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Home Selling Checklist, showing a icon of a checklist and clipboard, with a man's hand writing on a page.

The National Association of Realtors recently found that people who sell a home "by owner" sell their home quicker and for closer to asking price than agent-represented sellers. Northwestern and Stanford Universities also found that by owner sellers come out financially ahead compared to those who use an agent. In addition to saving thousands of dollars in commission costs, going the by-owner route puts you in control of the selling process.

This checklist outlines steps that will make your home selling experience a success. More detailed information can also be found in our Home Selling Workbook, which is provided for free to customers.

STEP 1: Prepare & Price

Build Your Home-Selling Team

We can help take the place of a real estate agent to market your home and attract interested buyers, in addition to providing you with valuable education and know-how. To help with the home selling process, we offer "Find a Pro," a service that will help you find professional services in other real estate areas. You may not need all service providers, but you might want to use our "Find a Pro" section to engage these key team members:

Home Inspector
Title & Escrow Company
Real Estate Lawyer
Real Estate Appraiser
Home Warranty Company

Prepare the Home for a Successful Sale

Most buyers prefer homes that are not in need of major repairs, so you'll want to address any maintenance issues.

Consider hiring a certified home inspector to get an expert opinion on the condition of the house.
Review your home inspection report and decide what repairs you want done. Fix the basics, like broken windows and leaky facets, or paint a room to make it look friendlier and brighter. 

Price the Home

One of the most important things to do is to price your home correctly. Educating yourself about your local real estate market, including recent sales and current listings, will help you arrive at a proper asking price.

Compare your home to similar homes currently listed on the market. Rely on our comprehensive Pricing Guide, with its value estimators and links to market data.
Get a property or home valuation report for your home. The report will compare your home with recent sales in your neighborhood. (Note: Most listings come with a free property or valuation report.)
Consider hiring a professional appraiser to give you an expert opinion of your home's value in today's housing market.
Research and review the most recent sales of similar homes in your market.
Consider what improvements you've done that may impact your home's value (ex. remodeling the kitchen).
Analyze all your research, and set an asking price.

STEP 2: Market The Home

Nearly 90 percent of all buyers use the Internet to search for a home, so online marketing should be a key component when selling your home, along with traditional means such as yard signs, word of mouth and open houses.

Create a listing on With our Home Selling Guarantee and nearly three times as many visitors as our next closest competitor, is the country's leading FSBO website.

Write a professional listing ad that includes all the best features of your home to attract buyers. For tips on how to write a convincing ad, see "Snagging a Home Buyer" in our Education Center.

Put a "for sale" sign in your front yard. Most listing packages come with a yard sign, but you can also order one at our online store.
Consider renting a storage spot for seldom-used furniture, off-season clothing and unused children's toys to de-clutter your home and garage and make them appear more spacious.
Stage your home so it makes a great first impression for prospective buyers. The staging stories in our Education Center will tell you how.
Take interior and exterior photos of your home, using tips from home-photography stories at our Education Center.
Post a video tour of your home. sellers can upload a video to their listing by logging into their account.
Hold open houses to showcase your home. Open house how-to's, like the ones you'll find in our Education Center, will help you host a successful event. Flag your open house on your listing so house hunters take notice.
Spread the word that your home is on the market by telling friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Leverage your social network, school committees, local shops, community groups and more.

Strengthen Your Marketing Power

Having more marketing and advertising options is always important to a home seller. To gain more exposure for your home, try some of these tools and services:

Advertise your home on without having to commit to paying a commission. The FAQs on our website will tell you more about how we can help you list on there.
Place your home on your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). You'll pay commission (around 2-3 percent) only if the buyer is working with an agent. Our website has lots of information and FAQs about the MLS and how you can get listed there.
Generate more exposure for your home by posting your ad to Craigslist and other community websites. We actually offer home sellers a tool to help you post your listing to such sites. Log into your account to find out how.
Consider alternatives to selling your home, including marketing your home as a "lease to own." More information about sale alternatives are in our Education Center. customers can easily add "lease to own" to their listing by accessing their account.

STEP 3: Paperwork & Closing

Most by-owner sellers assume handling the paperwork will be the most difficult task, but it doesn't have to be! A real estate attorney will only cost a few hundred dollars and will allow you to focus on working with prospective buyers.

Make sure potential buyers are pre-approved to ensure that they will qualify for a mortgage. You'll find lots of information on mortgages and key terms to know in our Education Center.
Download state-specific real estate forms and contracts from for all your real estate needs.
We recommend you hire a real estate attorney who can help you handle all of the paperwork.
Understand and anticipate that the buyer will want to have an inspection done by his or her own home inspector and/or appraisal company.
Only accept offers from pre-approved buyers. When you receive an offer, you and your attorney can accept, reject or make a counteroffer.
Agree on a sales price, and ask your attorney to assist you with the contracts.
Agree on a closing date that is acceptable to all parties.

Close the Deal

Contact your mortgage lender to determine the mortgage payoff amount.
Closing day: You, along with your attorney and/or a representative of your title company, will meet with the buyer and their legal counsel to sign a wide array of closing documents that will give title of the property to the buyer.
Hand over the keys to the buyer.
Determine how much you saved in commission. Our average seller saves $12,400!

You've sold your home without a real estate agent.


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