How To Sell Your Own Home And Put It On The Market
Ready to sell your own home? If so, you should know that there are essentially two options to sell your home:
- FSBO (“For Sale By Owner”)
- Hiring a realtor
In this article, we will take a look at both options, where they diverge, and how to get the best asking price for your home.
FSBO vs Realtor: Which is Better?
The most common way to sell a home is to contact a real estate broker and work directly with an agent in order to assess your home’s value, market it to potential buyers, and eventually close the deal. In exchange for their services, the homeowner pays a commission fee for their services.
For realtors, the average rate of commission in the United States is 6% of the closing price - a significant sum of money. For homes that sell for $300,000, this means that $18,000 is subtracted from the total. Depending on how much back taxes and mortgage the homeowner still owes to their lender, this can be a significant expense.
A real estate agent can lighten your load when it comes to advertising your property, creating media (such as virtual tours and professional photography), interacting with potential buyers, conducting an open house, providing advice for modifying your home for sale, accurately pricing the value, and facilitating the closing of the sale in a reasonable timeframe.
If you choose to sell your home with the FSBO option, you will have to do all of the work yourself. However, there are a few advantages of a FSBO. First, you get to keep all of your home’s value by not paying a commission. Next, you can control the process of selling, which may get neglected if an agent is frustrated at showing your property multiple times. Third, homeowners are allowed to inquire about a potential buyer’s loan - something realtors are not allowed to do by law.
Preparing Your Home to Sell
No matter which method you choose to sell your home, you will most likely need to prepare your home to appeal to potential buyers. Unless you’re looking for a fast sale to sell your home in an as-is condition (generally for lower asking price) or if you intend to only sell the property that the house is on, then you’ll have to take action to make it competitive and appealing.
There are generally two aspects of your home that require preparation:
- The exterior of your home
- The interior of your home
For the exterior, you’ll want to create an attractive look that shows off your home’s features. This includes a well-manicured lawn, flawless paint jobs, no missing shingles, functioning lightbulbs, and more. Whatever irks you is sure to turn off a buyer. Plus, a better-looking exterior commands a higher asking price than homes that are not.
For the interior, you’ll want to begin paring down your belongings. As a tip for the interior (as well as the exterior), be sure to neutralize the home. Neutralizing the home consists of removing any “personality” of the home so that buyers have an easier time picturing themselves living there. While you may have a personal attachment to the property, it is now time to remove as much of it as you can.
This is also the time to do any renovations to the home, particularly for damaged or aged features. The more effort that you expend on making the exterior look appealing, the more likely that a potential buyer will want to look at the interior. Putting Your Home on the Market Now that your home is ready to be sold, it’s time to put your home on the market. For those that use a realtor, the agent will take charge and do the necessary work to advertise the home. The agent will then handle this work professionally, often using an MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to reach the greatest number of customers and promoting it to their clientele.
For a FSBO, you’re on your own. Therefore, you will need to explore every avenue to attract buyers. This can include everything from word-of-mouth, using Craigslist advertisements, creating a dedicated website that shows off in detail, putting a “For Sale” sign in the yard, hosting an open house, posting on social media, and more. The more avenues you explore, the greater the pool of buyers you will have to choose from.
Bear in mind that you can also advertise your home while simultaneously using a realtor to increase the pool of potential buyers. However, you will most likely end up paying the realtor if you’ve entered a contract with them. This may seem like a needless expense, but realtors do perform uncompensated work for a long period of time and need to protect themselves from sellers that attempt to negotiate a sale after performing their job duties.