How to Sell Your House For Sale by Owner in 6 Steps?
When it’s time to pull up roots and replant yourself in new surroundings, you must first consider the sale of your current home. The task can feel daunting for many sellers, but with the Flat Fee Guru approach, your home can be SOLD before you know it.
This guide provides For Sale by Owners (FSBO’s) an overview of the home-selling process in 6 informative steps. Coupled with a Flat Fee Guru’s professional agent to guide you, this approach can help to sell your home at the best price, with the least hassle. This guide was writen by Rob Rose, a real estate veteran who has sold over 600 homes in California and fliped over 200 home.
6 Steps to Sell Your Home:
1. Damage Control – Repair home wear and tear
2. Play the Price is Right – Pricing your current home
3. Go to Market – Marketing your home
4. Set the Stage – Prepare your home for showings
5. Negotiating – How to handle offers
6. Closing – Closing the deal
STEP 1 – DAMAGE CONTROL
Before listing your home for sale, make it a home people will want to buy.
Unless your prospective buyers are looking for a “fixer-upper” (which translates to a lower selling price), you’ll want to assess the wear and tear on your property and address flaws that can lower your home’s appeal and sales value.
You might be surprised to find, how simple little changes can result in huge returns. As a “Home Flipper”, thats what I look for, homes with little problems that I can easily fix.
Take a good look around and determine where your home could us some improvement. Some fixes are mainly cosmetic and you may be able to handle on your own; fresh paint, sprucing up the lawn, update lighting, replace doorknobs, that sort of thing. Remember this… a buyers first “contact” with your home is the front door, just like meeting someone for the first time, a buyer can quickly base an opinion before ever walking in through the door. Working with buyers and showing literally thousands of homes, I have seen it happen time and time again and have had countless clients not even walk through the front door.
Other problems can be more significant and may require item replacements and/or hiring a contractor. Issues concerning heating, air-conditioning (HVAC system) plumbing, ventilation, wood destroy organisms like dry rot, water damage or termites, the water heater, gutters, foundation, or roof can all be deal-breakers if left unaddressed.
Once you’ve taken stock of your homes current condition, tackle what matters most. Be smart. This initial investment of time and money can help generate a faster sale at a higher price.
STEP 2 – PLAY “THE PRICE IS RIGHT”
Setting the right price for your property is a delicate balancing act. Aim too high and your home might sit on the market for months, and possibly not sell at all. Price it too low and you miss the potential for a more lucrative outcome.
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA) – Have Flat Fee Gurus run Comps for You
A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a document, drawn from a local Multiple Listings Service (MLS) database, that presents pricing information, property details and photos of homes similar to yours (termed “comps”) that recently sold, failed to sell, or are currently on the market in your area.
Generally, focus on what has worked in your area – and what hasn’t – will help you to strategically price, position, and present your property to sell for top dollar in a reasonable time frame, with the least inconvenience for you.
Here’s a trick that I always do…it shocks me that other agents don’t do this. Find the price you feel is fair for your home, then pretend your home is on the market at that price. Look at the homes priceds just above you and below you. How do you compair?
I look for gap’s in that market, for example a client came to us from Fremont California; he and his wife talked to three Realtors, the conclussion they came to was to list their home for $1,150,000. I looked at the numbers, and agreed, the three agents were dead on, $1,150,000 on paper was the perfect price. BUT when we looked at what was currently availble on the MLS there was a HUGE gap in the market. At the time, there were no listings from $1,110,000 – $1,200,000. a $90,000 gap, they had no competitors, I told them they had nothing to lose and everything to gain by listing the home at $1,175,000. They went into contract two nights ago for $1,185,000
STEP 3 – GO TO MARKET
How buyers find out about homes for sale As stated above, strategically preparing and pricing your home are fundamentals to attract serious, financially qualified buyers. Equally important is reaching the maximum number of potential buyers with your home listing.
Today, the Internet, mobile apps, and direct contact with a real estate professional are the main sources of home information for searching buyers. Other sources are yard signs and open houses.
Buyers are flocking to the web
The Internet has revolutionized real estate advertising. Accordingly, it has made selling a home For Sale by Owner (FSBO) so much easier than ever before . The main items Internet buyers look for on real estate websites are:
- Property photos
- Detailed property information
- Virtual tours
- Real estate agent contact information
- Neighborhood information
Real estate industry surveys have repeatedly found that neighborhood quality is the most important reason why homebuyers choose where to live. In fact, experience shows that buyers usually “buy” an area first, and are often willing to pay a premium for homes there.
Therefore, it’s crucial to highlight your community’s amenities – like proximity to quality schools, restaurants and shopping, local parks and attractions, as well as other benefits that impact lifestyle.
A comprehensive approach to showcasing your home and community
While the Internet is now the real estate information source of choice, if you want to maximize the number of serious buyers, showings and offers you get it is necessary to employ a broad spectrum of advertising in a coordinated manner. including:
- Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
- Zillow, Trulia, Redfin etc
- Social media sites like Facebook® and Twitter®
- Open houses
STEP 4 – SET THE STAGE
Putting your home on the market is a lot like putting up a profile on an online dating service. You want to put your best face forward, minimize flaws, and set the stage for an appealing and harmonious match.
Send clutter packing
Systematically address each room and living area, and pare down with vigor. Rid your home of clutter, extraneous objects, and mess. Aim for an attractive, well-organized environment free from untidiness and confusion. Nobody likes the thought of extra work, especially an overwhelmed homebuyer, make your home as carefree as possible and keep your tools and cleaning supplies in the garage.
Allow homebuyers to picture themselves living in the space by getting rid of personal items such as framed photos, your kids’ drawings on the fridge, or your collection of ceramic frogs…I know, everyone likes ceramic frogs, but still…put them away for now.
But don’t just stuff those things in the closet.
Potential buyers will definitely be checking out the closet space, and you don’t want it crammed with ceramic frogs. Instead, find a place for it all and store neatly in the attic, basement, a friend’s place, or a storage facility.
Boost your curb appeal
Finally, it is time to take a hard look at the outside of your house. After all, that’s the first thing buyers will see when they pull up, so you’ve got to work that curb appeal…hard.
Check the condition of exterior paint, your lawn and landscaping, your front door (check the hardware and doorknob), the driveway, a pool if you have one, and even the mailbox. If any of it appears neglected, damaged, dingy, or in disarray, do something about it or you’ll drive would-be buyers away before they even park their car.
Tips For Showing Your Home
- If you’ve painted in neutral tones, add touches of color with accessories
- Place fresh flowers where they’ll stand out
- Open all doors and windows beforehand to circulate fresh air
- Pick up toys, remove all clutter, ensure beds are made, put clothes away
- Floors should be clean, carpets and rugs vacuumed
- Trash and recycling bins should be tidy and odor-free
- The kitchen and bathrooms should sparkle
- If possible, bake cookies or put a pan of cinnamon in the oven to create a warm and inviting aroma Ideally, pets should be unseen. Pet areas should be clean and odor-free. Not everyone may share your love of animals, and some may be allergic to them
- Remove all cash, jewelry and small valuables from view
STEP 5 – NEGOTIATING
The reality is that most negotiations proceed without much difficulty. In the event that there are obstacles; for a small fee, we can assist.
The basic process
When a buyer makes an offer on your home they’ll do so using a contract developed by California Association of Realtors (CAR Form). These contracts enable the buyer to set a sale price, and also include any clauses for specifying various terms of purchase, such as the closing and possession dates, the deposit amount, and a variety of other conditions.
Depending on which of the Flat Fee Guru package you choose, the buyer’s agent will then deliver the offer either directly to you or to us and you. Closely review the details of the offer; again, for a small fee we are available to assist with offer reviews and counter offers.
You may then accept the offer, reject it, or counter it. Countering the offer begins negotiation.
Successive counter offers, with deadlines for responding and for meeting various contingencies and special conditions (e.g. a home inspection, the buyer securing financing) will be exchanged between you and the buyer until either a mutually satisfactory pending agreement is reached or the negotiations collapse.
Basic principles for successful negotiation
- Disclose everything. Smart sellers proactively go above and beyond legal necessity to disclose all known defects to their buyers. My rule of thumb is this…If you have to ask “should I disclose this”, the answer is “Yes”.
- Ask questions. Offers may contain complicated terminology, sometimes three or more addendums.
- Respond quickly. When buyers make an offer, they are in the mood to buy. But moods change, and buyers are known to get buyers’ remorse. Don’t delay if you want the sale.
- Stay calm and be patient. At all times keep communication civil and agreeable. Keep emotions out of the negotiation process, it only will cause you stress and could cost you the sale.
- Meet halfway. If there are disagreements about relatively small expenses, consider splitting the difference and smile.
- Be cautious with contingencies. When you’ve landed your buyer, your signed acceptance of a written offer becomes a sales contract. Except for removing any contingencies, this document is the binding basis for the sale.
- We have negotiated 1000’s of contracts since 1998 and will be happy to assist you.
STEP 6 – CLOSING
If you and your buyer have both efficiently taken care of your respective contractual obligations associated with finalizing the sale, the process of completing the transaction will go smoothly with no surprises.
A pending sales agreement generally includes contingencies and special conditions that must be fulfilled by the buyer and seller by the closing date, which usually falls 30 to 45 days after both have signed the agreement.
Common contingencies and conditions:
- The buyer’s securing of financing
- A Title Search – a historical review of all legal documents relating to ownership of the property to ensure that there are no claims against the title of the property
- The purchasing of Title Insurance in case the records contain errors or there are mistakes in the review process
- A professional appraisal of the home, requested by the lender to ensure that the home’s actual value justifies the loan amount
- Any additional contractual promises you have made in connection with buyer incentives, home improvements, etc.
- An independent inspection of the home’s structural and functional condition (foundation, roof, electrical, heating, plumbing, pool, etc.)
- An independent termite inspection
- A final walk-through by the buyer to verify that the home in the same condition as when the sale agreement was signed
Carefully review the sales agreement, again, we can help. Any shortfalls or mistakes at this point can be costly.
Completing the transaction
While different areas handle the final settlement in slightly different ways, generally the escrow officer – a third-party professional, who conducts the proceedings – reviews the sales agreement and does the following:
- Determines the total amount due from the buyer and collects the check
- Determines all the adjustments (e.g. seller prepayment of taxes, utilities, etc.) and ensures that they’re factored into the transaction
- Assures that the transaction costs (closing, fees, etc.) are paid
- Determines the seller’s payments, credits and adjusted net proceeds
- Witnesses the seller’s signing of the property title and all other documentation associated with the transaction
- Provides the seller with the net proceeds as well as copies of the documentation pertaining to the sale
- Ensures that buyer’s title is properly recorded in the local records office along with any mortgage liens
In most cases, the buyer’s possession date will fall within a couple days of the final signing, at which point your former home will have a new occupant and your home selling journey will be complete.
Ghassan Shalabi, Broker
Have Questions? Lets Chat!
Alameda | Amador | Butte | Contra Costa | Colusa | El Dorado | Glenn | Lake | Los Angeles | Madera | Marin | Mariposa | Mendocino | Merced | Monterey | Napa | Nevada| Orange | Placer | Riverside | Sacramento | San Benito | San Bernardino| San Diego | San Francisco | San Joaquin | San Mateo | Santa Clara | Santa Cruz | Solano | Sonoma | Stanislaus | Sutter | Ventura | Yolo | Yuba |