Selling Your Home Without a REALTOR®. Is it Worth It?

Dated: March 4 2022

Views: 152

When it comes to listing your home, it's no surprise if selling your home without an agent has crossed your mind. Let's go over the steps you will need to take to be able to have a successful sale of your home.

Whether you’re using a Realtor to sell your home or you’re going to try it on your own, all sellers really go through the same process. So here are 5 tips - from a realtor - on what will need to take place.

Tip 1:

Look around your house with a fresh view - look through the eyes of a potential buyer. Does your front entry need to be spruced up? Does the interior need a new coat of paint? Should you update your fixtures? Give the home a nice deep cleaning, and as always, make sure you’re decluttering! The biggest part of staging for most sellers is creating a great space where a buyer can imagine themselves there by removing the stuff that we all tend to accumulate. 

When it comes to repairs and upgrades, you’ll want to do those projects that get you the most bang for your buck, with the highest return on your sales price. You want your home to meet the buyer’s expectations.

Tip 2:

You will need to price your home competitively. Even in this market, you want to have solid market and pricing data. I’ve had some folks get an appraisal, which can be helpful - but remember appraisers typically look at historical data, not the same emphasis on where the market is going. 

You can also look at large real estate platforms like Zillow and of course for information. But Utah is what’s called a non-disclosure state, which means that sold prices are not publicly disclosed - they’re only in the MLS. Some surrounding states publish sold data on the county recorder’s site, but that’s not the case in Utah.

Pricing your home appropriately is really one of the most crucial pieces to selling. If you price your home too high, buyers won’t schedule showings. If you price it too low, buyers will think there’s a problem.  I will tell you that the most common issue we find with FSBOs is underpricing - believe it or not!

Tip 3:

Marketing your home. We know that most buyers start their home buying search on the internet. It’s really important to have great photos, videos and marketing technology. Consider hiring a professional stager to give you tips to maximize your marketing photos. Virtual walkthroughs and great photos really help a buyer get a sense of what your home offers. As a FSBO, you’ll have access to some online platforms, but not the same reach as an agent who uses the MLS to syndicate listings, so presenting your property in its best light is critical to getting the most you can. 

Also think about the write-up. Do you have a new roof or furnace? Is your home by a great feature like a park or shopping? What are your favorite things about your home? Think of the marketing from a buyer’s perspective, and make sure to include enough detail in the description that the buyer will really get a sense of the home, the neighborhood, the community. (Please be sure to be aware of any Fair Housing issues! I see some descriptions sometimes that inadvertently include Fair Housing law violations.)

Tip 4:

Prepare for showings! You’ll need a good system for keeping track of inquiries from buyers as well as buyer’s agents. You’ll want to have a good way to collect the contact information to follow up and scheduling. It will be beneficial to be as flexible as possible when scheduling showings - most buyers are looking at multiple homes and have a certain amount of time allotted for each place. 

In order to avoid a mad scramble prior to each showing, it is important to keep the home clean and decluttered in the case of a last minute showing request. 

If the buyers are coming through with an agent, they’ll most likely be pre-approved with a lender, or have proof of funds if paying cash.  Please keep in mind that you are going to have strangers walking through your home - put away valuables, lock up anything that you don’t want others to see. If you are showing your home to unrepresented buyers, you should have a process in place to make sure they have the ability to purchase your home, and aren’t just coming through because they want new decorating ideas, or to spy on what their neighbor is doing. 

Tip 5:

Negotiating the sale. Negotiations are always about more than the final sales price. You and the buyer (or the buyer’s agent) will need to agree on any contract contingencies, who’s paying closing costs, contract deadlines, and more. Having an idea of what is common in your market is going to help you negotiate the best possible contract. 

Consider that if your buyer is being represented by an agent, you will likely be asked to pay the buyer’s agent’s brokerage fee. This will be a separate negotiation from the purchase contract. There is a form called the For Sale By Owner Commission Agreement and Agency Disclosure that details what the negotiated commission will be, and spells out the representation. In this scenario, the buyer will be represented, but you will not. 

Also consider that there are legal requirements for disclosures once you have a contract. You’ll need to provide the Seller Property Condition Disclosure, a Lead-based Paint disclosure if appropriate, you’ll need to open the transaction with a title company and make sure title has all the necessary documents. 

Then you’ll need to review the preliminary title report for any title issues, make sure the contract deadlines are being met, and address any issues that come up from an inspection or appraisal.

There is a lot that goes into having a successful sale of your home. While each unique home will bring its own quirks & curveballs to the mix, the general process we outlined remains the same. If you do choose to list your home on your own - Best of Luck! If you have decided otherwise, let us know how we can be a resource for you. Thanks for reading!

-Jennie Hendricks & Team

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