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May 13

How to Sell a House Without an Agent (By Owner)

Reading Time: 4 mins

When you sell your home, the ultimate goal is usually to ensure you get the highest return on investment possible. This is one of the primary reasons why many homeowners wish to forgo using a real estate agent. But putting a house up for sale by owner can be a complicated process and one that requires a thorough understanding of what’s going on. If you do it correctly, you can end up making more profit because you won’t have to pay the commission associated with a realtor. But to ensure nothing goes awry, you must prepare for success and be willing to spend money on professional photography and marketing.

 

How To Price Your House

The first and most important step is to make sure that you price your home correctly. This will probably take quite some time doing research and looking at comparable properties to make sure that you have a good idea of a realistic sales price. You don’t want to price your home too high because you’ll end up putting off potential buyers, but if you want to get the most money possible, you can’t price it too low either. You could consider paying for a professional real estate appraiser in order to get a good idea of your home value and start you out on the right foot.

 

Prepare Your Home to Sell

You want to make sure that your home is in showing condition and that it’s also clean and ready to take listing photos. You will have to list the home yourself and want your photos to look as professional as possible. Try and remove any clutter or personal items that show an emotional attachment to the home. Ensure it’s thoroughly cleaned and make sure you pay attention to things like landscaping because curb appeal makes a big difference. It’s also essential to hire a great real estate photographer to ensure you get incredible listing photos. Having the proper photos can make all the difference when it comes to drawing in a buyer.

 

Promote Your Home

This is one of the trickiest steps when you don’t have a real estate agent because you need to market your home yourself without all of the resources that a real estate agent has access to. Once you have your professional photos and you’ve done enough research to choose a sales price, you can try using ‘for sale by owner’ websites or even Facebook and social media to market your home. If you live in a high-traffic area, you can also invest in a yard sign to make sure that people see your home sale.

 

Dealing With Buyers

Once you have marketed your home successfully the calls from buyers should start rolling in. When you’re considering buyers who are putting in offers on your home, make sure that they have a mortgage pre-approval letter before you go any further. A mortgage pre-approval letter will allow you to see how much of a down payment they have as well as what sort of loan program they plan on using. If you notice that the buyer has conditional loan approval make sure you check out what kind of conditions are needed in order for them to secure a mortgage.

 

Hire Legal Help

It’s not absolutely necessary to hire an attorney when you sell your house yourself, but it is often advisable. There’s a lot of paperwork that goes into selling your home and if you don’t understand the ins and outs of what’s going on you can find yourself in financial or legal trouble. A professional real estate agent will cost you money, potentially as much as a few thousand dollars, but the guidance that you get from them could end up paying off in dividends. Most people who put their home up for sale by owner need legal help at some stage and feel much more comfortable selling when they have the representation of a lawyer.

If you go through some of the for sale by owner process and realize that it’s far too complicated or overwhelming for you to deal with, it’s never too late to hire help. Many real estate agents are hired partly through an owner trying to sell their home themselves. It’s much better to hire a Realtor than end up losing money on your home or finding yourself in legal trouble because you didn’t deal with the proceedings in the correct manner. That being said, it’s absolutely possible to sell a house yourself without the help of a real estate agent. Do your due diligence, research thoroughly, and realize that it is going to take you a considerable amount of time to make sure all your ducks are in a row. But if you’re successful you could end up benefiting from a larger profit margin from the sale.

 

The Pros and Cons of a For Sale By Owner

 

Pros

Saving on commission fees is the number one pro, and the primary driving factor behind why most people want to put their house up for sale by owner. You’ll be able to keep more profits after closing because you won’t have to pay commission fees associated with having a real estate agent. Commission can be as much as 6% of the sale price of a house, so it’s a large chunk of savings.

Many homeowners also like the idea of having more control over their selling situation. You’re not going to have to deal with an agent, and you’re also not going to have to deal with other middlemen that can sometimes make things that bit more complicated. You’ll be able to choose how you market your home, what offers you accept, and all other details without the influence of a Realtor. Ultimately, you’ll be much more intimately involved in the process because you won’t be filtering everything through a real estate agent.

 

Cons

It can be very overwhelming to put a house up for sale by owner, especially if you’re not thoroughly prepared for what to expect. You won’t have a real estate agent, so while you’re saving money you’ll also be putting in a lot more work. You’ll need to market your own home, set up appointments for viewings, filter through offers, make negotiations, and oversee the entire sale in general. You’ll also need to pay for expenses up front. If you hire an agent, they’ll cover any costs associated with photography, staging, and marketing for the home.

Although you might save money on commission, you could also get less money for your home. A real estate agent will have the advantage of understanding the market in a more detailed manner and have connections that will likely pave the way for a higher median sales price. Typically speaking, homes that have put up a sale by owner sell for less than they would if a Realtor was involved.

 

*This is not financial or investment advice. Remember to do your own research and speak to a professional advisor before parting with any money.

 

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