Each year homeowners who are selling their homes must make the decision of whether they will hire a real estate agent or sell their home privately. More and more homeowners are deciding that the benefits of selling their home without a broker makes sense. There are numerous advantages to selling one's home privately (commonly referred to as "For Sale By Owner or FSBO".
Perhaps the biggest advantage to selling a home privately is the savings you can make when you can avoid paying a sales commission to the listing agent. As you may already know, real estate agents work on a commission basis. The exact commission that an agent earns varies from one area to another; however, the average in most places is around 6%. This means that if your home sells for $300,000 then you must pay the real estate agent $18,000 when the sale of your home concludes.
Many sellers are also discovering that they like the fact that they are able to maintain complete control over the process of selling their home. When you choose to sell your home privately, you can control the frequency of showing your home. You are also able to maintain control regarding the way in which your home is presented when it is shown. If you want to light the fire in the fireplace, light candles, offer coffee or take any other action to set the right atmosphere, the choice is yours.
The fact that you, as the seller, are the sole expert regarding the topic of your home should not be overlooked either. There is really no one who is more informed regarding your home than you. As a result, you and only you can highlight the benefits and attractions of your home as well as the surrounding neighborhood to the best advantage.
Pricing Your Home Here's my motto when it comes to pricing - Don't just price to sell... price for PROFIT!
Pricing of a house is probably the most important, yet least considered aspect of selling your home as a for sale by owner - FSBO. The wrong price will cost you thousands of dollars any way you look at it!
A for sale by owner price that is "too low" will result in a "Net" that is thousands ($1,000's) less than what you could have gotten with a little research. A price that is "too high" will cause your house to sit on the market for a long time.... and possibly never sell!
Not selling means paying thousands more in mortgage payments, taxes, and insurance until you lower the price to what the market would have supported in the first place...or hire a realtor to sell it for you and pay an outrageous commission! To make matters worse, the wrong price causes your house to get "shopworn". The longer it stays on the market the more you'll be subject to really low-ball offers!
Incorrect pricing is the classic FSBO mistake! Getting the price right from day one increases your chance of a quick sale dramatically!
When it comes to the decision of whether or not to bring your furniture along with you on your move or sell it off, you need to look at a few things. If the majority of your items have little to no sentimental value, sell them off before you move. You'll save a lot of money on the moving you need to do, and make some spending money for the trip as well. You may even get enough money to pay for your entire moving trip. If the items you have are high-end furniture you may want to take them along so you will not have to pay to replace them when you get to where you're going.
If you have the time to have a proper sale for your items, you'll end up making more money than if you are pressed for time and grab at the first decent offer you receive for your things. Put ads in any free newspapers or circulars in your neighborhood to let people know about your sale. Many of these free publications have little to no rules about the size or length of an ad to be placed, so you can feel free to list every single item you have in detail if you like!
Because it's easier to sell off your belongings before you move rather than carting them along and selling them at your new location, you should plan to have a series of sales if possible to get rid of as many items as you can. If you live near a university or college make sure you place a notice in the student newspaper or at least put up a sign on whatever public service area the school has set up for student notices. You'll be surprised at how many young people are looking for quality, functional pieces of furniture that can keep up with their lifestyles. After a few of these sales your list of items will rapidly shrink until you are left with just the last few pieces (which you may just have to take along because no one including you wants them). You can always just donate them to a charitable organization before you leave. This has the double benefit of helping someone out and also lessening the items that you have to pay to a moving company to your new location.
You should remember to take along whatever tools you have though, because chances are that whenever you get to your new place, there'll be furniture and appliances that will need putting together. With your newfound freedom from the old furniture, you can actually start to think about going out and getting some new things for your new life. This will have a therapeutic effect as you begin to settle into the newness all around you and start to make your new house a home. You can always decide to furnish your home with second hand furniture for the first little while until you can save enough money to buy the newer items you're dreaming of getting for your new home.
A lot of people give up on selling their homes, or do not try to sell at all because they think you cannot sell a home in a down market. The truth is, you can sell a home in any market. There has been and always will be demand for housing. There are two critical factors that must be addressed, however, to ensure you can and will sell your home: exposure and pricing.
For the home to have adequate exposure, hundreds or thousands of potential buyers must be aware it is for sale. Just as you cannot post a 'For Sale' sign on your couch in your living room and expect to sell it, you probably will not be able to sell a home without exposing it to the marketplace. While this may evolve with new technologies that come about, in today's world, being listed on the MLS equates to market-wide exposure. The MLS database is the database of homes for sale in an area and is searched by thousands of real estate agents. The MLS also feeds property data to websites like Realtor.comÂ®, major local brokerage websites, agent websites, and other sites. This allows active buyers to locate and compare homes, with or without the help of a RealtorÂ®. Gaining this exposure can be accomplished one of two ways; first, you can list your home with a traditional agent that charges a listing commission. Secondly, you can hire a flat fee MLS listing broker that places the property into the MLS on your behalf for a flat fee, but does not charge a listing commission at closing. The second route saves money, but may require more involvement by the seller.
Once your home is on the MLS, people will know it is for sale. An equally important factor in selling the home is pricing. In a down market, you want to be the best priced home any way you slice it. Think about how you might search for your home. You might say that you want to be in a particular school district, 4 bedrooms or more, and built 2000 or newer. You want to be the least expensive home meeting this search. Try a few more searches people might try. You might put in your subdivision with a pool, at least 3 bedrooms. Are you the least expensive? You need to come up with a large group of homes where you are the cheapest alternative available. Do not be overly targeted in developing your list of competition. Do not assume that people are only searching for homes over 3500 square feet in your area and eliminating competing homes that are 3200 square feet. The more open your search criteria, the more effective this pricing technique will be.
Ask your listing broker (traditional or flat fee MLS) for some other criteria you may not be aware of. For instance, in Austin, Texas, homebuyers and RealtorsÂ® commonly search for the 8E map area. This is the portion of Westlake that is closest to downtown. In the south Scottsdale, Arizona, zip code of 85251, there is a distinct difference between certain newer estate properties and scores of older tract homes. Year built is going to be an important distinction beyond zip code. Also, do not overlook pending and sold properties. If you are the least expensive home meeting common search criteria, you are giving yourself a strong chance to sell your home.
Once your property is priced to sell, and marketed via the MLS, give buyers and RealtorsÂ® some time to see the property and decide if it is worth making an offer. However, realize that if you do not make progress towards that goal, you need to reduce the price. There is no exact time before re-assessing the price; for some homes it might be two weeks, for others two months. Regardless, reducing the price is almost always the correct thing to do if a home is listed on the MLS but not attracting offers. Do not be afraid to reduce the price a notable amount, and you may have to reduce the price more than once. Pricing and exposure will allow you to sell your home, even in a down market.