How to Start Your Home Selling Process?

Selling a house is large undertaking. The first thing you will need to decide is whether you want to be a for sale by owner (FSBO) or hire a Real Estate Agent. If you decide to go the FSBO route, you will save money on the commission. You should decide ahead of time if you will cooperate with a buyer's broker should they bring a qualified buyer to you.

If you list your house with a Real Estate Agent, you will have to enter into a listing agreement and pay a commission. The good part is you won't have to do any of the work.  Your time is worth money too so if you are very busy, then it might be better to hire a professional.

Here are some general tips to help make your home selling process less stressful and successful whether you decide to do it yourself or hire a real estate professional:


Decide on a Sales Price First

Choosing the right selling price is essential. Don't make a mistake and overprice your home. It won't sell, and you will end up taking it off the market.

In order to determine the correct price, there are three things to consider:

  • Market conditions
  • Comparable home sold prices
  • The condition of the home, including its features and amenities.

Market Conditions

If the market is a buyer's market, then you need to price your home at or slightly below market. If the market is a seller's market, then you can price slightly higher than market if your home has special features that you think make it worth more than comparable homes. It is a mistake in any market to overprice a home because it will not sell.  Educate yourself as much as possible on the market conditions and home sale prices in your neighborhood before you make a final decision.


Sold Prices of Comparable Homes

To find the sold prices of comparable homes, you can get them from a local Real Estate Agent or order a home value analysis from Fizber.com.  You can also obtain the information from the county tax appraiser's office.


Property Appraisal

Hire a certified property appraiser to appraise the value of your home.  Fees vary so get a couple estimates.


Condition of Home and Features and Amenities

Make a list of your home's features and amenities. Then make adjustments accordingly up or down compared to similar properties that have sold in your neighborhood.


If you under price the home, you may attract multiple buyers who will bid the home up to the price you want. However, this strategy can backfire on you if you become greedy. All the buyers could end up walking away in a multiple offer situation if you don't handle it correctly.   If you receive more than one offer, you may want to consult with an attorney or a real estate broker, and offer to pay them a small fee to help you.  


Preparing Your Home

The way your home shows reflects the condition of the home. If your home is well maintained and in good condition, you could bring more buyers to the table. However, if your home is considered a major fixer or handyman special, then you will need to price it accordingly and market it that way to attract the right buyer. There are many investors and buyers who are looking for homes to fix and either flip or rent. Remember, there is a buyer for every home. 


Here is a general checklist of items that you should pay attention to in order to prepare your home for sale:

  • Clean and remove clutter.
  • Paint the inside and outside
  • Replace old appliances with new ones
  • Replace old lighting fixtures
  • Fix water and roof leaks and make other minor repairs
  • Replace worn carpets or flooring
  • Your lawn should be manicured. Hire a gardener if necessary. Mend any broken fences. Trim bushes and shrubs.
  • Wash windows.
  • Box up any valuable items such as art or collectibles and put them in storage or lock them up someplace safe. Put jewelry in a safe deposit box.

Have a Home Inspection

A good idea for any FSBO is to hire a home inspector to conduct an inspection of their home. The home inspector will check your home's systems to make sure they are in good working order and let you know if your home is in compliance with local safety law and ordinances. This way, you will know the condition of your home, and you can decide if you want to make any necessary repairs or just disclose them to your buyer.  It is worth spending a few hundred dollars to be a professional home inspection. It is still up to buyers to conduct their own inspections under the contract contingencies as well.


Ordering Yard Signs and Brochures, Flyer Box

You will need to place a FSBO yard sign on your property to let buyers know your home is for sale. Check your neighborhood rules, especially if you live in a subdivision with a homeowner association because they may not allow signs or have rules as to the size and color.


It's a good idea to have a professional colored brochure made for your home to pass out to potential buyers. You can also make some up in black and white to leave in the flyer box outside your property.


Open Houses and Advertising

Have a marketing plan, and set a budget. Today, the majority of buyer's start their home search on the internet so advertising there first is a good idea. Advertising your FSBO home using Fizber's flat fee MLS is of major benefit for you because your house is added to more than 80 real estate related websites. It will highly increase your property visibility online.  Not only house searchers will find your listing in different real estate websites, but your Fizber listing will be search engine optimized (seo) so your listing has a higher chance of appearing on the first pages of search results in the most popular search engines in US, such as Google.com, Yahoo.com, AOL.com, etc.


To announce the listing for your home, you may also want to conduct an open house for the public, or just one for brokers and their clients.  If you are going to cooperate with the selling broker, then marketing your home to the local brokers in the area is a good idea.


Closing Costs

Check with a local title company regarding your closing costs so you are prepared and can factor that in your sales price. It is customary for the seller to choose the title services and to pay for the owner's policy.  Other closing costs may include your mortgage payoff pre-penalty fee, if applicable, attorney's fees, a broker's commission if you are paying the selling broker who represents the buyer, and any repair costs such as termite repairs, pro-rated taxes, transfer taxes, etc. Ask the title company to provide you with an estimated closing statement.   Most title companies have attorneys on staff as well in case there are any legal issues that arise.


Seller Financing

If your home is paid off, you may want to consider offering seller financing to your buyers that may not qualify for traditional financing. Many FSBO's have found this to be a powerful marketing tool to get their home sold in today's market. Although interest rates are at all time lows, there are a large group of buyers who have less than perfect credit who want to purchase homes as well. Seller financing is just another perk to offer your buyer as well as offering to pay your buyer's closing costs.


Consult with a Real Estate Attorney

You may also want to consult with your own real estate attorney and have the attorney help you with the contract negotiations or review the purchase and sale agreement for you.  By following the above tips and strategies, your home selling process should be a smooth and successful one.