Looking to sell your home by owner but don't know how it works? This short list is anything but complete, however, it gives you a good overview to point you in the right direction. If you'd like to read more, check out some of our other detailed blogs, or get our FSBO e-book "Steps2Success For Selling your Home For Sale by Owner".
The first thing you need to do is make sure your home is as attractive as possible. You need to DECLUTTER as much as possible. Make your home look larger than it is by removing anything that doesn't improve the look of your house. If you have any wacky colored walls, you should consider painting them a neutral color (buyers usually want a home they don't have to do anything to, even if it's cheap/easy). Inspect your home inside and out for any potential deterrents. If you find anything broken or dirty, try to take care of it before you list your home. Anyone who views your home for sale could be a buyer. You don't want to alienate them over something simple.
Now that you've done as much as you can to improve your home, have a professional take a look. They may catch something you missed. A lot of times the buyer will also hire someone to inspect your home. It's better to be prepared with everything up to code and repaired so there are no surprises and nothing hinders your sale.
You don't necessarily need a professional appraisal before you list your home for sale, but it would be a good idea to price your home close to similar properties in your area. When selling your home by owner, you need to do a little research. Real estate agents have the benefit of listing homes often, so they keep up with market trends and averages. You should do a search on Zillow or Trulia for similar homes and use that as a guideline. Don't rely on your tax valuation. It's not often that it's accurate. Try to keep in mind that although it would be nice to get the most for your property, you don't want to be over priced. If you try selling your home for too much, you could also alienate potential buyers and get suck accepting a low offer after your property has been for sale for a while.
Consider all the good and bad about your home and come up with a pitch that makes your home sound one-of-a-kind without over-promising. You're going to encounter many people who have questions, and you should have awesome answers prepared. The best thing you can do is counter with something positive. If someone says your home is a little smaller than they were looking for, mention ways extra spaces or how low your utility bills are.
5. List your Home
To get the best odds of selling your house, you should always get your home listed on your local MLS. The reason behind this is that BUYER'S real estate agents will be looking there for homes for their clients, and you want yours to show up! Since you're selling your home by owner, you might be thinking "how the heck would I put my home on the MLS if I'm not an agent and I'm not working with an agent?". We offer what's called a Flat-Fee MLS Listing. These are the same listings an agent would use, only at a fraction of the cost (no services provided by the agent). Get started. Once you click "Activate" on your property listing, one of our partner agents will give you a call to finish the process, but they won't pressure you to hire them! It's a win-win.
6. Increase Exposure
You want to sell your home fast, right? Then you should cover all your bases. That means putting an ad in your local newspaper, getting a yard sign in your front-yard, printing flyers to hang up at the laundry-mat, posting your property listing to Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist, and sharing it on Facebook/Twitter. You can do most of these from the comfort of your computer by signing up. Once you've done all of the above, you'll have 94% exposure to potential buyers! According to the National Association of Realtors, 36% of buyers come from buyer's agents (the mls listing we talked about earlier), 36% come from the internet (zillow, trulia, facebook, twitter), 12% come from a yard sign, 6% come from a friend, 5% from the builder (this is 5% of what you're missing), 2% from the newspaper, 2% from the seller (this is you :D), and 1% from "other" (who knows what that means).
7. Answer Leads
Communicate with each potential buyer that contacts you about your FSBO listing. You never know what kind of person will purchase, so don't stereotype or ignore any. Some of the richest people dress like they're poorer than you or I. Always be courteous and helpful. Stay organized! Make sure you keep notes of your buyers and their offers.
8. Show your Home
Obviously people are going to want to see your house, so try to schedule showings when you're available, OR purchase a lock-box and let buyer's agents give the grand tour while you're at work (change the code often!). Keep your home as clean and staged as possible throughout the duration of selling it.
9. Choose a Buyer
So you've gotten a few offers, perfect, but remember, just because someone is offering the highest amount doesn't mean that they are serious or will finalize the sale, so keep your other buyers on stand-by just in case. I'm not going to go into grave detail because we wrote a blog about this before, but we HIGHLY recommend you get yourself covered legally .
10. Remove your Listing
If you don't want to be bothered by people continuing to ask about your FSBO listing, REMOVE IT. This is an important part. It can be frustrating constantly replying with "sorry, already sold". Just prevent that altogether by removing your listing as soon as the sale has closed.
11. Move (and live happily ever after)
Now you can get outta dodge and swim in the thousands of dollars you saved by taking a little initiative and selling your home by owner, congrats!
Like I said at the beginning, this is just a short and sweet list of steps, we offer many more resources if you're interested in learning more. Just continue to browse our blog, buy our ebook on amazon, or sign up for a for sale by owner listing and contact us anytime, day or night.