If you’ve decided to sell your home without an agent, or “for sale by owner,” you’ll have a few big tasks to take care of ahead of you.
Selling without an agent isn’t for everyone, but there are plenty of people who have sold their own homes and lived to tell about it. Learn their success stories to avoid big mistakes.
How To Sell Your Home For Sale By Owner
If you’ve never sold a home before, you might have difficulty getting started. You’ll want to create a listing so agents and other potential buyers can get an inside look at your home.
How To Find A Buyer
Marketing your home goes beyond the listing. You can showcase your home through social media and word of mouth. Consider taking out social media ads and promoting your listing online. Ask your friends to share it as well.
FSBO seller Peter Fiore found buyers through word of mouth and social media. He sold his home in a little more than a month for even more than his asking price. Fiore says he saved at least $75,000 selling on his own.
Also consider your target audience. For instance, if your home is downtown or has easy access to shops and restaurants, you may want to target people who want to live near that scene, typically single people or couples. If you live outside the big city, your home might be best suited for families looking to avoid city life.
Thomas Nyle was selling his Greenwich Village studio and decided to use the fact that the unit didn’t include a parking spot to his advantage by narrowing his audience to buyers who didn’t own cars and wouldn’t be looking for parking amenities. He sold the studio to a schoolteacher who takes public transportation (or bikes or skates) around town.
Many buyers want to see their future in your home. To achieve that, showcase your home’s best attributes and how customizable it is to everyone’s wants and needs. Versatility is important for potential buyers, so don’t be afraid to remove something you really love in an effort to show off how easy it is to make changes.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
While a clean home isn’t a requirement, a dirty home can be a major turn-off to potential buyers. Without the help of an agent, you’ll need to appeal to more people than you think.
First impressions matter, which means you’ll need to focus on staging and presenting your home. Have professional cleaners come in to get your home ready for visitors. How would you want your home to look if your favorite celebrity stopped by? Use that as a guide on how to prepare and stage your home.
While clutter isn’t dirt, it should be given the same level of attention. Cluttered corners and countertops can seem like you don’t have enough space in your home, which might be a big turn-off to potential buyers. Before you have professional photos taken, go through your things and donate unused items and throw out broken things. If you have large pieces, you can call a junk removal company or put it out for bulk day.
It’s also important to be honest with your buyers. If there’s a foundation or roof problem, get it fixed before you sell the home. Many potential buyers won’t bite even if you reduce the asking price. Most issues come up at the inspection, so you might as well beat them to it by preparing for the best offer based on the condition of your home.
Remember, It’s Just Business
Your home is very personal to you, but that doesn’t mean everyone feels the same attachment to it. At the end of the day, selling your home is a business transaction – it’s not personal.
Risa Martinez of Milwaukee learned this valuable lesson as a by-owner seller. You can clean your home to within an inch of its life, you can point out its many attributes, but sometimes it just won’t immediately click with buyers. “They are not rejecting you,” Martinez says. “They just don’t necessarily like what you’re offering them. There’s a perfect buyer out there, they just have to find you.”
Instead, focus on getting the most buck for your bang. Handle necessary repairs, make viable improvements and deep clean. It may help to have an outsider come in and point out potential updates. Sometimes, when we’ve lived in a space for so long, we miss those opportunities.
Also remember that not everyone will love your space as much as you do. Be mindful that some prospective buyers don’t feel love at first sight. Be open to finding the right buyer for your home, not necessarily just any buyer. If you’re firm in your price and believe your home has what it takes, don’t expect a sale right away. Instead, wait for the right buyer.
Remember to be aware of fair housing policies. You can’t discriminate against a potential buyer based on race, sex, religion, family status or other factors.
The Bottom Line
When you sell your home by yourself, the success of the sale depends on you. Finding the right buyer at the right price at the right time is multilayered. Prepare your home long before you list it. And when the time comes to show it off, don’t be afraid to step back and get it in tip-top shape for potential buyers.
If you’re ready to sell your home by yourself, get the tools you need first. Even though you don’t have a real estate agent, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the best resources. Before you sell, learn everything you can about expectations and the home-selling process.