A Complete Guide to Listing Your House for Sale
by Homepie | Published May 31, 2022 |5 Minutes
While choosing to sell your home yourself to save money can be appealing, it isn’t always a straightforward or easy task to take on. Knowing what to expect, and taking the right steps when listing your home, are key factors in navigating the world of the housing market. If you are wondering “How do I sell my own house?”, we have a complete guide to help you get from start to finish.
How It All Works
First, you need to understand how FSBO (for sale by owner) works. This is a strategy that means the homeowner is selling their home without the help of a real estate agent. Real estate agents take the process from start to finish. When you sell your own home, you will be the one doing this, so you need to know what the real estate agent knows.
Doing Research and Setting an Appealing Price
One mistake that is often made when selling your own home is getting the price wrong, by either making it too high or too low. Of course, as a seller, you want to get top dollar for your home. However, over-pricing, can lead to it being on the market longer and costing you money. You need to choose a reasonable price.
To set the right price, you need to do some research. For a start, check your home’s estimated value. Next, find out when the peak selling times are for your area. Normally, the start of May is the start of the peak selling season for many areas.
Another thing that real estate agents do is to run a comparative market analysis report to see what homes are selling for in your neighborhood, as well as what your type of home sells for. You can do this using public records, checking the “recently sold” sections of housing market websites, or using one of our many tools on Homepie.
Make sure that you are looking at homes that are as close to your area as possible, that have sold within the past few months, and that are similar in comparison to your home. Look at the actual sold price and not just the asking price.
Getting Your Home “Sale Ready”
Real estate agents will do a walk-through of the home and point out things that should be fixed, along with ideas on how to present the home. Here is a simple list of things that you need to do to get the home ready for listing:
- Do a thorough deep clean of the carpets, tiles, windows, and dust every nook and cranny
- Get rid of clutter, such as personal items, knick-knacks, and extra furniture. You can rent out some storage space to store the excess things for now. The less clutter, the more potential buyers can envision themselves, and their things, living in your home.
- Staging is important. You can hire a professional or do this yourself. The goal is to make each room look organized, spacious, and decorated nicely. Giving the walls a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint is also advisable.
- Try to keep pets and their belongings out of the home or out of the way during showings.
- Make use of lighting. Each room should have ample lighting. Keep curtains open to allow natural light to come in. Add a lamp or two if needed, and make sure all light bulbs have been replaced. You can also use mirrors that help bounce the light around the room.
- Make sure you have taken care of any needed repairs, including cosmetic problems.
- Curb appeal counts. The exterior area is the first thing people will see when looking at your home. Be sure the exterior of the home is clean, uncluttered, and homey. Give the exterior a fresh coat of paint and add some potted plants along the walkways. Also, make sure walkways are well lit for those evening showings.
Invest in Some Advertising and Marketing
When you list your home, you need to be sure that your listing gets the attention of buyers. It’s a competitive market and you need to stand out. That’s where Homepie and our services come in. We have the tools needed to help not only make the most of your listing but also get it in front of more buyers.
Have a professional photographer take pictures of the home. Create a listing that is engaging and comprehensive. List specific features and use the keywords that buyers will use to look for homes. Here are the things that you should include:
- The basics – number of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage
- Best features of your home, such as an open floor plan, hardwood floors, quartz countertops
- Features of your neighborhood, such as close to schools, parks, and transportation
Have a professional for sale sign installed to let people know that you are selling. You can use social media as well, such as Facebook, and neighborhood community sites. Word of mouth goes a long way as well, so tell your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors to spread the word.
One thing that you should really consider is listing on the MLS. MLS listings are syndicated to all the main home selling websites, such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Redfin and 100+ sites. These days buyers are finding their own homes and contacting an agent to arrange the showing. You must be an agent to enter homes on the MLS. Homepie provides this exposure by offering a range of options for access to the MLS.
Act Like a Professional
There can be a bit of a taboo for real estate agents dealing with FSBO listings because they think owners selling their own homes won’t have the know-how, therefore making their work double. Here are the things you should do:
- Be flexible when it comes to showing the home
- Listen to feedback from buyers and their agents and don’t take any criticism personally
- Don’t let your home sit for too long. If it’s been a few weeks, you may want to consider lowering the price
- Have open houses to get more people in to view the home
- Utilize a Transaction Coordinator Service to help with the escrow process and legal disclosures. Real Estate Agent’s use transaction coordinators, it’s one of their best kept secrets.
Make Sure Buyers Are Qualified
For your own protection, you want to be sure that any buyers are qualified. Make sure to take down the names and contact details for agents and buyers viewing the home. It’s your home and your safety, so don’t be afraid to ask for ID and keep records of everyone who goes through the home.
Also, request that any offers being submitted must have a pre-approval letter from the buyer’s mortgage lender, or that they have proof of funds if they are buying the home for cash. If your buyer is not pre-approved, ask them to request pre-approval on Homepie.
Do I need a Real Estate Attorney?
Real estate contracts can be dicey, and you need to make sure you review them closely and have protected yourself. A real estate lawyer knows real estate laws but hiring an attorney can costs thousands, so you will have to decide if the peace of mind is worth it. In many states you can close without an attorney.
Homepie’s system is built to help people through a real estate transaction from list, to negotiation, to contract, to closing. There are times when the advice of an attorney is needed to resolve a dispute or to guide a seller through a legal issue, but almost all of Homepie’s real estate closings happen without an attorney when the sale is in a state that does not require one.
Homepie’s system is built to give you all the information and technological tools, including all digital legal paperwork needed, to successfully navigate the process with the ultimate level of confidence.
Homepie has an offer and negotiation tool that makes it simple to negotiate all terms with your buyer. Once these basic but significant terms are agreed to, a Purchase Contract is generated. This is not to say you won’t need a lawyer at some point, but it’s very common for sellers on Homepie to make it through without and save the cost.
As an added layer of peace of mind, Homepie also has a Seller Protection Program that offers a Seller Errors and Omissions type insurance for those sellers who take advantage of it. This provides protection from potential disgruntled buyers after closing.
With all of the tools and resources Homepie offers to help you be your own agent, you can feel confident in navigating the sale on your own with our support.
While some of these tips can cost some money, it isn’t as much as you would be paying in commission fees. Using a service like Homepie can give you access to many things. If you are thinking “How do I sell my own house?” and want some expert help, contact Homepie today!