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10 Things you must know before you go FSBO

Published: Oct 14, 2009

Congratulations! You have decided to sell your home on your own. Now how can you be sure to receive top dollar and sell quickly despite the crushing amount of inventory still available in most areas of the country? The answer is to become an informed homeowner - someone who understands exactly what it will take to position your home to successfully attract a buyer despite the market conditions.

To accomplish this let's take a look at 10 things you must know before you go FSBO:

  1. Set the right price

    In today's world buyers are sophisticated internet-enabled information gatherers. Because of this you need to be able to defend your price by using objective criteria. Take the time to do the research any savvy buyer will do by reviewing the sold inventory, the active inventory, and the current market statistics in your area. You can access market data at Trulia under the Stats & Trends section.

  2. Prepare your product

    On average home buyers will view 10-15 homes before making a buying decision. As a seller this means you need to start from the curb and work your way inside, taking note of any eye sores, problem areas, or red flags that a buyer may use to eliminate your home from consideration. Some studies show that you have less than 30 seconds to impress a buyer when they arrive at your door. Try exploring home improvement sites like HGTV to get some ideas.

  3. Plan your promotion

    Because you have decided to forgo an agent you have given up a key component of a successful marketing plan - the exposure that a local Multiple Listing Service provides. To overcome this obstacle try using online classified advertising, FSBO aggregator sites, and your local newspaper sites to attract attention. Remember that online buyers value three key items: more photos, virtual tours, and detailed information. For help on building e-flyers, flyers that can be viewed online, explore Postlets.

  4. Fix the problems

    One way to attract more buyers is to have your home pre-inspected. This can include a traditional pest and dry rot inspection or a whole home inspection. A word of caution: anything you learn about the home may need to be disclosed to the buyer even if you decide not to go ahead with the repairs. To find a qualified inspector in your area visit the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

  5. Communicate quickly

    Decide in advance who will be the main point of contact and how calls will be handled. To avoid getting tongue-tied, keep home details close at hand and a standard cut and paste email ready to send at a moment's notice. Remember, the goal is to generate a showing. One quick tip: some sellers set up separate email accounts just to handle buyer emails.

  6. Identify financing options

    Identify at least three home lenders in your market and invite them to provide financing options for your home. Having a variety of financing plans available to share with a buyer can make the difference between a showing and a sale. Refer buyers to the US Department of Urban Housing and Development's website for answers to detailed financing questions.

  7. Be creative

    Are you willing to carry a contract? Would you be willing to accept a trade? Would you be open to a lease option agreement? Ask yourself just how far you are willing to go to get your home sold. Your willingness to think outside of the box may mean the difference between selling your home and wishing you had sold your home. Looking for ideas? Explore Trulia's Advice & Opinions section.

  8. Offer incentives

    Incentives can include offering to buy down the buyer's interest rate, paying for prepaid costs like high speed internet services, contributing money for closing costs, or even paying for remodeling costs or new appliance packages. One popular incentive is a home warranty. A home warranty is a service contract that protects buyers for up to one year for any major mechanical failures in the home. To explore home warranties, take a look at the American Home Shields website.

  9. Sign it

    Real estate signs can account for as many as 30% of the buyer calls in many real estate firms. To attract the most attention, consider having a professional sign created that highlights your home's best features. A couple of tips: real estate signs should be perpendicular to the road (not parallel) for better visibility. Also for homes located off the beaten path, consider using directional arrow signs to increase traffic. Try surfing BuildASign.com for inspiration.

  10. Adjust as needed

    One of two things will happen when you begin marketing your home - either you will have showings or you won't. Few or no showings often indicate that the market is rejecting your price. On the other hand, a steady stream of showings but no offers may be a signal that homebuyers are rejecting the home itself. In either case, you may need to make adjustments to create a successful sale. To stay up to date on your competition, sign up for email alerts about your market area.

Selling your home on your own can reap big rewards, but it does take commitment and a lot of hard work. Take the time to use these ten tips to ensure that you are able sell your home fast and for top dollar.

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When it's time to sell your home often one of the first questions you wrestle with is - Do I hire an agent or sell it on my own? After all if you can sell your home successfully without the help of an agent you may stand to gain a substantial sum of money ...

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