Five Essentials for Selling Your Home Without a Realtor
Selling a home in the current housing market is a tough thing to do, even with a competent Realtor. Selling a home on your own? Even harder! However, there are a lot of people out there who think that it’s a necessity to try and sell it themselves before hiring a Realtor, which is something I can understand. It’s simple economics for a homeowner to want to keep the 3% commission and try their hand at it first. If you’re in a real rush to sell, I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you’ve got time to kill and want to try a FSBO (For Sale By Owner), there are some essential tips that you need to know. The Moore Team is here to help!
1. Clean, Straighten and Organize! Nobody wants to buy a dirty home, so try to look at your home as if you were a buyer. Compare your home to those in popular housekeeping and décor magazines and try to imitate the appeal. Sometimes things that aren’t costly can make a world of difference in the appearance of your home. Apply a fresh coat of neutral paint, especially in rooms that are seen when you first come into the home. Pressure wash the outside of your house for a fresher look. Use bleach and a scrub brush to remove mold and mildew stains from the driveway and porch for a nice curb appeal. Always be sure that your lawn is maintained so potential buyers know that the home has been well maintained since you’ve owned it. Inside the home, organization is key. You don’t want a cluttered look – this can make the home seem smaller than it actually is. Try straightening things and opening window shades so that when potential buyers see it, they are given an impression of open space and natural light. If you smoke or have pets, do all that you can to rid the home of odors, but DON’T use flowery room spray to cover the odor. Steam cleaning or shampooing the carpet helps remove odors, and Febreeze is the best temporary odor-remover on the market.
2. A GOOD Price. This can be hard to figure out without a Realtor by your side, but pricing your home comparable to other homes on the market is paramount to selling. If you overprice, potential buyers will think that you will not accept offers much lower and therefore will not even bother going to see it. We know that it can be hard, especially in this market, to price your home where it needs to be. Your home is a very personal thing, and often it is worth more to you than it is to someone else. Try to look at your home objectively: How old is it? How old is the roof? How old are the appliances? Does the home need repairs? How large is the yard? Is it in a good location? Does it have a pool? Is it waterfront? Is it in a gated or deed restricted community? These are all things that affect the price of a home quite a bit and should be taken into consideration when deciding on an asking price. Try to find out what other homes in the area have sold for in the past 3 months and compare your home to them. Don’t trust Zillow…in this consistently declining real estate market, Zillow has been consistently wrong at guessing the value of a home. Good try though, Zillow!
3. A GOOD Sign. Signs rarely attract buyers unless your home is located somewhere on a main road, but it is still important to have one. Make sure it’s a sturdy sign with a clearly written phone number on it. The sign should not be easily affected by rain, i.e. no cardboard boxes! You never know when one of your neighbors is trying to convince their cousin from New Jersey to move down – “…and a great house just went up for sale right down the street from me!”
4. Realbird.com. In this age of computer technology, the quickest and most obvious way to reach potential buyers is the internet. Realbird is a great tool for doing just that! A completely free site, Realbird allows you to create a website for your home that is complete with all the home’s details, plenty of photos and your contact information. What you do with the website is up to you – Realbird automatically distributes it to 12 or 15 syndicated home-search websites, but in addition you could post links to your website all over the internet. Facebook status: “Jane is selling her home. See it here: www.....” Myspace bulletin post: “I need to sell my house! Check it out here: www…..” The list goes on and on. Realbird makes it easy for you to distribute your own “home for sale” ad across the internet in as many different ways as possible, including…
5. Craigslist.com. A unique (and free!) tool that even the Realtors use, Craigslist is an international classified ads site that narrows the ads down by city. For no charge at all, you can use Craigslist to advertise pretty much anything under the sun (and we mean anything…check out their “free stuff” section!). The best way that I have found is to let Realbird do all the work for you – there is an option there to let it create a Craigslist ad for you, complete with all your home’s details, photos and your contact information. Then all you have to do is copy and paste the HTML code into a Craigslist ad and Voila! One thing to remember about Craigslist is this: when viewing classified ads, the most recent ads show up first. This means that you will want to repost your ad as often as possible. The catch is that Craigslist can detect if the ad you are trying to post is the same as another ad that hasn’t expired yet. There are many ways to “cheat” the Craigslist system, but…er…we’re certainly not recommending that! :)
One of the most important parts of trying to sell a home, whether you’re a Realtor or a FSBO, is being informed! It's important that you know that as far as getting your home sold, the MLS is the best tool there is. Realtors advertise everywhere possible but an astoundingly large percentage of home sales come from the MLS. Without the advantage of having your home on the MLS, you will have less activity and fewer buyers will see your home. Think about it from the buyer’s perspective: having a Realtor means having someone to do all the research and footwork for you and draw up all the contract paperwork properly and it doesn’t cost a dime. Why wouldn’t a buyer want a Realtor? Buyers working with Realtors aren’t shown FSBO’s…but they see hoards of homes listed in the MLS. So keep in mind that once you’ve run out of steam with your FSBO, call a Realtor that you trust and who knows the market like the back of their hand!