How to sell without an agent
The decision to sell one’s home is one of the bigger financial and personal decisions a person can make. The decision of HOW to sell carries tremendous gravity and too few sellers really consider their options here. With the strong real estate markets of late more and more sellers choose to take the road less traveled and list their homes by-owner. This decision can, depending on market, save a seller up to 6% agent commissions split between buyer’s and seller’s agent. Needless to say, this can be a substantial savings; a savings that can be leveraged to increase a seller’s next down payment, repairs on the new home, pay off extraneous debts, and much more.
In the bullet points below we will discuss the fundamental steps to selling your home without an agent. For a more complete guide please see our home seller’s checklist.
Set your price:
Whether you are selling with or without an agent, the first step any seller should take is to determine the price for which he or she is willing to sell. Setting the appropriate price can be daunting, but there are many online resources that can help you do this with some confidence. Be sure to check out other listings in your area. Pay close attention to price per square foot, number of beds and baths, quality of finishings, build year, and other valuable features such as view, neighborhood, pool, etc. Use these factors to determine where you wish to set your price. If you want to check your work against our Automated Valuation Model (AVM) you can see where we assess your home here. Use caution not to set too high or low. Both errors can backfire as setting too high can result in a home sitting on the market too long and requiring price reductions beyond the fair market value. Setting too low and anticipating a multiple offer scenario can work in your favor but success depends greatly on market and the number of offers you attract.
Prepare Your Home for Listing:
You need to make the home open house ready. Clear out clutter, unused or out of season clothes and shoes, bulky pieces of furniture, and valuable and personal items including photos, collectables, and art. People who see your listing and tour your home need to imagine themselves living there. This becomes more likely the larger and less-personal to you the home feels. After the home is prepped and thoroughly cleaned take your marketing photos. It is usually beneficial to have photos professionally taken by a real estate photographer. These can run anywhere from around $200 upward.
Create Your Listing:
Once you set your price you need to get your home out there. How do you get your house on Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Realtor, Xome, and more industry leading real estate websites? You can achieve these goals by listing on the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service). The MLS is usually the first stop for agents representing buyers, so being listed here greatly increases your exposure. We can help you with this task here.
Market Your House:
Create a flier and procure a yard sign. You’ve got agents and online searchers covered. Now capture the attention of the neighborhood drivers and passive house seekers.
Host and Open House:
Now that your home is clean and property advertised on and offline to agents and unrepresented buyers alike, it’s time to schedule and host an open house. Advertise the date of your open house on your yard sign and in your online listing. The day of the open house ensure your valuables are secured, the home is spotless, and guests feel welcome. Be sure to greet people as they enter and present them with your flier and contact information. Tell them when you are reviewing offers and tell them to show themselves around. Be ready to answer questions and be sure not to hover. It is wise to repeat the open house procedure until you have offers in hand.
Review and Accept Offers:
Now that you have offers in hand it is time to review. Watch for contingencies, cash offers, and the overall qualifications of the potential buyers. At this point it may be wise to secure legal representation to ensure you are operating within the local laws and are adequately protected. A simple online search for residential real estate lawyers in your city or town will yield a selection.
Close the Deal:
Once you’ve chosen an offer and communicated a counter or acceptance to the buyers it is time to close on the house. Select a title and escrow company to fulfill the safe and legal transfer of the property title to the new owners. There are many nationwide partners for this service and you should pick one with whom you are comfortable. Some of the larger players are Fidelity National Title, Stewart Title, and First American Title.
Did this sound like a lot of work?
It is, but the savings you will reap will make you feel whole many times over. To help you further please download our by-owner selling checklist. If you are interested in the assistance of a full-service, local real estate agent at no cost or commissions to you please visit our Super Seller page to learn more.