By: Steve Gillman
You can sell your own home, but it can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. Usually I would recommend listing with an agent, but in the right market, it may make sense to save the commission and do it yourself. If you try, use the tips here to do it right, and to avoid common mistakes.
1. Understand house values. It's not what you think your house is worth, and it doesn't matter how much you put into it. The value is only what it's worth to potential buyers. See what they've paid for similar homes before you decide on a price.
2. Try to be objective. Get your most honest and open friend to walk through the house with you. He or she will see problems you didn't even know were problems.
3. Make a plan. What will your kids say to those who call? Where will you close? Will your documents be prepared by an attorney? Plan well, and it will all go smoother.
4. Start a list. What needs to be repaired, cleaned, changed, or removed? Always do the most obvious things first.
5. Prepare to sell. List questions a buyer might have, and be ready with answers. Prepare comparison sheets showing other home sales, so buyers can see the value. Make a map showing nearby stores and libraries, etc.
6. Sell the benefits, not the features. Never say "near stores." Instead, say "You can walk to the store in five minutes." Don't just say "garage." Try "No chipping ice off the windshield in the morning."
7. Put all important information in ads. Include the square feet, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, address, telephone number, and price. Leave out the price and some buyers just won't call, plus you'll waste time with others who shouldn't be calling.
8. Listen to buyers. One mistake sellers make talking to buyers is to get defensive about their home. Listen to the criticisms, and resolve them or ask how important the issue is to the buyer. In other words, try to learn a little about selling.
9. Have a clear sales agreement. Be sure it's understood by both sides. What happens, and when? What if the buyer doesn't get financing? What's included with the sale? When will the buyer take possesion? Who pays the closing fee and the transfer tax?
10. Make closing easy. Have documents ready to sign. Prepare answers to likely questions. This may be the largest financial transaction in your buyer's life, so make him comfortable.
There's more than can be covered in ten tips, of course. Use these however, and you'll be doing better than the average seller when you sell your own home.
About the author:
Steve Gillman has invested in real estate for years. To see a photo of a beautiful house he and his wife bought for $17,500, visit:
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