Selling your own home is hard work. It requires time, energy, market knowledge, and some up-front money.
Be sure you’re up for the job.
You must have plenty of time to show your home, have no problem negotiating, and enjoy the challenge of marketing your own house,
Price it right.
An appraisal can help. Please do not rely on “web-estimates” for the value of your home. Check newspaper ads and real estate blogs for a read on the market, and spend several weekends going to open houses near you, and track their final selling prices.
Declutter and clean up.
Store the family photos, fix the loose doorknob, clean every surface, and slap a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint on the walls. To present your home in its best light, you can arrange a 2-hour consultation with a professional stager for about $300.
Use online tools to advertise.
A mini industry has sprung up to help For Sale by Owner sellers for a fraction of commission charges. Among the services are advertising in magazines and websites, and providing disclosure and contract forms and other sale documents, weatherproof information boxes and flyers, seminars, and educational booklets and materials.
Feature pictures and a video tour in your listings, and make sure you also include driving directions, heating and cooling sources, and your school district.
In addition, publicize your listing on all the free sites you can. Don’t waste money on newspaper ads and local real estate guides; only 1 percent of people find their home through those print ads, the NAR says.
Don’t skip the sign.
A “For Sale” sign, after the Internet and a real estate agent, is the most effective tool for attracting buyers, according to NAR surveys. Place it as close to the road as possible, unobstructed and with a phone number that’s easy to read and that someone will answer day and night.
Show like a pro.
When you show people your home, ask them to sign in and provide you with their e-mail address and a phone number. Let potential buyers lead the way as they explore your home, and point out special features. Make sure they leave with a copy of your sales brochure. Follow up with an e-mail or a call thanking them for looking at your home, and use the opportunity to ask whether they have additional questions. For safety’s sake, have someone else in the home during showings.
Look for buyers with a pre-approval.
A potential buyer with a pre-approval (which means a lender has verified all of the information on a loan application) is further along in the borrowing process than one who has prequalified for a mortgage (which just means a lender has checked a buyer’s credit). A deal with a buyer holding a commitment is less likely to collapse.