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It’s that time of year when selling a home comes to fruition for many people. School is out and it’s time to put the Home For Sale sign out front.
Wait a minute…not so fast.
Make sure that you’re really ready to sell your home by reviewing the tips below first.
There Are 3 Ways To Sell Your Home:
- Do it all yourself (otherwise known as For Sale By Owner or FSBO) and save a lot of money.
- Employ the enhanced marketing capabilities that flat-rate or discount brokers offer and save a decent sum of money.
- List your home with an experienced real estate agent, negotiate the lowest commission rate that you can, sell your house, and take it like a man (or woman).
We’ll talk about each of these at length below…
#1 – How To Sell Your House Yourself
If you’re thinking of selling your home yourself — because the amount of money that you’ll save is just too tempting to resist — then you’ll have to work really hard at these 3 things:
Get your home ready to sell. I probably don’t need to tell you that you will need to make sure that your home is in great shape. You might even want to consider hiring a home inspector to come out and preview your home to point out any potential deal-breakers. If you find yourself overwhelmed with repair projects once the inspector has left, you can pick and choose the worst of the bunch and consider reducing the price of your home — in the way of an allowance during the closing process.
See what your house is really worth. Consider getting two or three comparable market analysis (CMA’s) from agents in your area to help you set your price. It shouldn’t take them long to accomplish this task and could well be worth their time — since many people who originally want to sell their home themselves actually end up hiring an agent.
- Here’s a handy little tool to get an estimate on your home value from Zillow.
- On Zillow, you can also see a birds-eye view of your home, estimated value of your home, and details on your home. Just type in your street name and zip code. If available, an image of your home appears.
Research the local home buying market. You really need to see what’s going on in your area. Are you in a great neighborhood where homes typically sell fast or are you in the unfortunate position of living in an area where nice, well-kept homes sit for months waiting to sell? If the homes in your area have trouble finding buyers then you are more likely to require the marketing capabilities and expertise of a real estate agent with experience.
Still interested in being your own agent?
Okay, then just be prepared to spend a lot of time taking care of the following business:
- Set your asking price.
- Show your home to all prospects — well, maybe not all but consider only showing to buyers that are pre-qualified.
- Market your home.
- Negotiate your deal.
- Set up an escrow account.
- Order a payoff on your mortgage.
- Figure out what disclosures are required by law (all jurisdictions).
That last one requires a little extra attention — because proper disclosure is extremely important.
Those selling their own homes sometimes find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit due to lack of disclosure or improper disclosure regarding their home.
It’s recommended that you do these 2 things to avoid a sticky situation:
Employ the skills of a real estate attorney to review your contract.
- Here’s a link to websites for professional real estate and legal organizations.
Find out what is required in your state regarding disclosure.
- You can look them up on your state’s official governing website in the real estate section. For example, here are the disclosure obligations for those selling a home in Georgia.
- Here is a helpful link to real estate laws by state. I highly recommend that you take the time to read up on the rules in your state.
And finally, you might want to consider putting the phrase “Will work with agents” on your For Sale sign — so agents won’t shy away from your property because there’s nothing in it for them. (3% sales commission is customary when agents deal with FSBO’s).
#2 – How To Sell Your Home Through A Discount Broker
Think you might need a little boost to get the word out that you’re ready to sell your home?
Discount brokers provide you with marketing options that are otherwise unavailable to FSBO’s!
- They sometimes have established websites and will come out to your home, take photos, and talk to you about your house — so that they fully understand the features of your home before they list them all on their website, where you’ll get more exposure.
- Some discount brokers may also print their own publications or share listings with other brokers in real estate publications in your area.
- Most discount brokers will get your house listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), offer virtual tours of your home on their website, and run ads in local newspapers.
Discount brokers usually offer a flat-rate fee and/or 1% to 3% commission — depending on the degree of services you choose. (Read the fine print carefully!)
There are many discount brokers to choose from. Here are just a few:
#3 – How To Find A Full Service Real Estate Agent To Sell Your Home
Typically, finding an agent to sell your home shouldn’t be very difficult at all — because there are real estate agencies located on every other block in most U.S. cities.
Just remember to negotiate the agent’s commission before you sign with them!
Commission rates vary and any agent who claims otherwise should be marked off your list of prospective agents to deal with.
Their commission percentage will vary — depending on whether your particular area is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market:
- In a buyer’s market, the typical commission is usually 5% to 7%.
- In a seller’s market you should expect to be able to negotiate down to a 4% to 6% commission rate.
It’s recommended that you choose an agent that knows the homes in your area and is successful in selling them in a timely manner.
Be sure to ask about some of the homes they’ve sold recently — to get an idea of how quickly they sell and the methods they use to attract homebuyers.
You should also check to see that the agent is licensed in your state and if there have been any complaints issued against them by simply typing in your agent’s name or real estate license number.
More Tips For Selling Your Home
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you sell your home:
- 13 Things To Do Before You Sell Your House
- Real Estate Regulatory Agencies By State
- Get Your House Ready To Show
- 10 Important Steps To Take Before You Sell Your House
- What’s Involved With Selling A Home?
- Tips For Selling Your Home
- 10 Ways To Sell Your Home Faster
- Staged Homes Will Stage Your Home For You
I started as a home-stalker… visiting brand new homes under construction in the neighborhoods near my house. That inspired me to write about home building and home renovation projects — chronicling homes during different phases of construction from a consumer's point-of-view. Basically, the tips you'll find in my articles are a collection of checklists for what I think should (and should not) go into building or remodeling a quality home.