How To Sell Your House Without A Realtor - How To Sell Your House Yourself
When it comes time to sell your home, you may have wondered if you can sell your house without a realtor. The answer is yes you can!
Known as a “for sale by owner”, or FSBO, homeowners have the ability to market and sell their home to potential buyers. This can lead to a bunch of great benefits of the sale, including greater control over the selling process and greater profits due to avoiding the commission fees that typically drain a percentage of the closing price in exchange for the services realtors provide.
Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to sell your house by yourself.
Step #1: Preparing Your Home for Sale
The first step to sell your home is to prepare the home for sale. This includes the interior and exterior of the home, as well as the surrounding property. You’ll want to remove or store any personal property, as this can be off-putting for buyers that want to imagine the home as a blank slate.
Be sure to address any areas of your home that need to be spruced up or repaired, as these can drive down the price of your sale far beyond the actual cost to fix them. When it comes time to negotiate on the price of the home, you can present bills for these expenses or point towards recent work on their behalf.
Most realtors also advise homeowners to neutralize the interior of the house before a sale. This encompasses removing family photos and decorations, painting over non-basic colors, and addressing any parts of your home that have a bit of your family’s “personality” to them. Step #2: Advertising Your FSBO There are virtually no limits on how and where you can sell your home. While realtors have built-in networks of potential customers and MLS (multiple listing services), homeowners that choose the FSBO route need to be creative and diligent about selling their property.
Some of the most common methods of advertising your home include:
- Placing a “For Sale” on your home and around your neighborhood
- Word of mouth
- Real estate listing websites, such as Zillow.com
- Social media (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
- Creating your own website
- Mailers to potential buyers
- Newspaper ads
- Holding an open house
- And more
Feel free to advertise on multiple platforms and methods. The more exposure your home listing receives, the higher the asking price and greater the quantity of offers.
Step #3: Qualifying Buyers
After you’ve taken buyers through a walk-through of your home and received offers, it’s time to start sorting through which buyers are actually serious versus ones that are only speculative.
If you have a cash buyer, the process is simple: simply exchange the house at their bank and transfer the funds. A bank representative will ensure that this process goes smoothly, but it may take a few days for the transfer to go through depending on their policies and how much money is transferred.
If you have a buyer that is taking out a mortgage, things can become a bit more complicated. First, you’ll want to ask for a mortgage pre-approval letter, which certifies that the buyer has been vetted by their bank for a loan to cover the costs of the property.
The seller also has a distinct legal advantage in this situation over a realtor, as sellers have the right to contact the lender to determine the legitimacy of their offer.
- The down payment amount
- The loan amount from the lender
- Which loan program they’re using
- For conditional loans, you’ll can learn about the conditions the buyer must meet to secure approval for the loan
If you discover any discrepancies, it may be time to look at other offers. An illegitimate sale can be a massive waste of time and may lead to you contacting other buyers - who may want to modify their offer if they believe that you couldn’t get the highest price.
Step #4: Negotiating the Final Closing Cost
Once you’ve qualified the loan, the final round of negotiations takes place. Often, a buyer will cite aspects of your home/property that need to be repaired for a legal sale (unless specifically outlined in the contract). Very often, buyers will choose between a reduction of the asking price or ask for concessions. Concessions usually encompass work that needs to be performed on the home (ex. Repairing the concrete walkways, encapsulating exposed asbestos), but can also include other forms of property (i.e. a boat in the backyard, portable structures on the property).
Because of the complexity and high stakes of the final negotiations, you should work with a real estate attorney to ensure that both sides of the transaction are satisfied. Working with a real estate attorney isn’t necessary for most transfers of your home’s deed, but with the potential for complications, it is strongly advised that a 3rd-party can make sure the sale goes smoothly - both before AND after the sale.