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Selling Your Own Home Without an Agent

Selling a home without an agent or broker has become increasingly popular in recent years. You can save money by eliminating agent fees while enjoying greater control over the sales process. Use an organized process to ready your home for sale, set a price, advertise the sale and deal with potential buyers. The following steps will help you manage the sale like a professional agent:

Prepare Your Home for Sale

  • Take care of any maintenance issues before putting your home on the market. Fix structural problems to receive the best price, and polish your home with cosmetic fixes like painting, landscaping and repairing appliances.
  • Buyers will inspect your home or pay for professional inspections, so order your own inspection to identify any issues.
  • Make necessary repairs, and groom the property by trimming trees, fixing squeaks, shampooing rugs, cleaning attics and basements and fixing broken tiles.
  • Invite a neighbor or friend for a trial showing to get an unbiased opinion.
  • Time your sale to take advantage of local market conditions, area festivals, spring flowers or autumn colors, whichever shows your home to best advantage.
  • Remove clutter from the house except for essentials so buyers can imagine how their possession will look in the space.

Price Your Home Competitively

You could lose thousands of dollars by underpricing a home, but overpricing property will discourage serious offers. Prepare a list of selling points, features and upgrades that add value to reinforce your price.

Get Legal Advice

You will probably want to get some legal advice by consulting an attorney and/or a title company. Before accepting any offer, make sure that buyers understand that closing is contingent on attorney approval. You need to make full disclosure if your home has any lead paint, but you might also need a certificate of occupancy or a fire or safety inspection. Require buyers to get buyers’ title insurance for protection in case something unexpected arises.

Market Your Home

  • Consider hiring a professional photographer, or find a gifted amateur to take plenty of photos. Record a video that shows your home in different seasons, and write compelling descriptions of your home’s features to attract buyers.
  • Be careful to avoid mentioning any information that could cause security risks when showing your home.
  • Be prepared to work weekends, answer phones at all hours, respond to emails and answer questions about the sale.
  • Gather support information about schools, hospitals, commutes, local customs and other information that buyers want to know.
  • Show property by appointment only and ask to see identification from strangers who visit your home.
  • Keep valuables and sensitive materials out of sight when showing your home.

Negotiate Effectively

Only consider written offers so that there are no misunderstandings that waste time and prevent you prevent from finding better prospects. You might need to negotiate to close a sale, but remain polite and professional in your dealings. Defend your price firmly unless you are willing to accept less money for a faster sale. You might need to make repairs, deal with the buyer’s agent or get a certified appraisal to facilitate the sale.

Assess Each Potential Buyer’s Financial Profile

You can waste lots of time and money trying to satisfy a buyer who doesn’t have the financial resources to swing the deal. Run a credit check on prospects to determine their financial reliability, and you might require that buyers get pre-approved for a loan before trying to write a contract.

Satisfy Buyer Concerns

You will usually need to meet certain buyer concerns such as allowing various inspections, having the property surveyed, making repairs and meeting mortgage company requirements. Bank appraisals and inspections are make-or-break contingencies, and failure to meet standards can prove expensive. Make sure that you understand the value of your home, its condition and the local market to avoid surprises.

Close the Sale

Closing the sale will require writing a contract, satisfying legalities and running a title search. You can use a title company or attorney depending on where you live. Any liens, fines or claims against the title must be satisfied before the sale can proceed.

More people are successfully selling their homes without agents, and many actually receive higher prices than people who use agents. Remember that if your efforts fail, you can always change your strategy and hire an agent.