Selling your own home can be a full-time job in and of itself. It requires a lot of your time and effort, and that you do some homework ahead of time before diving in headfirst.
There are many things sellers can do to make the process a little easier and to hopefully, sell the home that much quicker. We’ve compiled a top ten list of tips that will certainly come in handy when trying to sell on your own.
As a FSBO (For Sale By Owner), you’ve got to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get some elbow grease going, because selling your own home is the ultimate DIY project. Of course, you can always hire someone, such as a handyman or cleaners or whomever. But sooner or later, you will get dirty and do some work—let’s get started!
10 Tips For Selling Your House
This list of tips and advice is merely a starting point. There are, of course, countless other tasks and costs involved in selling a home. The following is a great start and will get you on the path to being an FSBO pro!
1) Pricing The Home
Pricing your home correctly is your number one priority as a home seller. If you don’t price accurately, your home will stick out for all the wrong reasons. Price it too high and buyers will stay away. Price it too low and someone will snatch it up before you’ve had time to realize that you could have gotten more at closing.
Real estate agents know how to set prices by using neighborhood “comps”, short for “comparables.” This is sales and listing data that shows what homes in the area have been listed for, and what they’ve sold for. Realtors and agents have easy access to this type of information, but you can DIY it, as they say.
Scour real estate listing sites such as:
Make a list of homes in your area or zip code and keep track of all the pertinent information. This method can get you in the ballpark when it comes to setting your own price.
Another way to get a free valuation of your home’s worth is to work with Fizber.com. When you sign up to use Fizber as your FSBO sales partner, one of the benefits is a free home valuation by one of their experienced agents.
2) Offer A Buyer’s Commission
We know, you’re a For Sale By Owner, and the whole reason you decided to go the FSBO route was to avoid commissions and save the money. But the fact of the matter is that most buyers use real estate agents to help them find a home. Finding a buyer who is not represented by an agent is really a needle in a haystack.
FSBOs who do not offer a buyer’s commission is just asking agents to ignore them. Agents will even steer their clients away from FSBOs who find your property because they know they won’t be properly compensated for their efforts.
Offer a buyer’s commission, but make it less than 3%–everything’s negotiable!
3) Hire A Real Estate Lawyer
After all the hard work and you finally agree upon a price with a buyer, you enter the closing phase of a real estate transaction. This is where mounds of paperwork, disclosure forms, clauses, escrow and title, financing and final inspections all come together. It’s about this time, when you start closing, that you want to consult with a real estate attorney.
Hiring a real estate attorney is akin to buying insurance. You might be able to get through the process without one, but the risk is not worth it. You want a safety net when it comes to a transaction this large. Here’s a partial list of what a professional real estate attorney brings to the table:
- Legally represents your best interests through the entire process
- Holds your hand through the all of the paperwork. Stacks of paperwork!
- Review the sales contract and makes modifications where necessary
- Negotiates on your behalf, things like repairs and inspection reports
- Works closely with the title and escrow company to make sure everything runs smoothly
4) Make Major Repairs
Before the decluttering and sprucing up begins, you have to make sure all the major structural and mechanical items and features of the homework properly. We’re talking about bigger ticket repairs versus the little details.
Here some major home repair areas to look at:
- Plumbing: make sure all faucets work, toilets flush, hot water works, etc.
- Roofing: when’s the last time your roof was inspected? If you have leaks or issues, get them fixed.
- Flooring: Is your carpet worn out or stained? Do you have pets and/or children? Are there loose tiles or grout? Flooring fixes and upgrades go a long way with buyers.
- Kitchen: How old are your appliances? Do they all work properly? You don’t need to remodel your kitchen, but things like stoves and ranges need to work.
- Electrical: are any plugs not working? Lights switches on the fritz? Call an electrician and get ‘em fixed.
- Other big items like your electric garage door opener, having screens in all the windows, landscaping sprinklers, fences, any mold, heaters and air conditioners.
You can try and sell your home “as is” and ignore major repairs. But in the long run, you’ll either pay for it when the inspection report comes in, or you simply won’t get as much for the home. A buyer will take the price of those repairs, and counter back to reflect their costs in the final offer.
5) Fresh Coats Of Paint
After the major repairs get done, you can move on to more detailed and cosmetic tasks. You know your scuffed and worn-out walls need a touch up paint. But why not go the extra mile and repaint every wall? Painting is pretty easy, definitely something you can do yourself.
Use soft, neutral, colors that match with just about anything. Buyers will walk through and picture their furniture in the room and their art up on the walls. Meet them halfway with a neutral palette that doesn’t fight for attention.
A new paint job makes even the oldest and stuffiest of homes seem bright and new. New paint is inviting and brings spaces together. New paint smells good too! The aroma of a fresh coat of paint can last for a couple of months. Use it to your advantage.
6) Small Upgrades
Sometimes the smallest of details can really pay off. You’d be amazed by the things potential buyers notice while walking through your home. Small and even fairly inexpensive upgrades can go a long way in making a good impression.
One easy thing to do is to change all the handles and hardware in your home. Go to your local home or hardware store and buy some trendy hardware that will match your kitchen cabinets and countertops. Look through magazines or on the Internet for ideas that are “in”. This is a simple upgrade that you can do on your own with just a screwdriver and you’ll be done in less than an hour or so.
Another place to look for a small upgrade is light fixtures. Again, go to the home store and pick out a few, then hire a handyman or electrician to properly install them. A new chandelier or some hanging spotlights can drastically change how a room or space is viewed.
7) Hire a Photographer
When you list your FSBO on FIZBER, you’ll get access to the Multiple Listing Service where you can list your home. That listing will include the home’s history, as well as a descriptive write up of its features and benefits, and usually about 15-20 pictures.
You may fancy yourself a budding photog, but trust us, it’s best to hire a professional for this job. An experienced real estate photographer will know where what and when to shoot a home. They know about lighting, angles, composition and no matter how good of a photographer you think you are, their pictures will always come out better.
You can usually get a professional real estate photographer for anywhere between $100-$250 and it’s money well spent. If you know a real estate agent, ask them for a referral.
8) Curb Appeal
Curb appeal is the first impression a buyer gets when they walk up to your home. It’s simply how your home looks and feels to the buyer when they see it from the curb.
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
9) Remove Your Furry Friends
People and families love their animals, we understand that. However, buyers simply don’t want to see (or smell!) pets.
Selling your own is a business transaction and you’ve got to make some tough decisions. One of them should be to remove all pets from the home whenever you are having a tour or an open house. Either take them for a long walk or have a place, like a dog park, that is your go-to spot whenever walkthroughs pop up.
If you have a loved one or someone you really trust to foster the pet while your place is for sale, then that would be the best route.
10) Depersonalize & Declutter
What’s a “Tips for Selling Your Home” article without the big “Ds”? Depersonalizing and decluttering your home are absolute musts when it comes to preparing your home for sale.
Depersonalizing is all about putting things away that are direct reflections or images of you and your family. Family photos, art, kids’ artwork from school, any framed mementos, etc. Carefully take these items down and wrap them up and either packs them or store them. It’s not that buyers will be offended by your family pictures. It’s simply that it’s much easier for them to picture themselves in the environment without the reminder that someone actually lives there.
Decluttering is the act of getting rid of all the little things that fill up your home. There’s one golden rule when it comes to decluttering: if it’s not necessary for day-to-day life, it’s unnecessary. These types of things include all that stuff on your fridge, knick-knacks on tables and desks and anything on a nightstand that isn’t a lamp.
Thanks for reading the list! Now you have a blueprint for FSBO success. Visit Fizber.com for more great information.