Who says you need a real estate agent to sell your home?
Well…they can be extremely helpful, especially when in slow or difficult housing markets. But there are lots of reasons home sellers decide to go the for-sale-by-owner, also known as FSBO, route.
For one thing: the money. Real estate agents aren’t free, after all, and if you use one to sell your home they’ll generally receive about 5-6 percent of the home’s final sale price. For a $200,000 home that would come in around $12,000.
Another reason? You’re in complete control of the process! Some sellers love being in charge of every aspect of the sale from start to finish.
If you’re thinking of taking the FSBO approach, godspeed—it can be a tough road! But luckily, there are several things you can do to make the going easier.
One of the most important tips for home sellers is to get their home orderly, de-cluttered, and spotless.
As any good real estate agent will tell you, you want potential buyers to see themselves in your home—if it’s full of family photos, kid clutter, and personal items, they won’t be able to. And that’s going to slow down your sale.
Clean your home yourself, or have it professionally cleaned
Along with decluttering, cleaning is probably the most important aspect of making your home attractive to buyers. Most want a space they can move into right away, without worrying about dust, mildew, or having to scrub grout.
Price your home right
Pricing your home too high or too low can have serious detrimental effects on your sale. Too high, and you’ll turn away potential buyers; too low, and you stand to bring in a lot less than you could have.
Getting the price in that sweet spot will require some research. You can use online tools, like HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator, but you should also do a comparative market analysis, which looks at the prices of other comparable, recently sold homes in your area. Real estate agents generally do these as part of their services, but to do a very basic version of this yourself, visit a site like Zillow and search for “Recently Sold” homes that are close to your address.
Fill in information including the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, and hit “Search.” Then you’ll be able to see the homes on a map that fit those criteria, along with their selling price.
Go all-in on curb appeal
While you don’t have to repaint the entire exterior of your house, you should absolutely touch up any areas that look dingy or faded. Mow and edge your lawn, plant a few flowers, and line your front walk with small solar lanterns—small touches like these offer an excellent ROI and take relatively little investment.
Get a sign
When you don’t have an agent advertising for you, you need all the help you can get. Adding a “For Sale” sign to your yard is critical.
Ask for potential buyers’ contact information at showings
When you begin getting interested buyers, make sure you ask for their contact information so you can touch base with them later on if you make updates or repairs to the home or lower the price.
Advertise it online
The vast majority of buyers today search for homes online before contacting an agent. Get your home on all the major listing sites, and post it on social media, too.
Videos and virtual tours can add a 100-120 percent increase in views to a home listing, according to one of HomeLight’s top-selling agents. Not only do potential buyers want videos these days, but adding more media to a listing can push it to the top of the search results, automatically attracting more attention.
Know when it’s time to hire a real estate agent
For sale by owner isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. If you’re not getting offers in the range you want, or not seeing many interested buyers, it may be time to hire a real estate agent.
By finding one whom you trust and who has a great selling record, you stand to save yourself lots of hassle, time, and, potentially, money—even accounting for the agent’s commission.