Contrary to what 99 out of 100 agents will tell you, it IS possible to sell your home yourself. When you undertake that task, you'll become a FSBO (pronounced “fisbo, " and short for “for sale by owner"), and though it can be a challenge, it's one that thousands of home sellers tackle every day. And you can do it, too! In a nutshell, here are the things to do to become a successful FSBO.
- Clean your home (inside and out) and get the yard looking spic-and-span.
- Set a sales price based on selling prices of homes nearby of similar size and amenities.
- Put a FSBO sign in your front yard with your phone number and/or email address.
- Place an ad in the real estate classified section of your local paper.
- Pass out flyers to your neighbors and put at your local shopping mall, stores, libraries, and apartment complexes.
- Hold an open house.
Now let's look at them individually. Cleaning up and doing whatever maintenance seems self-explanatory, but be aware that you get used to certain things (especially odors) when you live in a home everyday. So it's worthwhile to ask someone to walk through your house and give you an honest appraisal of things that need to be fixed or smells that need to be addressed, such as sticky doors, squeaky hinges, and the cat box in the utility room.
Setting a price can be a bit tricky, but you can find out what other homes are on the market by calling the agents listed on signs in your neighborhood and asking the prices of their houses. If the homes have been on the market a long time, you can assume they're over priced.
Putting a sign in your yard is easy. They're available in most hardware or department store, and they're cheap. Yet most agents will tell you that signs are the best advertising mediums, since people who see yard signs are cruising the neighborhood. That means they're in the market for a home in that area, so if you put a sign out, you'll get calls.
Now a word for those who are squeamish about putting your phone number on a sign. You can substitute an email address to protect yourself from unwanted calls. It will limit your number of prospects, but it will give you a greater degree of privacy. Since you're moving anyway, it might be best to list your phone number. If you know how to put pictures on the Internet, you can list you website address on the sign.
Placing a newspaper ad is easy, but make sure to give accurate information and make it enticing. Be brief, but tell buyers what's special about your home. Even with the advent of the Internet, a majority of homebuyers still cruise neighborhoods and religiously peruse real estate ads, especially on Sundays.
Putting up flyers in the area will also let people know your home is available. This can be especially effective for apartment dwellers longing to own a home of their own.
Handing out flyers to neighbors and inviting them to an open house can be your most effective selling tool. After all, your neighbors are happy living in your area and often have friends or family they'd love to have closer to them.
You'll notice I didn't suggest holding an open house and inviting the world. The type of open houses you see agents promoting are for the agents to get leads on home buyers. Few houses sell at open houses.
There are other factors to consider after you've found a buyer, but you can generally find help through a lawyer or an escrow company. The bottom line is: you CAN sell your home yourself. It just takes time, diligence, and attention to detail.
Copyright © 2006 Jeanette J. Fisher
Jeanette Fisher helps home sellers with five ways to make more money. Free Home Staging Information and reports, teleseminars, and ebooks.
For expert home selling advice please visit http://sellfast.info