For Sale By Owner
I have no doubt that everyone that has ever sold a house has considered selling it themselves. The savings can be substantial when you consider a 6-7% commission.
Contrary to most Realtors® I say if you are up to the challenge - Go for it! I will even give you some advice on how to do it. There is nothing mysterious about selling a property yourself. You just need to do your research and be committed, and most of all be available.
Get your paperwork in order. Before you even think about putting that FSBO sign in your yard find an appropriate real estate contract. Some of your major office supply stores carry them. Or you can get one from a lawyer - better yet, hire a lawyer to put together a contract for you. This of course will probably cost you unless the lawyer is your uncle Joe.
Plan your marketing strategy and put together a marketing budget. Realtors® have been doing this for years. Where is the best place to reach buyers that are looking for your home? Is my neighborhood popular enough where a yard sign will do the trick? Which newspapers are the best?
Prepare your property for sale. Remove clutter and de-personalize it make it shine! Watch a lot of home improvement television shows to get ideas. Here is a link to a page I wrote with a lot of good information on getting your house ready to sell.
Pre-Qualify! Ask potential buyers if they have met with their lending institution to get pre-qualified. Make certain they understand this is one of your requirements to show the house. Ask that they bring this letter with them when previewing your home. Don't feel like you are going to screw up a deal by asking they bring this letter. A Realtor® would have already required it. By all means follow up on this letter by calling the institution if there is sufficient interest in your property.
Be available, be available, be available. Typically hours for previewing houses are between 9 am and 7 pm. Often working buyers will need more accommodation. Weekends - especially Saturdays - are prime time. Keep your cell phone with you at all times. This is where most FSBOs fail.
Working with Realtors®. As soon as that FSBO yard sign goes up, expect to hear from agents who want to list your house. Do not be offended or curt with these agents. I suggest this is an excellent opportunity to gather information about future agency representation. These agents may also have ready willing and able buyers that are interested in your home. Many will ask you if you will consider a 'One time showing' for a selling commission less than that of a full service listing. Consider it - with that comes a ready made Real Estate contract and all the other forms needed to close the sale. That agent will be representing the Buyer's interest - NOT yours. Consider having your lawyer (Uncle Joe) look over the paperwork.
MOST IMPORTANTLY... Stay Safe!
Be alert and be safe. When Realtors® bring buyers to your home you can be somewhat sure that the buyers have been screened - even if only a little. We are not living in a Utopia where everyone is to be trusted.
Don't put yourself in harm's way. If you feel uncomfortable showing your house to strangers, ask a friend to come over or show with your spouse. Always have your cell phone in your pocket.
Go back to the get ready to sell page where I have written specific information if you have children in your household. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!
Why people go it alone - FSBO.
The most prevalent reason sellers attempt to sell their houses themselves is because of one simple reason. They owe more on the property than the house is worth. OR after paying a commission to a realtor they are either in the hole or walk away with no money to put down on their next property.
In this economy I see this a lot. There are alternatives. For instance: if you have been transferred in your job this may qualify for a distress sale or short-sale. If you are buying another home the deficiency may be able to be rolled into the new home purchase - especially if you are buying the house below market. These are times when you REALLY need a Realtor® in your corner.
Call me - there is no obligation - I will help you in anyway I can.