The US housing market currently has the fewest homes available for sale on record. What does that mean for you?
It’s a seller’s market. And a healthy one at that.
If you’ve been thinking of selling your home, you may be considering the benefits of selling a house without a realtor. It’s a good way to save money and ensure your home gets all the attention that it deserves during the selling process. Because who cares more about your home than you?
Whether you’re selling a home to relocate, to downsize, to offload an inheritance property or just to take advantage of the seller’s market, there are a few tips you should follow to make sure you’re going about it the right way.
In this guide, we discuss how to sell your home without a realtor and get the best price.
Reasons to Sell
Besides the fact that there are fewer homes available for purchase than people looking to buy, interest rates are currently low. That means mortgages are more available to potential buyers and you have a good chance of selling for the price you want, and quickly.
Relocating is another reason you may be considering selling. Moving for a job, for a change of scenery or to be closer to family and friends are just some of the reasons people relocate.
A divorce is an unfortunate event that can lead to the need to sell a home. In most cases, a husband and wife no longer wanted to share a single roof. When one is unable to buy the house from the other, or neither wish to keep the home, selling is the only logical alternative.
If you’ve inherited property as a result of a loved one passing, you may not have any use for a second home or desire to move into the one you’ve inherited. Selling that property can turn that inheritance into a monetary asset.
Downsizing is the new trend in real estate. More Americans are looking to downsize their homes than upgrade to larger ones.
Why Sell Your House Without a Realtor?
Forgoing the services of a realtor lets you minimize the cost of selling your home.
Real estate agents charge a percentage of the sale price for their commission. This figure is typically around 6%. When you don’t use a realtor, that 6% stays in your pocket.
Real estate agents are also not as attached to your home as you are. You can never be sure how invested they are in selling your home.
Handling the sale of many homes at a time, with commissions on the line, means that a realtor will usually focus the majority of their effort on selling the homes that will make them more money. Homes that are priced at a higher value give them the highest commissions.
Realtors will sometimes require you to fix your house before putting it up for sale. These renovations can be costly. If you sell on your own, you decide what upgrades to make (or not make).
Tips on Selling a House Without a Realtor
Below are some proven tips on how to sell a house without a realtor.
Determine an Appropriate Price
The combination of emotional attachment and little knowledge of the real estate market means that most people think their home is worth more than it actually is. That’s why you should use hard data to determine your price.
A home is valued based on square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathroom’s as well as its location. Consider these factors when setting your price and also check to see how your house compares to other homes recently sold in your neighborhood.
It’s also important not to ask for way more than you should. While you may think this gives you room for negotiating, most home buyers are aware of the value of homes they are viewing.
Alternatively, you can hire an appraiser.
Be Willing to Negotiate
When setting your price, make sure you leave room for negotiation. This is an important part of the buy/sell process that many people forget.
It’s typical for both sellers and buyers to negotiate the final price. So make sure you’re up to the task of negotiating.
People who don’t do their homework and negotiate without the right knowledge and skills can receive between 10 and 20% less than those who sell with realtors.
With that said, do your research to ensure you’re going to make the most money from your home. Try to look at your home from a financial perspective and don’t allow emotions to cloud your negotiating.
Pricing your home isn’t as simple as setting the same price as other homes in your neighborhood. You should consider what updates those homes had. New kitchens, decks, and finished basement may have allowed those homes to sell for more.
If your home doesn’t have the upgrades that other homes in your neighborhood have you can either update your home accordingly or lower your sales price.
Describe Your Home Accurately
When listing your home, photographs are important. Think about hiring a photographer to capture the best angles.
Do your research and find out what to include as well as how you can make your home sound as desirable as possible.
The basic things that you need to include in your description are price, location, age and the number of rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms. You should also mention any and all upgrades that affect your price.
Gone are the days that you just throw up a sign on your lawn and hope for the best. Especially considering that 90% of homebuyers start their search for a home on the internet.
You should be listing your home on websites. Some are free and some charge a nominal fee. Look into sites like ForSaleByOwner, Patch, and StreetEasy.
For about $400 a year, you can also list on Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This site is invaluable – it’s what real estate brokers use.
You can also list your home on places like Craigslist and Kijiji. Don’t forget to use your social networks online and offline. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool.
Prepare Your Home for Showcasing
Showcasing is an important part of selling your home. Making someone feel comfortable while they view your home will allow them to imagine themselves living there.
At the very least, you should have your home deep cleaned, carpets shampooed and linoleum scrubbed. No room or space should go untouched. Clean your garage, storage shed, basement, attic, closets, pantry, and cabinets.
In terms of decorating, keep it neutral. Potential buyers are unlikely to share your decorative tastes. They also want to feel like they’re in their new home.
To keep it as neutral as possible you should remove personal photos, remove collectibles, and repaint walls and replace carpets with neutral colors.
One thing sellers tend to overlook is curb appeal. Some people will decide whether or not they like your home just based on the outside. Ensure that your lawn is kemped, windows are cleaned, the porch is decluttered, paint is sealed and neutral, roof damage is fixed, and siding, trim, and gutters are new-looking.
Insist on Pre-Qualification
When showing your home to potential buyers, insist that they bring a pre-qualification letter with them. Usually, realtors do this but if you’re selling a house without a realtor, it’s a big thing to look out for.
Buyers without pre-qualification can waste your time. Some may even have nefarious plans for viewing your home. It’s possible that people take a walk-through to note your expensive items in order to steal them later.
Hire The Right Professionals
When selling a house without a realtor, there are still some professional you’re going to engage.
First, you’ll need a title company. These professionals will complete a real estate transaction for you and provide a title insurance policy. All they need is your social security number, date of birth, previous name and the address of your home.
Hiring a real estate lawyer isn’t necessary, but it’s a good idea. Selling a home involves large sums of money and the potential for many things to go wrong. When problems arise in a real estate transaction, people often end up in court.
A real estate lawyer can provide advice to avoid those situations. They can also provide real estate contracts or review the ones you’ve drafted.
Avoid Common Mistakes
If you’re selling a distressed home, there are three common mistakes you want to avoid.
- Ensure your buyer can purchase in cash. Distressed homes can’t be bought by anybody. If your home didn’t qualify for mortgage financing, then you need to find a cash buyer that can provide proof of funds.
- Don’t hesitate to sell. With foreclosure looming and re-possession proceedings, you need to sell your home quickly. Don’t wait for months or years to sell.
- Know your home’s value. Distressed homes are not worth what a normal home is worth. The additional cost of repairs and the need for a quick sale devalues the home’s worth. Use an appraiser to determine the right cost.
Other Alternatives to Selling Your House Without a realtor
Selling a house without a realtor can be hard work. An agent does a lot of behind-the-scenes work that you’ll have to handle on your own, including prepping your house for sale, showing your home and negotiating costs.
One quick alternative to selling your home without a realtor is to sell your home for cash.
There are a lot of companies and individuals that are willing to pay cash for a home in a market where there aren’t many homes available for sale. Selling your home for cash foregoes the need for a realtor, closes your home in less than a week and receive your payments far more quickly.
Interested in Selling Your Home?
Selling a house without a realtor is one way to save money, but not necessarily time. If you’re considering selling your home, think about the benefits of selling it for cash and contact us for more information.