Q: Last week, a reader asked about selling her home herself. I suggested she line up a real estate attorney in advance, and gave her several tips about pricing her home appropriately. Here are some more suggestions for selling your home yourself.
Get your home ready for sale. Examine your home with a critical eye. Remove clutter and extra furniture, clean carpets, drapes, wash windows, get rid of odors, clean, clean, clean. Spruce up entryways, bathrooms and kitchens with a fresh coat of paint. Your home needs to be as beautiful and inviting as possible. Hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your home. Most buyers start their home search online so you need to lure them in with sharp, well-lit and staged photos that show your home in its best light.
Advertise and market your home in multiple channels. Put a “for sale by owner” sign in the front yard. Use all of your contacts and social network sites to get the word out about your home. Other websites to consider listing your home (for a fee) are FSBO.com andForSaleByOwner.com. Your listing should include photos and a detailed description of your home, including price, location and recent major improvements such as a new roof or furnace.
Screen potential buyers. Make sure they are pre-approved by a reputable lender. Have a plan for negotiating, and a bottom number you are willing to accept. Bring your already identified lawyer into the negotiations and have him/her review any contract. Remember, the contract is binding on both parties, and both parties have obligations to perform certain tasks. Make sure you adhere to your side of the bargain and the buyer his/her side. Get an “earnest money” deposit (at least $1,000) and have it held in your attorney’s escrow account.
The home inspector will likely find problems. Have a plan in place for how to handle any issues that arise from the home inspection.
Selling your home yourself will be time consuming and often frustrating. But if you are prepared, motivated and patient, you can reach the closing table and save yourself several thousand dollars.
Linda Goodspeed is a longtime real estate writer and author of “In and Out of Darkness.” Email her at [email protected]