How do I sell My Home By Owner/?

Asked by Echoes53, Inglis, FL Thu Apr 15, 2010

What does it take to sell my home?

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Dean Slone, , 95503
Sat Jun 12, 2010
As an Owner, ... I sold our home in Orange County (southern) California during the 1989 recession. In February 1989, homes like mine were selling in 3 days for $300,000 and up. I listed our home on the market in April, with an agent, for $285,000 and it was already too late. The market had turned and my price was too high. I started selling in August "For Sale By Owner" at $250,000, received an offer within 2 weeks and closed in October.

21 years later I am a Real Estate Broker with over 15 years as a licensed agent and Broker.

I can tell you the following:

It is the sign that sells. Real estate agents use their company sign to 1st bring in clients and 2nd to notify the roaming public that the property is available. In our litigious (sue happy) society if you do not disclose and do not do everything just right you could be in legal trouble. If a Broker (with E&O insurance) wants 3% to sell your home, he/she should be willing to give some before sale direction and do the post offer paperwork for 1% of the selling price. If you are going to sell by owner see if there is a licensed firm (Broker) who will do the paperwork for a reduced fee. That being said ...

When I was the seller and selling by owner I put a sign in the front yard. ... (smile) ... I figured out what my absolute bottom price was, to net me what i had to have, and put that as line 1 on my sign. Line 2 said 3% available to buyers agents. Subsequent lines were home features just like the real estate ads. The last line was my phone number.

AND did I mention that I painted all this on a 4' x 8' sheet of exterior plywood, propped up on the front lawn? Everything could be read from 30 feet away. The plywood was painted bright white, the price was in RED numbers 6" tall and the descriptions were in black letters 3" tall and my phone number was in blue, 5" tall.

The neighbors were irate and complained that I was making their home values decline ... I told them to put out the word and help me sell because that was the only way the sign was coming down. I sold to an individual that was driving the neighborhood looking at homes. (I split the buyers agent fee, 3% (line 2) with him.) If people are driving your neighborhood looking for homes then your own sign will do better for you than a real estate agents sign. If you are in a remote area you need the local multiple listing service (MLS) to get the word out to all the buyers and agents. Most times the MLS is owned by the agents and not available to the FSBO individual. Remember to advertise in your local weekly coupon rag, eBay and Craigs List. Put notices anywhere they let you advertise for free (supermarket, home centers, etc)

BTW, if you do use a selling agent get it in writing as to how much and where they will advertise YOUR property. Sign up for the shortest listing time (30 to 60 days) AND give no listing contract extensions. Do not go for the high listing price and then be asked to drop your price later after no action. The agent just wanted your listing hoping another agent will sell it. Your property will most likely sit on the market, over priced, and becomes shop worn. Other properties will be sold by agents after they show their buyers your over priced property. Price high and negotiate down? Sorry, you will not even see the offer. Price fair and hold firm works better in a declining and/or weak market.

You know how much money you need out of your place ... in a declining market you must price AHEAD of the decline. If you try for every last penny you might just wind up leaving it all on the table. You must spruce up the place and make it shine.

Good luck, it can be done.

Dean Slone
Slone Realty
CA Lic# 01201399
3 votes
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Fri Apr 16, 2010
Echoes - as always.....Rockinblu has arrived in time to provide you with his useful link .
.I am sure you will find it very helpful!

One thing I totally agree with him on (well, there are a lot of things I agree with that Rock says!), is that with or without a realtor......luck and timing do play into it.

Best of luck!
2 votes
Barbara Q., , Bergen County, NJ
Tue Apr 20, 2010
Echoes53 - Educate yourself: Read Rockinblu's blog.
Check out the Bankrate article regarding "Paying points to get the deal done."
Learn about how to expand your pool of potential buyers at the 321advantage site.

Price the home aggressively + Offer Financial Incentives to your Buyers.
Buyers are not one price fits all. Some need $ toward closing costs, others would benefit from a lower interest rate and payment... There are alternatives to standard price reductions...Offer something your competition is not. Think outside the box.

Good Luck! and Please keep us posted.
1 vote
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Fri Apr 16, 2010
Oh boy - what does it take to sell your home?
Pull up a chair and take notes!

You need to educate yourself........... and then it takes luck and timing......and having a great property to sell. By "great property", I mean a home that shows well and is priced right. It also helps if you know how to negotiate.

Now, as to pricing..................that can be tricky. You need to know what the comparable sales have been, and what the current competition is, and how your home compares to other listed homes. The buyers will know that , so you better be sure you know it, too.

That brings us back to educating yourself.

If you think you are going to "save the commission" by doing it on your own...please, make sure you know what you're doing, or it could cost you more money in the end.

There is more to selling your home than putting a sign on the lawn and an ad on Craigslist or in the local paper.
There are also legal issues you need to learn requirements for C of O's.etc.

No one can tell you in this little amount of space how to sell your home on your own.....we really can't. You do need to study up before trying.

Keep in mind that once you find a willing buyer, the work, in many ways, has just begun.

Best wishes..........
1 vote
Dp2, , Virginia
Thu Apr 15, 2010
Unless you really know what you're doing, I probably wouldn't recommend trying to sell without an agent. Even if you do know what you're doing, then more often than not it's still a good idea to list with an agent. However, if you're determined to not list with one, then check out Rockin'Blue's Trulia post on FSBOs.
1 vote
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Thu Apr 15, 2010
I suggest you interview three Realtors, have them analyze your situation, compare their proposals, then try it yourself if you feel up to it.

Most sellers eventually list with a Realtor, and because the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit expires on April 30th, interest rates have increased 3/8 of a point, and spring selling season is almost over, it probably won't matter now if you try it for a few weeks.,

Good luck.
1 vote
Jason Allen-…, Agent, Palm Springs, CA
Thu Apr 15, 2010
This is a question every homeowner has faced, if only in passing, when confronted with the prospect of paying a commission. However, real estate transactions are only simple on the surface.

Apart from the documentation complexity, you need to understand how your property compares to others in your area that have SOLD, not merely been PUT UP for sale. Unless you’ve been dogging the bush for the last six to ten months, you’re not going to know how to strategically price your home, nor will you recognize a market appropriate offer when/if you get one.

This is also something very important to consider: buyers who deal with directly with a seller expect a reduction in price equal to the commission. They will expect your listing price to be lower from the start AND THEN ask for the value of the commission in their offer. This means you’re paying for an agent without the benefit of actually having one. Plus, unless you make clear to potential buyers’ agents that you will pay their commission, they may not bring people to you. Lastly, despite this sticky wicket around buyers’ agents’ commissions, you’ll be amazed at how many real estate agents will contact you the moment your listing hits the market. Some will have a line about a buyer as a way to get their foot in your door. Some will be forthright and simply want your listing. Would you really want to hire an agent under these circumstances?

You may ultimately feel compelled to list your own property. But before you do, invite two or three local Realtors in to your home to provide you with proposals. (Ask friends and relatives for referrals and check and You may be pleasantly surprised at what you learn and realize a good agent is an invaluable asset.

Best of success to you.

Jason Allen-Rouman
Sotheby’s International Realty
DRE# 01831809
(415) 641-7800
Web Reference:
1 vote
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Thu Apr 15, 2010
It takes a buyer, and you need a book - there's more to selling a home than can be explained in a few paragraphs.
1 vote
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Thu Apr 15, 2010
In today's market pricing and marketing are paramount--consider ad placements in for sale by owner sites, Craig's List, flat fee realty companies, etc.
1 vote
Michael Jose…, Home Owner, Gulf Breeze, FL
Sat Aug 9, 2014
You can list it on Zillow For sale by owner. These days majority of home buyers start looking online. I've seen a few homes listed on Zillow by owner but priced to high. They then remove it and list with an agent bring the price down and a few sold some of the others are still sitting there months later. Price a home right and it will sell. A real estate attorney can advise you on the contract and will ensure you cover yourself.
0 votes
Susan Roach, Agent, Yankeetown, FL
Sat Aug 9, 2014
The question isn't how to sell your home yourself, the question is why would you try to sell your home yourself. Realtors are experienced and trained to sell homes without any cost to the seller until closing. Realtors do all the hard work for you while you go about your daily life without any of the worries of trying to sell and show your home. Realtors are trained to pre-qualify the buyers so that they are not just walking through your home until they are qualified to buy it when they fall in love. Call a Realtor for a professional worry free experience.
0 votes
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