Tips for Selling Your Home Yourself

Money beside a house with a red roof

by Homepie | Published Nov 13, 2020

Selling your home yourself can sound both overwhelming and tempting. You get to save money you would have spent on an agent’s commission, but what if you make a mistake? What if you sell your house too low, don’t get good offers, or don’t get any offers at all?

The answer lies in research and preparation. If you take the necessary steps and fully inform yourself before diving in, then you maximize your chances of a quick and easy sale. To help you get started, here are some prime tips for selling your home For Sale by Owner.

Pricing Your Home (for Sale by Owner)

This is one of the most important aspects when it comes to listing your home. When pricing your home, you want to maximize value without making it appear unattainable. Carefully look at nearby homes, including both those that have been recently sold and those that are still on the market. Track size, condition, features, and try to get a feel for how your house stacks up to the competition. Pick a price that you feel is reasonable, then go a step further and think about how much you’re willing to wiggle when it comes time for negotiations.

If you don’t completely trust your own judgment when it comes to pricing your home, then you can hire an appraiser to come and take a look. That will likely cost you $500-$900, but when you’re talking about a scale of hundreds of thousands of dollars, that’s a difference that might easily be made up by their findings. Homes for sale by owner need every advantage they can find.

It won’t take long for you to get an idea of whether you’ve overpriced or underpriced your home. If you aren’t getting any offers at all, even after multiple showings, then your asking price may be too high.

If you’re swamped in offers, then that’s a sign you should hike the price up. A small number of serious offers means that you did well in pricing your home.

Make Your Home Shine

It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many FSBO home sellers don’t bother cleaning their home. Some people are too busy, but if that’s your excuse, then go ahead and hire someone to do the job for you. When selling your home, a couple hundred dollars in cleaning fees can pay dividends in the thousands or tens of thousands. If you don’t know exactly who to call, Homepie.com has you covered. With a network of preferred vendors, we’ve got a wide range of choices for you to choose from.

Beyond simply cleaning the dust and dirt away, you also want to make sure that your belongings are cleared away as well. We’re not saying you should make your home feel clinical and empty, but there’s a big difference between lived-in and messy. Clean off the kitchen countertops, remove your treasure trove of refrigerator magnets, cut down the shampoo in the shower to a bottle or two, and make your beds. When selling real estate by the owner, make sure you tick every checkbox that an agent would normally handle for you.

When selling your home, your ultimate objective is to make the house look like a place the buyer could live, not a place where you currently live. You want to strike a balance of making it seem comfortable, but not making it seem like it’s comfortable exclusively because of your family portraits and personal touches. The easier it is for the buyers to envision themselves in your home, the easier it will be to sell your own home.

Approach It Like a Buyer

Adding some finishing touches can go a long way when it comes to selling your home. You don’t necessarily need to paint everything, but touching up problem areas can make it seem as good as new. If possible, take a walk through your house as if you were a buyer, taking it in as a buyer would. If anything stands out in a bad way, then fixing that should be a top priority. Start from the door and work your way inward.

Some light landscaping can also go a long way as well. Make sure the grass is cut, trim any trees that are overstepping their bounds, and rake away leaves if it’s autumn. Your door may be the first part of the house they see, but the yard comes even before that. If you want your home to have the best possible impression, then you need to make sure that it looks great from first glance until the documents are signed.

Of course, no amount of aesthetic improvement is going to matter if nobody sees it. You need photos to get your hard work out there and prove to people that your home is worth seeing.

Many FSBO sellers make the mistake of taking their own photos. But hiring a professional real estate photographer can do wonders for your selling efforts. These listings typically gain more interest from prospective buyers and sell for more.

If you want to go the extra mile, then don’t be afraid of staging your home to maximize impact and the number of potential buyers.

For larger properties, you can order aerial photographs via drone to capture the size of the house and yard. Virtual reality and 3D photos are becoming more mainstream, but as of this writing, there is no evidence that these will get you any more money. If you want to make the most money possible with a home For Sale by Owner, take a pragmatic approach. Hire a photographer and make sure to choose the right cover photo for your listing.

Taking photos of kitchen

Showing Your Home Without an Agent

Once you’re done staging your home, it’s time to bring in the buyers. When selling a house by owner, exactly how the showings go will largely come down to the decisions you make. Will you give buyers privacy or escort them the whole way? Will you emphasize open house experiences or guided tours? 

In many cases, it’s best to go with whatever makes the buyer most comfortable. Be available if they have questions or want a tour, but don’t intrude too much and make them feel harassed. Most importantly of all, make sure the home looks as good in real life as it does in the pictures. It should be staged in much the same way, so don’t try to make big changes in furniture between showings, even if it feels like it would look better another way.

While you shouldn’t distrust your buyers, you should also prioritize security first. Don’t expect them to betray your trust, but also don’t give them the opportunity to do so in the first place. A smart keybox can make it easy for approved buyers to visit on their own time. When selling a house by owner, keeping your valuables locked up tight and out of sight is the best way to make sure they don’t get stolen.

For Sale by Owner Contracts

At the end of the day, for sale by owner contracts and getting it down on paper (whether literally or on a computer screen) will be what matters. This is the part of the process that makes many owners turn to real estate agents, where they will pay tens of thousands of dollars in commission to avoid work that really only takes a couple of weeks. For sale by owner contracts and for sale by owner disclosures are difficult and mistakes can be very costly, but we are thankfully in an age where technology can bridge the gap between homes for sale by the owner and homes sold by agents.

Homepie.com has a simple and easy interface that lets you fill out the necessary paperwork without stress. If you’ve prepared your taxes online, then this isn’t much more complicated than that. Furthermore, live online support is available to help you with any problems you may be having. With an all-in-one technology solution for selling your home yourself, you can sell your own home as easily as if it was a car or cabinet, online and right from the comfort of your own home.

Our online platform is designed to guide you each step of the way from one convenient location. From listing your home to negotiating and generating a digital purchase contract, then through the required for sale by owner disclosures and buyer investigations, all the way through to closing, we’ve got you covered. You can rest easy knowing that you are covered through the entire process and don’t have to pay tens of thousands in real estate agent commission just because the contracts seem scary. Homepie has your back and the best part is that it’s free.

Powerful Tools for Home Sellers

Marketing a home For Sale by Owner can be difficult, unless you’ve got all the tools you need to make it happen. Take time to determine the value of your home, make it look presentable, order photos, schedule showings, and take advantage of the free purchase contract available on homepie.com. Selling your home For Sale by Owner will require some effort, but you stand to gain massive savings – typically, tens of thousands.

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