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Do-It-Yourself Guide - Home Selling for Rookies

Mar 31, 2008
You can save thousands of dollars in realtor commissions by selling your home yourself. If you decide to sell your house without the help of a real estate agent or realtor, you'll find that it's a popular solution in the current housing market, but it isn't an easy one. This guide to home selling should help you figure out what you need to know to sell your home yourself.

Without a knowledgeable realtor to guide you, you'll have to hone your knowledge of the housing market, lending practices, loan availability and requirements for a home sale in your area. You'll need to make time in your schedule to show your house, and brush up on your people skills and negotiation know-how. If all of that hasn't discouraged you, you'll find the tips below a helpful guide to home selling.

1. Price your house right from the start.

Listing your home for sale at the right price is the single most important thing that you can do when selling your home yourself. Check listings in the newspaper and online to find prices for similar homes to yours in your area and price yours accordingly. The best selling homes generally are priced within 2-3 percentage points of other homes that have sold recently. Remember, location is your biggest determinant of price. The 'nicest house in the neighborhood' won't fetch much more than the average.

2. Invest in repairs, not improvements.

When you're getting your house ready to sell, concentrate on making repairs, not improvements. Fix the leaky roof, take care of crooked and broken shingles and shutters and fix the cracked driveways and walkways. Cosmetic repairs are your best investment when it's time to sell your home. Home improvements seldom recoup their cost. A realtor's guide to home selling can tell you what home improvements are most likely to bring the most return on investment.

3. Advertise widely.

Use every advertising option you can think of - newspapers, real estate magazines, internet listings and supermarket bulletin boards have all been known to sell houses. Don't completely ignore traditional avenues either. A flat fee listing with a local realtor can get your home into the Multiple Listing Service where it will be seen by thousands of people.

4. Think safety.

Real estate agents, particularly female ones, have learned to consider their own safety when showing an empty house. Let their experience guide you - it's an unfortunate but true fact that there are creeps out there who target homes for sale as easy marks for theft or worse. Never show a house without letting others know, and if possible, having someone else in the house with you.

5. Use your showings to interview buyers.

When you show your home, use the opportunity to find out what you can about the prospective buyer. A few careful questions can help you weed out those who aren't serious, or likely won't qualify for a loan.

6. Keep your house in 'show' condition.

As long as your house is on the market, keep it in show condition so that you'll be ready to show it at a moment's notice.

7. Be ready to recommend funding and lending options to your buyers.

While most buyers will have already taken a look at their financing options, some may not have considered financing - or may be having difficulty finding a mortgage. If you can suggest an option that works for them, you'll be able to close on the sale.

8. Follow through.

No job is finished till the paperwork is done. Be sure to follow through on all the necessary paperwork, including inspections, notice of escrow, listings and anything else that might hold up your home sale.

This is a very brief overview of all the things involved in selling your own home. For a more comprehensive guide to selling a home, visit your local library or speak with a realtor in your area for more suggestions.
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