You can sell your home yourself and save a ton of money. In fact, in today’s marketplace, this might be the only way to get it sold in a reasonable amount of time. Many people feel that have to stay in their home or rent it out and accept landlord liability and headaches. Neither is true. Here are the steps to take:
Curb appeal baby…curb appeal. Have a gardener go over your yard as if you were the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. I’m talking about your footpaths, trees, shrubs. Put some new flowers or potted plants on display while you’re at it.
Make sure your doormat is new and have a painter touch up the entrance if appropriate. And have the painter clean up the window sills and doors. Scrub your home’s exterior or get a service to do this for you. If you have to, consider painting the house.
2. Become or Hire a Handy Person
Spruce up the interior with new fixtures. Replace your door and cupboard handles and faucets. While you’re at it, take care of all the small jobs you’ve been putting off. A cracked floor tile. Broken blinds. Whatever. These jobs won’t take that long or cost that much to get done but can really add big bucks to the bottom line and get your home sold much faster. If you prefer, hire someone. Read my Angie’s List Review to see how.
3. Go to the Bathroom
Need I say it?
Potential buyers will project their “understanding” of your home based on their experience in the commode. If it’s dirty, they just won’t have the enthusiasm you want them to have. Replace fixtures and toilet seat. Get new towels and mats and have a potted plant in there as well.
4. Be a Peacock
Show how proud you are of your home. Make your garage spotless. Put everything in place and get rid of most of it. Same thing with all the rooms and kitchen. If possible, get rid of whatever possible. People like large homes. Clutter makes people feel cramped. Get a storage facility if you have to or sell your extra stuff on eBay, but start clearing clutter out of your house.
5. Collect Intel
Before you advertise, you need to know what your home is worth. That’s not hard to do. Go to Craigslist.com and Zillow.com These sites will tell you what people are listing homes for. Zillow will also tell you what homes like yours sold for recently. You can also hire a professional appraiser.
6. Advertise and List
Tell friends and neighbors that you’re selling your home. List it for free on Craigslist and Zillow. You can even make an inexpensive website that has more pictures and details and even a video tour showing off your palace.
Don’t stop there.
You can advertise your home on Realtor.com without having to commit to paying a commission. You can also list your home on the Multiple Listing Service. You’ll only pay a commission (2% to 3%) if the buyer is working with an agent. There are other websites that can help increase exposure and services that help you draft and post your listings. Take advantage of them.
7. Open House
Is there any law that says you have to drive a ridiculous red Cadillac and have a bad toupee in order to have an open house? Not that I’m aware of. Have yours on a Sunday and pick up some colorful flags and signs. Make fliers that list your home’s price and other details.
OK…relax. I know you freaked when you got to this section. Most people hire realtors just because they have a mortal fear of the paperwork. But it’s a groundless fear. First, make sure that you only accept offers from buyers who are pre-approved.
Next, get yourself the required documents. They are state-specific, but I have some really cool news for you. ForSaleByOwner.com has a nifty package you can get for less than $40. In it, you’ll find all the documents you need to get this transaction done for the state in which you live.
Next, you’ll want to hire a real estate attorney to go over all the documents. This should cost less than $1,000 tops.
9. Close the Deal
On closing day, you and your buyer will meet with the title company. You’ll each sign a number of documents. Then you’ll get your check and the buyer will get the keys. The only thing left for you to do is count how much money you saved by NOT using a realtor.
Can I guarantee that you can get this done in 30 days and spend less than $3,000? No. But I can guarantee that you’ll save at least 3% of the value of the home (and maybe 6%). That’s a lot of cabbage any way you slice it.
You know…my experience tells me that when I hire a realtor, they don’t really work for me. They often work against me. That’s because they are interested in getting the sale done at any price. They want to cram a sale down my throat. If nothing else, by doing it yourself you’ll be working with people keenly interested in looking out for your interests above all else.
Did you ever sell your house by yourself? What were your experiences?