Confession (1) I can only guess, because I have never done it. I am a real estate agent, a Realtor. I have owned 4 homes. I hired someone else to sell 3 of them.
Confession (2) I have not slept in a Holiday Inn Express lately.
Confession (3) I have been in the real estate industry full time over 22 years helping sellers and their agents get properties sold. (So I do have a few thoughts on the subject).
So… why would I help someone who is bent on not hiring me?
(1) I respect the effort. I like saving money like anyone. I recently purchased a bunch of parts for my toilet at Home Depot. Perhaps there is a little bit of pride involved. I can show my wife that I am man enough to fix a small plumbing repair and save a house call. But based on the time and money I spent on this simple project, I am not throwing away my plumbers business card yet.
(2) I believe in giving value. When you give and give, the universe retaliates. I believe you receive more in return.
(3) I hope that you will respect the true professionals in the real estate industry after your effort. We tend to paint an industry with a broad brush when someone has a negative experience. I have met many property owners who choose to stay away from real estate agents because “all” of “them” must be not trustworthy based on a past experience.
(4) Home Depot and Lowe’s have not put builders out of business. For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) and smart phone apps will not do away with professional real estate agents. (They will affect our business, but that is another story)
Let’s get started. Take some notes. I like bullet points.
The most impressive For Sale By Owner I met lately did many of the following:
1.) Study the market to understand value. Ask Realtors and perhaps pay for an appraisal. Take a look at houses you are competing against. Find out how many homes like yours sell each month and how many are on the market. Months of inventory is important.
2.) Pay for a home inspection. Your buyer will get one anyway. Know your issues up front. I made $10,000 as an investor from a botched for sale by owner transaction over an inspection issue that blew up a sale.
3.) Fill out a disclosure about all that is wrong with the property. (In Tennessee it is a state law)
4.) Place good simple signage on property with clear numbers. (You would be surprised at what is really out there),
5.) Advertise. Zillow “make me move” is the most effective at the moment. Zillow is the most downloaded app for buyers driving around. Craigslist. Next best thing: put flyers in a box outside and keep it stocked daily.
6.) Set a deadline to break down and pay for a Flat Fee Listing Service. This accomplishes a contractual agreement with other agents that you will agree to pay them if they bring a buyer, and grants you more internet exposure through Multiple Listing Service and Realtor.com.
7.) Hold Open Houses. Wait for real estate agents who are holding an Open House down the road and put out signs that direct traffic to your house with helium balloons. The people who come to your Open House may not purchase but someone who looked at the house last week may take action because of your activity and “fear of loss”.
8.) Put a combination lockbox on your house. They are about $35.00 at Lowes. Allow “known” real estate agents to show your house without you being there. Turn on all the lights inside before you leave.
9.) Stage well. Clean, clean, clean some more. Remove clutter and take away personal pictures. (Huge Tip: Buyers need to be able to “imagine” themselves living there. Not being reminded that you are there….) which leads me to
10.) Be quiet… listen. If you must be present for a showing realize the goal is for the buyer to emotionally see themselves living there. Their reasons for choosing this house may be very different from yours. Explaining “why” you painted the spare bedroom pink will not help the buyer. Real estate agents ask the sellers to leave during showings. Do not leave your home if you do not know the buyer. Security is a real issue when dealing with the public. Oh, almost forgot… buyers may tell you one thing and do another… “they do not want to hurt your feelings” (especially in the South)
11.) Find out your local closing practice by talking with a title attorney. Some states require an attorney be present. Your best protection is to have the buyer place earnest money with the title agency’s escrow account. Have the closing agent or attorney draft a proposed HUD-1 closing statement. This way you will know your fees to close.
12.) Have an attorney review any agreement you make.
You can sell your house yourself. These 12 tips are a decent start on how to do that. Let me know of your successes and things I should add to the list. Godspeed!