How to Sell Your House Without a Realtor

You’re ready to sell your home and to put it on the market, and you’ve decided to go it alone.

Without the support of a licensed real estate agent to help you navigate your way through the process, you’ll need to tackle a number of complex and labor intensive tasks including, but by no means limited to the following: determine what you home is currently worth, an understanding of current market trends including what buyers are looking for in homes in your area and price point (finishes, amenities, design and décor), have an understanding of marketing and how and where buyers search for homes (and more importantly how they find the home they ultimately purchase), that you have a thorough understanding of what to expect and what’s required of you as a seller while trying to sell your property, and finally that you be prepared to negotiate with real estate agents who do this professionally and have far more experience and data.

I’ll humbly admit that not everyone needs a qualified Realtor to sell a home and in fact 8 percent of homeowners successfully sold their own homes in 2015.

That said, before you stake that “For Sale By Owner” sign in the front yard, we offer these tips on how to sell your home without a Realtor:

1. Stage the home, hire a photographer

When you hire a Realtor, part of the service typically includes professional photography of both the interior and exterior of the house. When searching for a home, photos are the key enticing element of buyer’s initial search. When using real estate search websites, the home shoppers usually narrows the field using search criteria such as price, location, number of rooms, and lot size. Their next click action is based on photography and the primary photo (usually an exterior photo of the property’s façade) has to standout enough to encourage the user to click on the listing. The interior and additional exterior photographs need to validate the initial click through decision, and in turn motivate the user to schedule a visit. The importance of real estate photos cannot be understated and these are critical when attempting to selling a home.

A property that is For Sale by Owner “FSBO” should include top-quality photography — but only after the house is properly staged.

Whether you stage the house yourself, or hire a professional stager, de-cluttering, boxing up personal photographs and mementos, and arranging the furniture for optimum appearance will help highlight the home (as opposed to your stuff).

See Home Enhancement Guide – Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

You need to emotionally distance yourself from the house and look at it as a product and not as your home. While this can be difficult for some homeowners, as it’s where you live and where you and your family have had so many experiences. It’s what’s required in order to walk away with the best outcome from the sale.

2. Focus on web-based marketing

Selling a home in today’s market requires more than a sign in the yard and an ad in the newspaper. Obtaining the highest price for your home involves providing far-reaching exposure to a qualified audience of motivated homebuyers. This requires the combination of a solid marketing plan, targeted media exposure, and the utilization of our powerful network of in and out-of-area real estate agents. In short marketing your house to as many potential buyers as you can is a necessity.

Today’s buyers are online, in fact over 90 percent of home buyers start their search here. In today’s market, there’s no better avenue than the Internet, and this includes the real estate search portals, as well as social media. Unfortunately, many of the top real estate search portals including, only allow licensed real estate agents to post to these sites and they will not allow owners to list their home for sale here.

Today’s buyers aren’t just online, but they are mobile. A recent study reported over 56 percent of the traffic to the top four real estate search portals comes directly from mobile real estate search apps. If you’re home doesn’t appear on these mobile search applications, you’ll fail to reach over 50 percent of homebuyers!

In addition to using social media to sell your house and popular websites, you can also pay a flat fee to have your property appear on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a database of homes for sale that is operated by real estate agents and used by these agents to search for available homes for their buyer clients. Appearing on the MLS will give your property listing a much broader audience, as more than half of recent home buyers used MLS websites in their search according to the National Association of Realtors.

The cost to list your property on the MLS starts at $300, which is paid to a listing agent in lieu of any commission on the sale.

Click here for information on our For Sale By Owner Flat Fee MLS Listing Program.

3. Contact an appraiser and title company

If you’ve never been through the process of selling a home on your own, it would behoove you to establish a rapport with both an appraiser and a title company ahead of time.

The title company can’t negotiate the transaction, but they can give you a blank contract and walk you through the steps. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to talk to a bank or mortgage broker about financing, what to expect and how to pre-qualify potential buyers.

Hiring a home inspector and an appraiser before listing the property will also help manage expectations and identify any potential issues.

The best advice I could give a FSBO seller is to hire a local, licensed appraiser to determine a reasonable listing price.

4. Make sure the price is right

Not pricing the property correctly is one of the biggest FSBO mistakes. Underpricing can leave money on the table, while overpricing can leave a house sitting on the market too long which ultimately results in the home selling for far less than it could have.

Oftentimes, many owners feel their home is worth far more than the market will pay. This is often due to reasons including, emotional ties to the home which could sway an owner to feel the home is worth more than the market will allow. This could cause the home to sit on the market for a longer period of time, and that tends to raise a red flag to for buyers. When a buyer and their agent see a home has been on the market for and extended period, that is more than the current average, this is a clear indication the home is overpriced.

Hiring an appraiser and doing your research on recent property sales in your neighborhood should help to zero in on an appropriate list price.

See How to Set a List Price for Your Home

5. Hire a lawyer

A real estate transaction might seem simple in theory (person A gives money to person B for the cute gently used house), but in reality, it can be full of perils and pitfalls.

Hiring a real estate attorney to review contracts and to ensure you make the necessary disclosures will help protect you in the long run.

The lawyer should be able to vet any contract received for any potential legal problems. This does not mean the lawyer can advise you as to what is or isn’t a good offer, or to assist you in negotiating the sale of your home. The lawyer is not a real estate agent, and rather would simply be utilized to cover your exposure to any legal liabilities pertaining to the contract.

Looking to save money on the sale of your home but not interested in going the For Sale By Owner route and taking on all of the work yourself? Click here for information on how you can Save Money When You Buy and Sell Your Home With Us (You Save While We Do All The Work).

Avoid These Mistakes When Selling Your Home

Why You Need a Realtor to Accurately Price Your Home

The Services We Perform as YOUR Real Estate Listing Agent

Problems with Selling For Sale By Owner

If you, or someone you know is considering Buying or Selling a Home in Columbus, Ohio please contact The Opland Group. We offer professional real estate advice and look forward to helping you achieve your real estate goals!

The Opland Group Specializes in Real Estate Sales, Luxury Home Sales, Short Sales in; Bexley 43209 Columbus 43201 43206 43214 43215 Delaware 43015 Dublin 43016 43017 Gahanna 43219 43230 Grandview Heights 43212 Hilliard 43026 Lewis Center 43035 Marysville 43040 43041 New Albany 43054 Pickerington 43147 Powell 43065 Upper Arlington 43220 43221 Westerville 43081 43082 Worthington 43235