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Selling Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent

Selling Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent

Selling Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent

Considering the sheer number of steps required to sell a home, it’s no wonder most people wouldn’t even consider trying without the help of a professional realtor. You don’t just have to create a listing – you need to know where to publish it. You can only make one first impression so that listing needs to be as close to perfect as possible. Negotiations with buyers, the complexities of a transaction, closing costs – you name it, and people start to stress and turn to the experts for help. But while selling your home without a realtor may seem daunting for some, it’s absolutely doable.

People accomplish this daily, saving a significant amount of money (think: possibly tens of thousands of dollars) in the process. Selling your home without a realtor also gives you a great deal of control that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

The “For Sale By Owner” Road Map: What You Need to Know

Also commonly referred to as “FSBO” for short, going the “for sale by owner” route means exactly what it sounds like – you’re selling your home directly to a buyer without a real estate agent intermediary.

The most obvious advantage is keeping all the money you would have paid for a commission. You also enjoy a much more flexible schedule – everything from showings to how urgently you’re trying to sell operates on your schedule, not any else’s. The disadvantage of this approach is that you have to take care of everything yourself. This includes effective marketing (and its expenses), negotiations, all legal aspects, and more.

You’ll also want to ensure you’re pricing your home competitively to stand out in a crowded marketplace. When you’re using a real estate agent, they’ll use their experience and insight to tell you what they think your house can sell for. Here, you’re on your own. If you choose to overprice the house, and thus it sits on the market indefinitely, there’s nobody to stop that but you. You’ll also have to conduct necessary repairs and staging and ensure you take high-quality photos of all those listing sites.

Note that “for sale by owner” will also require you to learn the ins and outs of different marketing channels. At a bare minimum, you’ll want to use an MLS (multiple listing network) to get the word out about your property. Flat fee services are available, and you’ll want to take advantage of that. You’ll also want to experiment with online platforms like Redfin and Zillow and social media promotions. Even yard signs and open houses can be incredibly effective if executed properly.

Note that you may also want to experiment with alternative routes, like wholesale real estate. This is literally what wholesalers do. You, as a seller, find a wholesaler who thinks they can turn a profit for themselves on your home. They, in turn, go out and find a buyer. You get to sell your house, the wholesaler makes a profit, and the buyer gets a new home. Everyone wins, and things are far easier for you than they would be.

The Art of Negotiations

Next, you’ll want to move on to mastering the negotiation process. To start, you’ll want to craft offers that are as compelling as possible. Focus on writing clear descriptions and be honest about the home you’re selling, but also emphasize any quality that makes it appeal. Highlight unique features that make it really stand out. You’ll also want to use open language to give yourself a bit of leeway when it does come time to negotiate.

Speaking of that, dealing with buyers is also a concept you’ll need to get comfortable with. Buyers will have many questions – you need answers that make sense. Be professional when conducting showings, and if you need a staging company to come in and ensure things are presentable, don’t be afraid to do so.

You must also acknowledge that a transaction likely won’t just come down to “you put a price on your house, someone accepts.” Prospective buyers will make offers, which you’ll likely have to counter. They may request contingencies that you need to be comfortable with. Don’t let any of this catch you off guard.

Closing the Deal

Once you find a buyer and get an offer you’re willing to accept, prospective buyers may want a third party to inspect the property. Remember, they can back out at any time. Here, you’ll be notified of any potential repairs that need to be made. You can either make them yourself or reduce the price of the home a bit to allow the buyer to take care of it.

Once all inspections are completed, you must have a contract outlining the deal. When drafting a sales contract, ensure that you are adequately covered and the contract is clear. Many FSBO platforms offer template contracts, but hiring an attorney for this part of the process is usually a good idea. Selling a home is incredibly complex, and sellers must ensure they have legally sound documentation to protect their interests.

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When you move on to preparing final paperwork, you’ll need a myriad of documents. In addition to the title (which proves you’re allowed to sell the house in the first place), you’ll also need to provide property tax statements, loan documents on your first survey, plans, and permits for any work that you’ve done on your home, and more. You’ll also want to ensure you have documents outlining your current homeowner’s insurance policy. Work with a local title company on this part of the process to ensure all the proper documentation is in place.

At that point, you’ll have sold your home on your own – a major accomplishment, to be sure. Now is the time for celebration. Not everyone can sell their home independently, but you made it work.

Ultimately, selling your home without a realtor isn’t necessarily for everyone. When you begin to think about the time and effort involved in listing a property and finding a potential buyer, some people consider the investment of a relator to be more than worth it. However, some want a level of control over the transaction that a relator will never give them. Some want to save as much money as possible during the transaction. Maybe you’re even the type of person who likes a good challenge.

For whatever reason, selling your home without a real estate agent can be done. As the points above outline, it’s much more straightforward than you may think.


Featured image provided by David McBee; Pexels; Thanks!

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