People preparing to sell their homes often find out the concealed costs of such a transaction. The most significant of such hidden costs is the real estate agent’s commission, which can, on average, be as high as 6% of the property’s sale price – this is in exclusion to the fee that agents charge for their services.
For this reason, homeowners often go with a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) strategy, which is when you decide to sell your house by yourself, without any help from agents.
Although FSBO can save you a considerable amount of money, it has certain downsides, not least that all the responsibilities that would normally have been assumed by the agent – such as preparing a for sale by owner contract – are now with the seller.
It can be particularly tricky to get word out about your property and to attract sufficient potential buyers – especially if your house is situated in a competitive housing market. If you do manage to grab enough interest, preparing your house for tours and visits is another headache.
However, that should not deter you. There are several ways, techniques, and tools which you can use to successfully market, prepare, and sell your house without an agent.
Preparing Your House
To get a good price, you need to ensure that your house looks appealing to potential purchasers. Here are a few ways you can do that:
Assess your house from a stranger’s perspective
It is natural to view your house with a biased viewpoint and fail to identify any potential defects or shortcomings that might deter a prospective buyer. By casting a neutral eye on your property, you will be able to take emotion out of the equation and spot any deficiencies that might come back to haunt you later on in the buying process.
For a more objective perspective, you could even ask friends or colleagues to visit your house and give their independent opinions about its condition. Make a note of any defects that they point out and make sure to remedy those as best as you can.
Improve your house before selling it
A house with leakages or broken furniture is bound to attract fewer buyers and poor prices, as buyers would want to pay a lower amount for a house that requires improvements.
By making a few minor and relatively inexpensive repairs, you can significantly boost the value of your property and maximize your profit on sale. If your house requires any modifications, you will have to explicitly state that in the free for sale by owner contract.
Separate any pets that you might have
Sure, some homeowners enjoy having pets, but the keyword here is ‘some’. Other owners might not prefer animals, especially if they have certain family members who are allergic. Since you cannot possibly know if a potential buyer will be interested in pets, it is best to separate the pets from the house when potential buyers are visiting.
Marketing Your House
The key to marketing your house is to do it through multiple and creative ways. Sometimes, it might require spending a bit of money, but that is a small fraction of what you would have been spending on a real estate agent.
Below are some of the ways you can effectively promote your for-sale property:
Often, the most effective methods are also the most orthodox. A yard sign might feel outdated, but it is a crucial step in your house marketing and should arguably be the first one. Ideally, you would want to put your ‘for sale’ sign as close to the street as you possibly can.
Make sure that the sign is clearly viewable, and not obstructed by garbage cans, hedges, or anything else. Your sign should also have a phone number, prominent and easy-to read – ensure that the number you put on the sign is always available, so that potential buyers can be entertained at any time of the day.
You can pay to have your house advertised in newspapers, FSBO websites, or bulletin boards. There are certain platforms that charge a flat fee in return for sharing your house and contact details to potential buyers. You can also get flyers printed and distribute them to your friends or workplace colleagues.
Copywriting and photography services
Promotions are ineffective if they fail to communicate the aspects that make your house unique. Again, you need to step into a typical buyer’s shoes, and ask yourself why you would want to buy this house.
A creative, descriptive, and compelling ad listing can appeal to prospective purchasers. You can even use online templates or printing services to create flyers and brochures.
However – when it comes to advertising – words, no matter how effectively they are used, are incomplete without visuals. Hence, you would also want some premium, high-definition pictures of your house. But before the photography session, make sure that your house is clean and decluttered.
A home-staging expert will help you out with the lighting, angles, and other technical aspects of photography – or you could hire a professional photographer. Remember that pictures are often the first thing that potential buyers look at, and if your photographs fail to make an impact, the buyer will probably give you a lowball offer or maybe even move on from your offering.
Create virtual tours
There are plenty of talented videographers who can help you develop virtual tours for interested audiences. Modern technologies, such as drones, allow professional videographers to create aerial views of your property as well as create a walkthrough of the house for potential buyers.
These productions can then be included on your online promotional platforms – along with HD photographs of the main sections of the house.
In conclusion, selling a house by yourself can be difficult and challenging. However, some people relish this challenge, and the possibility of saving thousands of dollars certainly sparks a lot of extra motivation to go FSBO.
Although working with real-estate agents is still the norm, thousands of houseowners successfully execute FSBO sales every year – with a bit of creativity, research, and added effort, you can well become one of them and successfully put pen to paper on a for sale by owner contract for your house.