Opting for a “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) approach to sell your house and avoid paying a listing agent commission may seem financially appealing, but it’s important to recognize that the process is not as simple as it may appear. If you’re considering selling your own house, it’s crucial to prepare yourself for the challenging and unpredictable journey that lies ahead.
According to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2019, only 11% of sellers who sold their homes in the last year managed to complete the sale without involving a real estate agent. Another 10% initially attempted to sell on their own but eventually sought assistance from an agent.
Interestingly, a higher percentage of millennial sellers and those in urban areas, who tend to be younger in age, make the attempt to sell on their own or succeed in doing so. Approximately 36% of millennial sellers and 34% of urban sellers either attempt to sell independently or achieve success in the process.
To increase your chances of achieving a successful sale, it’s crucial to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the real estate market like a seasoned professional.
The Key Takeaways
Understand the Process
The process of selling a home can be anxiety ridden and frustrating to say the least. There’s a reason most people only move once every 10 year statistically. The process of selling a home isn’t overall complicated – there are essentially 5 major components of the sale to understand – getting the property market ready, advertising and marketing, showings, fielding offers & executing contracts, and the title/closing process. We have broken down most of theses stages in separate blog articles for you.
CMA & Pricing Strategy
Its true FSBOs tend to overprice their homes in general, however by taking a sober look at the current local market and conducting a CMA (comparative market analysis) you can avoid the first vital pitfall of the sales process. Build your own CMA by visiting (IN PERSON) homes in your area. True comps are of the same bed and bath count, within 10-15% overall square footage, and have similar finishes. Find out more about how we price our listings here.
Stage & Declutter
The day your home goes to the market it should look the best it ever has. So good that you will question why you are selling in the first place. You need to create the best experience possible for the buyer when touring your home. This means being ruthless in your ability to declutter and remove excess furniture and nick nacks. From there you need to have an honest conversation with a staging professional about what furniture will show off your home’s space. Can’t afford a stager? Consult the most recent Parade of Homes magazine to see what builders in the area are doing to show off their properties.
Photography & Video
The photos of your property online are likely the first time someone will see your home. If there was ever an area for a seller or realtor to splurge during the listing of a home this would be it. And to be frank – an agent with poor listing photos is doing a massive disservice to both the seller and their legitimacy as a professional. The photos must be done by a professional – no cell phones pics no matter what! Video has emerge as a proven tactic to spark interest from different social media channels – but more importantly to rank your listing higher on third party sites such as Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia.
Marketing & Advertising
Now that you have done all the work to ready your home for sale, it’s time to let the world know about it. There is a simple equation in real estate MAXIMUM EXPOSURE = MAXIMUM PRICE. There is no way around it, if there are 100 potential buyers in the market for a home such as yours, all 101 of them need to know about it. This is the only way to guarantee you didn’t leave any money on the table. The MLS (see about listing your home FSBO on the MLS), Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Homes.com, Facebook, the list is endless. You need to be on every single website available. And once you’ve done that you need to let every friend, family member, neighbor, Facebook group, and group chat know about your home for sale. It’s quite literally all an agent does all day long – you need to as well.
Your photos are great and everyone within the continental US knows about your home for sale. And here comes your first showing request – lucky you! Easy – get out of the home! Accommodate every showing you possibly can. Make sure all lights are on, some soft music is playing in the background, and a light pleasant aroma fills the home (think fresh linen), and get out of the way. Because of the way Zillow is built for agents (see explanation) almost all inquires you get on your home will be a buyer with an agent, which means you are paying them – let them do their job and get out of the way.
Accepting an Offers
You got an offer, or hopefully offers. Now your cooking with gas! This is typically where agents earn their commissions. Are agents smarter than the average seller – absolutely not! They have just sold 100’s of more homes than they have. They have been up to bat and have seen every single pitch there is out there. They know where offers are weak and strong, where to push and where not to, and the really good ones can typically tell you upfront where the offer will end up after all the back and forth negotiations. You need to establish your goals upfront, in writing, and determine not just what you hope for, but what you will take. Negotiations are fast paced and emotional, you need to check your ego at the door and be ready to communicate quickly without emotion.
Inspection & Closing
You have negotiated and signed your offer. Congrats – take a deep breath, you’ve done the hard work. You will most likely be allowing for a property inspection by the buyers and subsequent work orders and/or monetary allowances. Don’t get overworked on this – even new construction homes have defaults that are corrected prior to closing. In fact if an inspector can’t find at least $500 worth of repairs to justify their fees I would fire them on the spot. Once you have satisfied the inspection contingency you are ready to get your file over to your title company of choice for them to conduct the paperwork and closing. Its your job to keep everyone in the loop and accountable for timelines, monies, and schedules. Remember – the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
Agents & iBuyers
Did just the summary of these steps seem overwhelming? Then save yourself the time and heartache and educate yourself on local professionals in you area that can assist you. You should interview AT LEAST 3 agents when thinking about selling – even if you know the one you will choose beforehand – its just good business. Review our – 20 questions for interviewing an agent, and hold them accountable throughout the listing process. Don’t want to deal with any of these steps listed nor an a pesky agent? iBuyers are becoming the new hottest thing! Sell your home for cash, close when you want to, and leave whatever in the home you don’t want to move. Understand more about the pros and cons of working with iBuyers here.