Introduction: How to Sell Your House | Full Guide to Selling Your House Yourself
One of the biggest fears that many people face is being stuck with a house that they just can’t sell.
Perhaps you bought a cheap house during college following your parent’s advice to make smart financial decisions and start to build equity.
But now that you’re done with college and ready to move on in life, you’re stuck with an investment because you have no idea how to sell your house.
Millions of people every year ask themselves, “Could I really sell my house?” Our society has come to accept that selling a house is close to impossible without the help of a professional real estate agency.
However, with the appearance of dozens of online real estate websites, you don’t have to go to university for four years to learn how to sell a house.
Image Source: How to Sell Your House
Though it is commonly accepted that the real estate market in today’s world is “bad” for sellers, there are some simple tricks of the trade that can help you sell your own house even in the most difficult markets.
In this brief article, AdvisoryHQ will look at the basics of buying and selling a house. If you’ve asked yourself, “Should I sell my house with a realtor?” we’ll give you the pros and cons of hiring a professional as compared to taking the challenge of selling your house on yourself.
If you do feel up to the challenge to sell your own house, we’ll give you the top seven tips for selling your house quickly at the price you want. Choosing to sell your house yourself doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience that you “try out” before hiring a professional.
By following these simple tips, you’ll find yourself telling others, “It was easy to sell my own house, and I could even help you sell yours.”
Should I Sell My House with a Realtor?
According to fasthomehelp.com, “approximately 93 percent of home sales involve an agent to some degree. In many cases, hiring a real estate agent is absolutely in the best interests of homeowners. In others, it isn’t.
As in all stages of home selling, it is important that you understand all of your options, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each, when it comes to hiring — or not hiring — a real estate agent.”
Just because 93% of people choose a realtor for buying and selling a house, doesn’t mean that you have to, though. Good real estate agents can make the processes of selling your house much easier and smoother. There is a lot of red tape and bureaucratic paperwork involved in selling a house, and if you are not good with filling out forms, a real estate agent can make sure that everything is in order for the buying and selling of your house.
Furthermore, real estate agents do usually have a pretty good understanding of the local market where you are planning on selling your house. If you try to sell your house yourself but don’t do your homework on the market conditions, you could end up underpricing your house and losing out on thousands of dollars.
If this is your first time learning how to sell a house, you’ll probably be surprised by how much work selling a house entails. If you simply put out a few ads in the paper and on online real estate sites, you’ll be lucky to get even a few calls.
The real estate market is highly competitive, and if you don’t put in the work to make your house visible, you’ll probably end up with a rotting “for sale” sign in front of your home.
Real estate agents generally have good connections that can generate more publicity for your house. They usually have enough experience to know how to sell a house and how to get potential buyers interested in your property.
The obvious downside of hiring a realtor is that you’ll have to pay real estate commission fees, which can be anywhere from 3% to 7% of the sale of your home. Though a good real estate agent sometimes can offset those fees by getting you a better sale price on your home, learning the tricks of how to sell your house on you own can usually save you thousands of dollars.
The Benefits of Choosing to Sell Your House Yourself
The website Homes.com says that “the median existing-home price for all housing types right now is $208,300. So an FSBO (for sale by owner) has the potential of saving $10,400-$14,500 in commissions.” Who wouldn’t want to save that much money by choosing to sell your own house?
Furthermore, if you are having trouble selling your house, then you can choose to lower the price of your home. By learning how to sell your house, you can price your home more competitively because you will be saving on the realtor’s commission. In a competitive market, a simple $5,000 difference on similar houses can make the difference. Thus, choosing to sell your house yourself can give you a competitive edge over other sellers.
Another advantage when you choose to sell your own house is that you have the most direct and comprehensive knowledge of the property. During an open house or a visit from a potential buyer, only you will be able to offer those little insights and special bits of knowledge that might be able to sway a buyer.
Lastly, when you choose to sell your house yourself, you will have complete control over the whole process. When you list with a realtor, you are forced to adapt to their schedule, and there is nothing worse than having to cancel a dinner date with your spouse because the realtor has scheduled a last-minute house showing.
The Top 7 Tips for Selling Your House
So, now you’re convinced and saying to yourself, “I can sell my house without the help of a real estate agent.” What is the next step? Below you’ll find the top seven tips for selling your house quickly, efficiently, and at the right price for both you and the buyer.
- Establish a Price for Selling Your House from the Get-Go
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when learning how to sell your house is overpricing your home from the beginning. Many people believe that it is a good idea to price high in the beginning and then gradually lower the price if it doesn’t sell. However, the first thirty days on the market is the most important time for selling your house.
Most of the serious potential buyers of your home will come through in the first month. If they consider your house to be priced prohibitively high, they will move on to other options. Though there is always the possibility of catching a somewhat ignorant buyer who doesn’t know anything about buying and selling a house and who hasn’t studied the market, it is much more likely that by pricing your house high, you’ll lose the most motivated buyers, draw out the selling process, and even perhaps have to sell for much less down the road.
If you do choose to sell your own house, it is a better bet to establish a fair price from the get-go that matches similar homes in your local market. You’ll have a better chance of convincing a motivated buyer and still come out ahead because you’ll be saving on the commission fees.
- Add Some “Curb Appeal” to Sell Your Own House Faster
First impressions make a difference, they say, and one of the most important tricks to learning how to sell your house is making it visually pleasing from the outside. Many potential buyers will drive through neighborhoods simply looking at houses with for sale signs.
An uncut lawn or window shutters with cracked paint conveys that your house is not well kept, and many buyers will cross your house off their list without ever setting a foot inside. One of the best tips for selling your house is to add some “curb appeal.” Spend a couple hundred dollars to add on a new porch or improve the landscaping in front of your house. Those simple improvements will most likely get more potential buyers inside your home and increase your odds of selling your house.
- Depersonalize Your Décor When Selling a House
People who are in search of a new house probably have an idea of what they want that house to look like. New families with small children may be looking for a new house with more rooms so that each child can have their own room. When showing your house, it is important to make the house as empty-looking as possible so that the potential buyer can imagine each room as they would like to see it.
If you are trying to sell your house yourself but still have pictures of your family on every wall, that may keep people from wanting to pull the trigger on the purchase. When selling a house, you want to give the potential buyers the freedom to imagine your den as an extra bedroom or the storage basement as a potential playroom.
- Be Flexible with Visits When You Sell Your Own House
If you want to sell your own house, you will need to get people in the door to see it. No one is going to buy a home from just looking at it from the outside. While real estate agencies generally can facilitate more open houses and house visit, quantity isn’t necessarily more important than quality.
If you sell your house yourself, you need to be flexible with the people who want to look inside. If your open house ended at 4 PM but a couple comes by at 6 PM, be flexible enough to interrupt your dinner and show them around. When discovering how to sell your house, a little bit of flexibility might pay off.
- Be Open to Negotiating Closing Costs When You Sell Your House Yourself
For many buyers, the price of the home they want to buy is the biggest challenge. Taking on 30 years of debt in a mortgage is a big decision for anyone. Furthermore, many potential buyers may be willing to take on long-term debt but not have a lot of extra cash on hand. For that reason, when you sell your house yourself, you need to be open to negotiating closing costs with the buyer.
Though it is most common for the buyer to pay the mortgage closing costs, you might offer to pay part of those costs and add on an extra couple thousand dollars to the price of the home. When buying and selling a house, there is a certain amount of freedom to change the commonly accepted rules.
One of the best tips for selling your house to cash-strapped buyers is to negotiate the closing costs so that they can keep money in their pocket while only adding a couple dollars more per month to their long-term mortgage.
- Beware of the Cost of Selling a House
If this is your first learning experience in how to sell your house, you may very well be shocked at the sheer cost of selling a house. There are a number of fees that the buyer has to pay, including notary fees, escrow fees, and even a flood study and termite letter. Furthermore, if you are planning on paying off your current mortgage from the sale of your house, you will need to ask your bank if they charge early payoff penalties on your mortgage.
The cost of selling a house can add up, so when you sell your own house, be sure to take those expenses into account in the final sale price of your home.
- Take Advantage of the Internet When Buying and Selling a House
If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Should I sell my house?” take a look online at the number of websites that exist to answer that question. It used to be that real estate agents held the secret key to potential buyers of your home. The internet, however, is a fantastic way for you to sell your house yourself and to connect with thousands of potential buyers.
Three of the best websites that can help you sell your own house are Zillow, Trulia, and Yelp. On all three of these sites, it is free to list your home and advertise open houses, house viewings, and other tools of the trade that will help you connect with buyers to sell your own house quickly.
Learning How to Sell a House Could Lead You to a Greater Profit
Learning how to sell your house doesn’t have to be a trying and wearisome challenge. By following these simple tips for selling your house, you can get more people into your home in order to sell your house quickly at a greater profit than if you were to hire a professional.
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