Thinking about selling your home? Spring is the time to get a jump on it!
But if you’re like many homeowners, you’re not looking forward to the costs of selling your home. It used to be that For Sale By Owner was a scary, complicated process. But with the tools available online today, selling your own home is easier – and faster – than ever. Millennials are the most likely demographic to both sell and buy FSBO homes, according to Steve Udelson, president of Owners.com, a website for FSBO buyers and sellers. But other generations are also using the online tools to sell their homes without a Realtor or to buy FSBO homes.
Going FSBO is a little scary. There’s a lot that goes into listing, showing and selling a home. However, today’s online tools are great for expediting and easing this process. And there are plenty of benefits to selling your home on your own. The main benefit of selling on your own is saving money. Even if you decide to use an online multiple listing service, which comes with a small upfront fee, you’ll still save much more than if you had worked with a Realtor. For instance, Udelson says the average Owners.com seller saves $9,500 in selling costs.
How to Prep Your Home for Sale
Getting your home ready for sale is essential, of course. So spend the spring brushing up your home and landscaping to get sale-ready. This may mean painting over bright walls with beige, which lets potential buyers put themselves into your space rather than just see your tastes. It could also mean trimming the tree in the front yard, or planting some pretty annuals by the mailbox.Once you’ve done the basics for maintenance and decor, it’s time to think about selling your home on your own. And this means you need to worry about things you wouldn’t have to with a real estate agent: listing and marketing your home. Here are some steps you need to take:
1. Market pricing
One option is to hire a professional to give you an appraisal on the home. However, that can be an unnecessary expense. You can do some research on your own by going online to the sites you’ll use to list your home. See what other homes with similar square footage, rooms and features are going for in your area. Then, list your home competitively, but leave some wiggle room for negotiation in the process.
2. Good pictures
These days, most homebuyers are going to shop online . They’ll narrow down the list by browsing online listings before ever stepping foot into a home. This is why you need eye-catching photos. “Think of your listing as your open house,” Udelson says, “Take great photos with a high-quality camera, and post a lot of them.” You best bet is to use a high-definition camera and natural lighting. Figure out the time of day when your home looks best, or shoot rooms at different times of the day. Open the curtains wide, and get as much natural light in as possible. This will make your photos look more natural-looking, and make your home look more appealing.
3. A detailed listing
When you’re writing your listing, be sure to include lots of detail. The pictures will help, but they won’t stand alone, especially if potential buyers are looking for specific features in a home. Not sure what to write? Check out other listings that attract you. What do you like about those listings? What stands out most about the home? If you’re still stymied because you’re not comfortable with writing, find a friend who can write the listing for you. Or hire someone for a few bucks from a site like Fiverr, where you can find a semi-professional writer to do a great job for $5.
4. Be available
Once your listing is up, potential buyers will likely come to you. Are you ready? Udelson says being available in multiple ways is essential for good marketing. In other words, potential buyers should be able to reach you by email, phone or in person. Some prospects will email first and won’t want to meet in person until later. That’s OK. Your goal is to engage prospective buyers in conversation, and try to get them to look at the home in person eventually. Also, be sure to welcome calls and interest from agents. “Just because you elect to sell without an agent,” Udelson says, “doesn’t mean that the buyer should be expected to go without.” On this note, be prepared to work with a potential buyer on arrangements for showing the home. If the buyer is coming with an agent, you can most likely leave the home, allowing the agent to take his client through. But if you’re showing directly to a buyer, you’ll need to be there to highlight the best points of your home, and answer any questions the prospect might have.
5. Get ready for closing
Before you even start marketing your home, it’s important to know what you’ll need for closing. This can be a complex process with lots of paperwork. You’ll need to stay on top of the paperwork, and make sure your buyer is on top of things, especially if the buyer doesn’t have an agent. Closing is one good reason to use a FSBO sellers website, since many of these sites have helpful information to walk you through the closing process. Selling your home on your own isn’t easy. There’s a reason Realtors have full-time jobs, after all! However, if you have the time and effort to put in, and you want to save money, there’s never been a better time to go DIY when it comes to selling your home.