Deciding To Sell Your Home On Your Own
This is a brief overview of the process we used and some of the things we've experienced when selling our homes without a realtor.
Typically, the realtor (you're selling agent) and buyer broker involved in the sale will split a 6% commission so, by not having a realtor, we knew we could save at least 3% or more on the sale, which adds up to thousands of dollars (3% would be $6,000 on a $200,000 home). For example, we've sold two homes now without a realtor and saved over $15,000 in doing so.
To calculate how much you could save, take the sale price of your home and multiple it by the percentage saved by not using a realtor. If your buyer has an agent, you're savings will likely be 3%, but if your buyer is not using an agent you can save 6%.
Keep reading for specifics on how to sell your home, saving the realtor's fees, and at the bottom of the article you'll see our checklist to help you through the process.
In both instances of selling our homes, the process started off as an idea. We knew we wanted to sell, but hadn't actually settled on a date for listing, which turned out to not be a big deal. The timing of the listing depended more on pricing than anything because we couldn't list the property without first figuring out a reasonable listing price.
Pricing Your Home
When pricing your home a great place to start is by looking at recent sales of comparable homes in the area (your neighborhood), or in the same complex if you're a part of a condo association. You can find these on websites like zillow, your city's grand list of property sales (which is often online), and even checking with the board of any home owners association you're a part of. When pricing, consider any upgrades/improvements you've made, and weigh the cost of rentals in your area.
A professional appraiser isn't required but can be very helpful through this. For about $600 you can hire a professional to come up with a fair asking price. They will compare your home to other recent sales in the area and provide you with documentation you can give to any prospective buyers on how they came to the price.
Next we looked for free websites to list our home which would allow us the opportunity to post pictures, write commentary, and leave our contact information. We steered clear of any websites that were charging a fee because we wanted to stick to our goal of keeping costs down. Plus, we factored in that if we weren't able to sell on the free websites, we could always move to another website and pay to list with them and if the free sites weren't working.
Showing Your Property
There was a lot of activity within the first week of listing our property online. Most of the scheduling times that potential buyers wanted to come look at our place was either during the lunch hour time frame or evenings after 5pm. We mainly tried to accommodate their scheduling requests and found that being flexible and friendly helped things overall go more smoothly. We would usually try to schedule two to four showings over a specific span of time so that we could balance our work schedules as well as try not to miss out on a possible sale. Some sellers schedule open houses for a few hours on a weekend to accommodate potential buyers who cannot make it during the week, and to hopefully make the process faster by having multiple viewings at once.
Make sure you stage your property well for all showings. More on staging soon!
We had a situation where multiple buyers made offers so we had to review and compare before they expired, and decide about making counter offers. We ended up going with a cash offer over a higher bank offer because of the security and flexibility the case offer provided. Money talks as they say, and the cash offer meant we could also turn around and close on the purchase of a new property that much sooner. Choose the offer that works best for your situation.
Your potential buyers will want an inspection completed and passed as a contingency on sale. After an inspection is completed, the buyer typically has a period of time (often 3 days) to bring anything to you they want addressed for the sale to continue. If they are not addressed, they do have the option of rescinding the offer. If the period of time passes without the buyer, their agent or attorney, sending you these items then the sale continues -- if they are late sending you the items you are not under any legal obligation to have them addressed, though doing so does build good will.
Note if you have a situation where a few weeks have gone by and you haven't received any offers, it may make sense to review your asking price further and go back through your pricing strategy. It's possible that your listing price may be too high for the recent property activity in your area.
Using a Real Estate Attorney
Having a real estate attorney made our lives easier, because the attorney took care of all of the paperwork and legalities involved with our home sale. He put together contracts based on what we needed and helped us make heads or tails of the fine print and little details involved with all of the paperwork involved in the sale. Having a real estate attorney was hugely beneficial and necessary to help with the legal paperwork involved in the sale.
After some negotiation and agreeing on the final sale price and offer terms, we sent the final contract to our attorney to begin the closing process. Your attorney will work with your mortgage holder to determine the final amount due to the bank, and complete a title search to ensure a smooth transition to the buyer. Once all of the paperwork is complete, by both your attorney and mortgage holder, your closing date will be set -- this step can take 4-6 weeks depending on how busy both are.
- Price your home (consider an appraiser).
- Hire a real estate attorney.
- Schedule & pass a fire inspection with your local fire Marshall.
- Prep & stage your home.
- Schedule showing times.
- Collect offers & send to your attorney to review.
- Accept offer & send final, signed, offer to attorney to begin the process.
As you can see there are a number of resources available today that allow you to sell without a realtor if you chose - it's up to you. Note that we are not real estate attorneys, and the above is based on our experiences. Please consult an attorney throughout your sale.