You’ve decided to sell your home—congrats! Next up is another big decision: do you hire a full-service or discount real estate agent, or do you sell your home on your own?
On one hand, when you sell your own home, you significantly cut down on commission costs, meaning you keep more of your equity once the sale is complete. That means more money for you!
On the other hand, selling your own home can be a full-time job and requires a commitment of time and effort on your behalf.
Can you sell your own home? Of course! Keep reading to find out exactly what you’ll have to do and to get some tips and advice on how to be a successful FSBO.
Home Selling: What Do Agents Do?
Full-service real estate agents are available to their clients throughout the whole home selling process. Here’s a partial list they do in a typical sale:
- Take care of all the details and explain everything
- Make appointments
- Handle the paperwork and forms
- Conduct home tours
- Hold open houses
- Negotiate offers
- Guide you through closing
While Realtors and agents do catch a lot of grief about what exactly they do to earn their commission, the truth is, they do quite a lot. Here are four main stages an agent leads you through to sell your home:
Prep And Pricing
When you begin working with an agent, they will tour your property and offer suggestions on what to fix and spruce up to make your home more appealing.
Then, they’ll sit down and share a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), which is a report that looks at home values and prices in your area to help determine what price you list your home for. The agent’s local insight about the neighborhood can also help determine the price.
Listing and Marketing
Once the price is set and the initial home prep is done, the agent will list the home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service.) Agents will usually use a professional photographer to take pictures, then they will write up an online listing that runs on various real estate listing sites, such as Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, etc.
Besides this digital listing marketing, which is a must, real estate agents will also create traditional marketing materials such as flyers, signs and utilize their own network through word of mouth and email.
Showings and Open Houses
After using marketing tactics and listings to gain the attention of buyers, real estate agents will offer tours and showings of the home for sale. They may also host Open Houses on weekends to draw in even more eyeballs.
Negotiations and Closing
When offers come in, they’re typically lower than what you asked for. This is where an agent’s experience can really come in handy. Preparing counter offers and negotiating on your behalf is a valuable skill.
Once the selling price is agreed to, you go into closing the sale. An agent will help you through this process, which involves a ton of forms and disclosures, and probably more questions than you had up to that point.
For Sale By Owner Tips
Sure, agents do their fair share of work, but don’t worry—you can handle it! Between what information is available on the Internet and the option of tapping into discount real estate pay-as-you-go marketing services, you’ll be selling your own home in no time. Here’s what you need to know and how to do it…
Accurately Price Your Home
This is the single most important aspect of being a For Sale By Owner. You have to price your home correctly! Getting the price right is key to selling your home in a timely and profitable manner.
Price it too high and buyers stay away. Then if you start reducing it week after week, buyers and their agents notice that, too, with skepticism. Price it too low and you’ll get multiple offers and sell within a week. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you will look back and wonder if you could have gotten more money for your home.
Pricing your home just takes a little bit of homework on your part. Agents have access to data, but so do you. Go to listing sites such as Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com, and Trulia.
Compile a list from these sites that show home listings in your area or zip code. Then you can draw up your own “comp” to help set your price. Don’t forget to also look at recently sold homes in your area, too. Current listings and recent sales can give you a pretty decent range and starting point.
If you live in a less populated area or you’re having trouble finding listings in your area, then you might want to hire a professional appraiser. It will set you back a few hundred bucks or so, but it will give you a good number to start with when it comes to listing your home for sale.
Another thing to keep in mind is any special features or additions your property may have. For example, you may have a larger lot than some of the other homes in your neighborhood. Perhaps you have a view, you put in a pool, recently remodeled kitchen, a den or a loft, etc. Take any and all of these “extras” and work them into your pricing. And be sure to highlight these features when you write up your listing description.
Crank Up The Curb Appeal
Although it’s your home sweet home, you’ve got to stop thinking about it as your “home”, and start referring to it as your “property.” You have to be able to make objective decisions and see the place as if you were in somebody else’s shoes.
If there are glaring, obvious repairs that need to be made, you have to get on those right away. If the garage door doesn’t operate correctly, if there is a broken window or window screens are missing, light switches or outlets don’t work, the carpet is in obvious need of replacing, etc.,—fix it! Make a list of what needs to be addressed and either do it yourself or hire a handyman.
Curb Appeal Tips
After the obvious repairs have been taken care of, you can focus on curb appeal. This is how your home presents itself to buyers that are standing at the curb and walking up to your home. It’s the first impression a buyer gets and you want it to be favorable. Here’s a list of easy things you can do to boost your curb appeal:
- Get rid of all dead plants or vegetation, and pull all the weeds
- Plant flowers to add color; plastic planters can be placed under windows
- Paint your door. At the very least, pressure wash it and your entire porch
- Mow and edge your lawn; add seed to trouble spots. Water it!
- Add landscape lighting; serious buyers will drive by at night
- Upgrade your address numbers
- Park your cars in your garage if possible
Get Your FSBO On The MLS
Not too long ago, For Sale By Owners did not have access to list their properties on the MLS. Realtors and real estate agents controlled the Multiple Listing Service and did not allow unrepresented properties to be listed. However, and to make a long story really short, that all changed thanks to a court ruling, and the MLS became more widely accessible.
Fizber.com MLS Connection
For Sale By Owners now have the option to list their home on the MLS through real estate services that specialize in assisting FSBOs. Also called a “flat fee MLS listing”, an FSBO can pay a one time fee and list their home on the MLS, exposing it to thousands of serious, potential home buyers.
This step is crucial and should be taken advantage of by all For Sale By Owners. Over 90% of home buyers begin their search online. You have to fish where the fish are!
For more information on how FSBOs can list on the MLS, visit FIZBER.com, a website that specializes in helping FSBOs list and markets their properties.
Get Your FSBO On!
Selling your own home can be done, especially in a seller’s market. More tools and assistance than ever are out there for FSBOs to take advantage of to sell their homes like a pro.
If you possess the time and the will, selling your home on your own can be achieved. It’s not exactly a walk in the park; there are challenges and commitments that must be faced. But the money you’ll save and the feeling of pride and accomplishment you will feel, make it well worth the effort. Good luck with your FSBO!