6 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Selling By Owner

Posted by Steve Flanagan


While there’s no doubt that preparing your home is at the top of the to-do list when selling on your own, preparing yourself psychologically for the process ahead is really step #1. If you’re not ready, chances of your sale proceeding in a smooth fashion greatly diminish.

So take a deep breath, and put these suggestions to work as you delve into your home sale.

1. Don’t underestimate the amount of work this will take. Agents get paid for a reason. The point of the for sale by owner process is not to make life easy on you, it’s for you to keep as high a percentage of the proceeds as possible.

2. Be patient. Your sale could happen quickly once you’ve listed your home, or it could take months depending on market factors, your asking price, your home’s condition and other variables.

Tip: Research the average number of days nearby homes are staying on the market before selling to give yourself a realistic idea of how long your sale might take. Start with NAR’s monthly real estate market data then check with you local Realtors association to see if they have data posted online. Take a look at Redfin and Trulia as well for similar information.

3. Arm yourself with local comparative pricing information from ForSaleByOwner.com, your local Multiple Listing Service, local government units and independent sources such as the S&P Case Schiller Index and FNC. The more you understand about your local market, the more confident you’ll be as you move forward.

4. Stay focused on the details. Taking your eye off the ball and letting needed repairs slip or forgetting to mow the lawn before an open house can be costly.

5. Stick tightly to your minimum sales price —not your asking price, but the lowest amount you feel you can afford to accept — for as long as possible. Other factors may come into play of course, but be of the mindset that there is a buyer out there for your house who will pay close to your asking price or at least meet your minimum.

6. Set aside your emotions. Focus on selling a house, not your home. Removing as many personal items as possible during your decluttering process will help, but you also need to keep your mind focused on selling a property, not the property where your memories were made. And if a buyer denigrates your home, don’t act insulted, just move on.

Your selling process might be quick and smooth, but be prepared to hit some bumps along the way. Focusing on the big picture and reacting in a neutral fashion when those bumps occur will help keep you on track to the outcome you desire.