The real estate commission earned by a Realtor on the sale of your property can add up to a lot of money. It may be tempting to try to save that commission by selling your property yourself. This is called FSBO or For Sale By Owner, and there are many folks who are comfortable taking on the role of a FSBO seller.
Whether you choose to sell your property alone or with the help of a Realtor, you should always have a complimentary HOME MARKET EVALUATION done on your property so you know exactly what the market is doing currently in your neighborhood. A good term to remember to ask a real estate professional when they are evaluating your market conditions is what are my “ODDS OF SELLING” my home?
There are many market factors that go into your odds of selling, and always remember that the market dictates what your property will sell for, regardless of what you personally feel should be the price of your property.
So if you decide to market your own property, we invite you to consider the following steps that you must take in order to save the real estate commission.
1) Conduct your own mini walk-through inspection. Make a list of what you might need to repair or improve. Items such as
Fresh clean paint throughout
Clean windows and window coverings throughout
Well-manicured lawn and yard
Plumbing and all appliances in working order
A well-organized, clean garage
All sealants (window, tub, shower, sink, etc) in good condition
Roof and gutters in good condition, no repair needed
2) Make all necessary repairs and improvements before you begin to advertise your property.
3) Carefully research information regarding the prices and terms of sales in today’s real estate market. Investigate recent sales prices (COMPS) in your immediate area.
4) Meet with local lenders and determine financing alternatives for your prospective buyers.
5) Determine which newspapers and home magazines, etc will best advertise your property. Call them for rates and make sure you find out their deadlines, customer base (REACH), etc.
6) Establish an advertising budget.
7) Prepare a professional, attention getting advertisement that will attract the right buyers to your property.
8) Prepare a plan to reach those out-of-town buyers who account for a major portion of today’s home purchases. In the Charleston tri-county area, we have seen a large influx of relocation over the past 10 years and this number continues to grow each year.
9) Purchase an eye-catching and weatherproof yard sign, install it in the front of your property. Note: make sure to check with your HOA, some communities don’t allow for any signage in your yard, or they may require a certain type of sign. You should also refer to your covenants and restrictions as well.
10) Purchase special “Open House” signs and install them in paths that lead from main roads or thoroughfares, through the neighborhood, and to your property. Note: Always remember to take the signs back down after your Open House has been held.
11) Prepare a “Feature/Benefit” fact sheet outlining specific features of your property (home) and the corresponding benefits to prospective purchasers.
12) Schedule and conduct open house “Weekdays” as well as open house weekends. Make your property more inviting by placing freshly cut flowers in several rooms. You might burn scented candles in the living room, kitchen or baths. The aroma of freshly baked bread or cookies also adds to the ambiance of your property.
13) Be available at all times so that you can walk through the property with prospective buyers to answer their questions and offer information about local schools, parks, transportation (commutes), churches, shopping, etc.
14) Learn how to separate the “lookers” from qualified buyers. Ask for names and phone numbers and be sure to follow up with telephone calls.
15) Be prepared to negotiate with the buyer(s). Remember to be an impartial 3rd party. Remain calm and refrain from any emotional outburst that might spoil a sale.
16) Obtain all forms necessary for the legal sale of real property such as:
Deposit Receipt & Offer to Purchase
Buyers Cost Sheet
Seller’s Disclosure Form (It is imperative that all know defects be disclosed to the buyer(s))
17) Determine the type(s) of financing that you are willing to consider such as:
Seller Carryback First Loan
Conventional Loan with Seller Carryback Second Loan
“Wrap Around” Loan
18) Negotiate with the buyer(s) all final terms of the sale including price, financing, inspections, date of closing, date of possession, and other pertinent considerations.
19) Plan a final walk through with the buyer(s) before settlement process in complete in order to resolve any dispute. Have a witness present.
20) While you are marketing your current property, locate and negotiate to purchase your next home (if applicable). Attempt to schedule both transactions so that they close simultaneously. In this way, you and the buyer are able to move at the same time.
I hope that these tips will in some way help guide you if you decide to go the FSBO route. If there’s anything I can assist with, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask away!