How to Sell Your Own Home

Point of Interest: Selling Your Own Home

While selling your own home gives you complete control and could wind up saving you money, it’s also considerably more work than hiring a realtor — and potentially more expensive and stressful. Compare your options before making a decision.

Selling a home as a homeowner can be an exciting and simultaneously uncertain time. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to utilize professional help from a realtor or figure out how to sell a house by owner. Sale by owner can be an attractive avenue thanks to reduced commissions and enhanced control, but there are drawbacks and limitations homeowners should be aware of. A thorough understanding of the process of how to sell a house your own home is key to choosing the correct approach for you.

How to Sell by Owner

You’ll need to cover all the tasks normally performed by the agent if you choose to sell your own home without the help of a realtor.  You must set a competitive price for your house based on current market conditions, evaluate local competition, and appraise the predicted market outlook. From there, you can utilize marketing resources to get the word out about your home, starting with online directories, open houses, a for sale sign with contact information, and social media posting.

You’ll need to schedule showings to begin showcasing your property to potential buyers as leads start rolling in. Once you’ve identified a qualified buyer, you’ll need to start working through the paperwork for the sale. The legal documents and contracts can be overwhelming and confusing to first-time sellers. Hiring a real estate attorney to review the documents is a wise investment and is actually required by law in 21 different states.

Should You Sell Your Own Home?

Deciding whether or not to sell your own home is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. If you have prior experience or knowledge about how to sell a house by owner, have adequate time and resources to dedicate to the process and are concerned with maximizing every dollar of profits, then for sale by owner might be the right fit for you. You are able to sell your own home if you don’t fit all of these criteria, but you risk the house being on the market for longer and potentially selling for a lower rate than could be achieved with the help of a professional.

You will find that you have more control over the showing process when you are acting as the realtor. You’ll be able to schedule showings more quickly as you won’t have to contact a seller to get availability. However, you will need to be present for showings, which can make for an awkward time with honest potential buyers who don’t like things about your house.

Reasons Not to Sell Your Own Home

While lower commissions and more control are attractive reasons to take the for sale by owner route, there are situations where it’s not ideal. There are reasons a realtor is required to go to four to six months of schooling to get licensed to sell homes. While TV shows might make the process look easy, there’s a lot of work behind the scenes that may be above your knowledge base. Simple mistakes could cost you money, time and profits on your home sale.

Realtors also have access to extensive resources not readily available to those outside of the industry. These resources include extensive networks of buyers, quick methods to qualify purchase applicants, private listings, legal resources and support and home price negotiation experience. On top of all of that, many realtors won’t show for sale by owner homes. This is often a result of prior bad experiences with other sellers who didn’t follow through on commissions or missed showings. You may be the most upstanding and reliable homeowner ever, but there’s no way to prove that to a skeptical realtor with a history of getting burned — especially one who has not worked with you before.

Ultimately, the process of selling a home is extensive and requires more attention than most homeowners are aware of. While you don’t have a boss to answer to about missteps in the selling process, you will feel the pain in your wallet. The savings you might get from not having to pay the 3% sales commission can quickly get erased if your home spends too long on the market or sells for a lower price than it could have.

When Should You Sell by Owner?

Not only are your personal skills, knowledge base, and available time important when deciding what route to use to sell your home, but so is your life situation. People who aren’t in a hurry to sell their home may have more of a reason to do things on their own. It may make sense if you aren’t paying a mortgage or rent elsewhere, since you won’t be stuck with double payments if things don’t go as quickly as you planned.

If your home is in a highly desirable market with low supply, selling on your own could also be a profitable move. Buyers will be more proactive in seeking out your home, and bidding wars could help avoid any issues with low-ball pricing. Be aware, though, that for sale by owner listings have a tendency to attract low ball offers from savvy investors looking to take advantage of an inexperienced seller.

If your plans afford it and your knowledge of how to sell your own home is adequate, you may want to consider the option of selling without professional help.