If you’ve decided that you’re going to try to sell your house on your own instead of working with a real estate agent, you’ve pretty much got a full-time job ahead of you. Which, to be fair, maybe worth it in the end if you don’t have to pay out a 6% commission; two months of essentially working a second job can save you a $12,000 commission on a $200,000 house. This isn’t a bad tradeoff as long as you do it right!
Set the Price
This may be the part of selling a house that sounds the easiest but is in truth as much art as it is science, which means that people who are new to the real estate game as well as (of course) emotionally attached to their own family home may find it challenging.
The easy part is finding online calculators that return an estimate based on objective data such as age, location, square footage, yard size, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The next part, which is a little harder but still manageable for most, is comparing your house with houses that actually sold recently. These numbers are available through local property tax records and in some online databases.
The hardest part is being objective about how your house compares to the recently sold houses and the estimates. The quirks that may be so charming to you may be much less so to a potential buyer, so you need to be ruthlessly objective in this evaluation.
List the House
You can list your house on websites such as FSBO.com, and you can also buy a listing on the Multiple Listing Service. If you are expecting buyers’ agents to bring buyers to see your home, it needs to be on the MLS. This means that you’ll need a well-written, detailed description of the home and professional-quality photos so that it competes with the homes that are listed by professional real estate agents.
Many buyers’ agents still do not want to show for-sale-by-owner homes, so if you aren’t getting any nibbles after a couple of weeks, you may consider sweetening the deal by offering to pay the standard 3% commission to the buyers’ agent (buying and selling agents traditionally split the 6% commission).