Should I sell my home myself?
It's a question thousands of homeowners ask themselves. If you're one of them, you have some difficult decisions awaiting you because selling your home can be a long and complex process. It's important to think about all the potential implications - positive and negative - before choosing to go it alone.
To help you make the decision that's right for you, below is a list of some of the duties and responsibilities you would face as an independent home seller.
PRICING YOUR HOME
Your first responsibility as an independent home Seller is assigning your home an accurate value, meaning the highest price a ready, willing and able buyer will pay.
As part of that decision, you need to consider comparable properties in your area, current market conditions, as well as the cost of financing and its availability.
Remember that your listing should be in line with comparable properties and market trends - you don't want your home to linger on the market or sell for a lower price than you might have otherwise received.
You should also remember that "For Sale by Owner" homes typically attract bargain hunters who may expect you to lower your price since they, too, are looking to save money.
MARKETING YOUR HOME
Independent home sellers must also market their properties to the public.
- Putting up signage that is consistent with local ordinances
- Developing and paying for display and classified ads in your local newspapers
- Holding open houses
- Working to ensure your home gets good word-of-mouth exposure among your friends, neighbors and community organizations.
SHOWING YOUR HOME
- As an independent home seller, you would be responsible for all showings of your home.
- With that in mind, always encourage prospects to make an appointment, and discourage drop-ins.
- Work to screen the "buyers" from the "lookers" - curiosity-seekers are common at "For Sale by Owner" homes.* You should also pre-qualify potential buyers to ensure they can afford to buy your home.
- When the time comes to negotiate, you'll need to be prepared and informed.
- Try to resolve any doubts your buyers might have, work to keep their interest high and make a final agreement as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Once an offer is made, agree on the price and terms, respond to objections and try to be responsible and flexible to legitimate concerns.
DRAWING UP THE CONTRACT
- Every independent home seller should have an attorney or another qualified individual preside over all agreements.
- That individual will draw up the contract and manage the sale proceedings and closing. He or she might also help you set the closing date and time.
- You should be sure to include a list of items you want written into the contract, including any personal property that is to remain with the home (like the refrigerator, microwave oven, dishwasher, etc.) or items excluded in the sale.
- Also remember that as the Seller, you are obligated by law to disclose any material defects in your property to the purchaser.
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