Selling a house is a time-consuming process – especially if you decide to do it on your own, known as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO). From conducting market research to reviewing legal documents, handling negotiations, and more, it’s an involved and highly detailed process that requires a lot of expertise to navigate effectively. That’s one of the reasons why the percentage of people selling their own house has declined from 19% to 8% (See graph below):To help you understand just how much time and effort it takes to sell on your own, here’s a look at a few of the things you need to think about before putting that “For Sale” sign up in your yard.
1. Making a Good First Impression
While it may sound simple, there are a lot of proven best practices to consider when prepping a house for sale.
- Do you need to take down your personal art?
- What’s the right amount of landscaping to boost your curb appeal?
- What wall colors are most appealing to buyers?
If you do this work on your own, you may invest capital and many hours into the wrong things. Your time is money – don’t waste it. An agent can help steer you in the right direction based on current market conditions to save you time and effort. Since we’re in a hot sellers’ market, you don’t want to delay listing your house by focusing on things that won’t change your bottom line. These market conditions may not last, so lean on an agent to capitalize on today’s low inventory while you can.
2. Pricing It Right
Real estate professionals have mission-critical information on what sells and how to maximize your profit. They’re experienced when it comes to looking at recent comparable homes that have sold in your area and understanding what price is right for your neighborhood. They use that data to price your house appropriately, maximizing your return.
In a FSBO, you’re operating without this expertise, so you’ll have to do your own homework on how to set a price that’s appropriate for your area and the condition of your home. Even with your own research, you may not find the most up-to-date information and could risk setting a price that’s inaccurate or unrealistic. If you price your house too high, you could turn buyers away before they’re even in the front door, or run into problems when it comes time for the appraisal.
3. Maximizing Your Buyer Pool (and Profit)
Contrary to popular belief, FSBOs may actually net less profit than sellers who use an agent. One of the factors that can drive profit up is effective exposure. Simply put, real estate professionals can get your house in front of more buyers via their social media followers, agency resources, and proven sales strategies. The more buyers that view a home, the more likely a bidding war becomes. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average house for sale today gets 5 offers. Using an agent to boost your exposure may help boost your sale price too.
4. Navigating Negotiations
When it comes to selling your house as a FSBO, you’ll have to handle all of the negotiations. Here are just a few of the people you’ll work with:
- The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
- The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
- The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
- The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender
As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate potential snags that may pop up. When appraisals come in low and in countless other situations, they know what levers to pull, how to address the buyer and seller emotions that come with it, and when to ask for second opinions. Navigating all of this on your own takes time –a lot of it.
5. Juggling Legal Documentation
Speaking of time, consider how much free time you have to review the fine print. Just in terms of documentation, more disclosures and regulations are now mandatory. That means the stack of legal documents you need to handle as the seller is growing. It can be hard to know and truly understand all the terms and requirements. Instead of going at it alone, use an agent as your shield and advisor to help you avoid potential legal missteps.
Selling your house on your own is a lot of responsibility. It’s time consuming and requires an immense amount of effort and expertise. Before you decide to sell your house yourself, let’s discuss your options so we can make sure you get the most out of the sale.
It’s Time To Prepare Your House for a Spring Listing
If you’re thinking of selling your house this spring, now is the perfect time to start getting it ready. With the market gearing up for its busiest time of year, it’ll be important to make sure your house shines bright among the competition.
Here are some valuable tips you can use to get your house market-ready.
Declutter and Organize
First impressions matter, and if your house is a mess, that can easily turn off potential buyers. Before listing, take the time to declutter and organize each room. Decluttering is about more than just tidying up – it’s about creating a sense of space and openness that allows potential buyers to envision themselves living in your home. According to Moving.com:
“Decluttering and organizing your space will go a long way in appealing to potential buyers. . . .decluttering will help the buyers see themselves living in your home. Less clutter inside a home also helps a place appear larger and cleaner, which should attract more buyers.”
Deep Clean Your Kitchen and Bathrooms
The kitchen and bathrooms are focal points for many buyers, and often influence their overall opinion of the house. Ensure these spaces dazzle by giving them a thorough deep cleaning. Pay attention to details like scrubbing grout lines, polishing fixtures, and decluttering countertops. A sparkling kitchen and bathroom can leave a lasting positive impression on potential buyers.
Maintain Your Yard
Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers see, so it’s important to make a good impression from the moment they arrive. A well-maintained yard not only enhances curb appeal, but also shows buyers the home has been well taken care of.
Take the time to spruce up your yard by mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, and clearing away any debris or dead plants. Remember, the goal is to create a welcoming environment that entices buyers to step inside and imagine themselves living there. U.S. News says:
“A beautifully landscaped front yard can elevate an ordinary house into a charming home and will help homes sell faster and for more money.”
Find a Listing Agent
A skilled listing agent is your partner in minimizing stress when selling your home. Lean on your agent for advice on decluttering, staging, and enhancing your home’s appeal to potential buyers. Their insights into market trends and recommendations for reliable contractors and stagers are invaluable. As Realtor.com says:
“A good listing agent will help you price your home . . . recommend a photographer and stager to make it look its best, and put your home on the multiple listing service.”
By decluttering, deep cleaning, and tidying up your house, you can create a welcoming environment that resonates with buyers and increases your chances of a successful sale. Connect with a trusted real estate agent for advice on what you need to do to get your house ready to sell this spring.
Home Equity Can Be a Game Changer When You Sell
Are you on the fence about selling your house? While affordability is improving this year, it’s still tight. And that may be on your mind. But understanding your home equity could be the key to making your decision easier. An article from Bankrate explains:
“Home equity is the difference between your home’s value and the amount you still owe on your mortgage. It represents the paid-off portion of your home.
You’ll start off with a certain level of equity when you make your down payment to buy the home, then continue to build equity as you pay down your mortgage. You’ll also build equity over time as your home’s value increases.”
Think of equity as a simple math equation. It’s the value of your home now minus what you owe on your mortgage. And guess what? Recently, your equity has probably grown more than you think.
In the past few years, home prices skyrocketed, which means your home’s value – and your equity – likely shot up, too. So, you may have more equity than you realize.
How To Make the Most of Your Home Equity Right Now
If you’re thinking about moving, the equity you have in your home could be a big help. According to CoreLogic:
“. . . the average U.S. homeowner with a mortgage still has more than $300,000 in equity . . .”
Clearly, homeowners have a lot of equity right now. And the latest data from the Census and ATTOM shows over two-thirds of homeowners have either completely paid off their mortgages (shown in green in the chart below) or have at least 50% equity (shown in blue in the chart below):
That means roughly 70% have a tremendous amount of equity right now.
- Be an all-cash buyer: If you’ve been living in your current home for a long time, you might have enough equity to buy your next home without having to take out a loan. If that’s the case, you won’t need to borrow any money or worry about mortgage rates. Investopedia states:
“You may want to pay cash for your home if you’re shopping in a competitive housing market, or if you’d like to save money on mortgage interest. It could help you close a deal and beat out other buyers.”
- Make a larger down payment: Your equity could also be used toward your next down payment. It might even be enough to let you put a larger amount down, so you won’t have to borrow as much money. The Mortgage Reports explains:
“Borrowers who put down more money typically receive better interest rates from lenders. This is due to the fact that a larger down payment lowers the lender’s risk because the borrower has more equity in the home from the beginning.”
The Easy Way To Find Out How Much Equity You Have
To find out how much equity you have in your home, ask a real estate agent you trust for a Professional Equity Assessment Report (PEAR).
Houses Are Still Selling Fast
Have you been thinking about selling your house? If so, here’s some good news. While the housing market isn’t as frenzied as it was during the ‘unicorn’ years when houses were selling quicker than ever, they’re still selling faster than normal.
The graph below uses data from Realtor.com to tell the story of median days on the market for every January from 2017 all the way through the latest numbers available. For Realtor.com, days on the market means from the time a house is listed for sale until its closing date or the date it’s taken off the market. This metric can help give you an idea of just how quickly homes are selling compared to more normal years:
When you look at the most recent data (shown in green), it’s clear homes are selling faster than they usually would (shown in blue). In fact, the only years when houses sold even faster than they are right now were the abnormal ‘unicorn’ years (shown in pink). According to Realtor.com:
“Homes spent 69 days on the market, which is three days shorter than last year and more than two weeks shorter than before the COVID-19 pandemic.”
What Does This Mean for You?
Homes are selling faster than the norm for this time of year – and your house may sell quickly too. That’s because more people are looking to buy now that mortgage rates have come down, but there still aren’t enough homes to go around. Mike Simonsen, Founder of Altos Research, says:
“. . . 2024 is starting stronger than last year. And demand is increasing each week.”
If you’re wondering if it’s a good time to sell your home, the most recent data suggests it is. The housing market appears to be stronger than it usually is at this time of year. To get the latest updates on what’s happening in your local market, connect with a real estate agent.
Strategic Tips for Buying Your First Home
It’s Time To Prepare Your House for a Spring Listing
Achieve Your Dream of Homeownership with Condos and Townhomes [INFOGRAPHIC]
Are Higher Mortgage Rates Here To Stay?
Are Grandparents Moving To Be Closer to Their Grandkids?
Homeowner Net Worth Has Skyrocketed
For Sellers4 weeks ago
3 Must-Do’s When Selling Your House in 2024
First Time Home Buyers4 weeks ago
Experts Project Home Prices Will Increase in 2024
Buying Myths4 weeks ago
The Top Benefits of Buying a Multi-Generational Home
Buying Myths4 weeks ago
Why It’s More Affordable To Buy a Home This Year [INFOGRAPHIC]
For Sellers3 weeks ago
Don’t Wait Until Spring To Sell Your House
Buying Myths4 weeks ago
Are More Homeowners Selling as Mortgage Rates Come Down?
For Buyers3 weeks ago
2 of the Factors That Impact Mortgage Rates
Demographics3 weeks ago
Will a Silver Tsunami Change the 2024 Housing Market?