you now work with a reputable title company or attorney to get the deal closed. Title work is important to convey ownership of the property over to the new buyer and it is within this part of the selling process that many deals can fall apart. A good and reputable closing agent will work closely with you to get the deal done and make sure you are satisfied with the outcome. Start shopping for this before you even show the house to anyone.
Final Takeaway – Investors
The final tip is around investors. You might get an offer from a cash buyer before, during or after your attempts to sell the property. Don’t dismiss this option. Cash buyers play a vital role in creating liquidity in our real estate market. They can buy property that others might avoid. For example, if your house is in disrepair then you might struggle to place a buyer with financing in that home. Lenders will hesitate to lend on property like that. Cash buyers don’t care and they aren’t governed by the bank.
So if you’re trying to sell your house fast without hiring an agent, then be open to offers from investors. They can close quickly and will usually buy the house as-is! How much easier can it get?
These are just 5 tips to help you avoid any major costly mistakes when selling your home without an agent.