Ok folks, here it is, the down and dirty on how to sell your house yourself quickly and keep thousands in your pocket (by not paying real estate commissions!) I’m going to give you an outline to follow and if you follow it to the T, you should be alright!
Do Your Research About Your Homes Value You need to find out what your house is worth so you can put a price tag on it. How can you find this out?
-Interview a handful of real estate agents (at least 3) and get Comps (Comparables of houses that have sold like yours) from them. Do not tell them what YOU think your house is worth, just let them do their thing and present you with their evidence of what they feel your house is worth.
-Check public records if you have online access or if you know how to do this at the courthouse yourself (or if you have a real estate agent friend that will allow you to look over their shoulder as they access their public records on the MLS.)
-Drive around your neighborhood and call on ALL of the for sale signs that you see. If they are having open houses too then GO TO THEM.
-Research your local papers classified section for houses for cash buyers in jacksonville in your area. Call the numbers and get the facts on the house (remember, you’re comparing all of these houses to yours.) -Hop on Craigslist and reseach the real estate for sale ads there that are in your area. A lot of times folks will have pictures and even videos in here, so you can actually see the houses. If there isn’t much info then email or call the person who is selling their house.
-Go to Realtor.com and research houses that are for sale in your area. Again, if there isn’t much info, then call the agent up and ask for some info about the house.
-Check out zillow and cyberhomes and see what they come up with as values for your house. Also, the comps that they list, drive past the houses to compare at least the outside of your house and the sold house. (I wouldn’t put as much weight on these 2 sites, but there is definitely more information here for you.)
Now, you should have a good idea of what you could sell your house for. By the way, when looking at public records, comps from agents and places like zillow and cyberhomes you only really want to look at sold houses within the past 6 months. Some folks will tell you to go back a year, but I think that’s even too far. Honestly, in this market, I’d say look at them in the past 3 months!
OK so you have a value in mind. Well I need you to be honest with yourself about the value and how you came up with it, OK? Does the value indicate a house that is in pristine condition and your house isn’t that pristine? Does the value indicate a fixer-upper price and your house doesn’t need any work? Those are the things you have to think about when getting the comps from all of your resources above.
Make note of the condition and location of all of the comps that you get from your resources above then you have to HONESTLY compare it to your house. Honestly being the keyword here. If your house smells like dog, well admit that to yourself and know that it’s going to lower the price of your house. If your house is right next to an active railroad track, well don’t ignore the obvious and know that it will lower the price of your house as well. If your house is totally trashed and needs a lot of work, please, please, please don’t think that you are going to get maybe a couple thousand less than what a pristine house sold for. That is UNREALISTIC!
And always keep in mind the type of real estate market we are in. Right now at the writing of this posting, here in Pennsylvania we are in a BUYERS MARKET. Please recognize that and adjust your game plan (and more importantly) your thinking accordingly. If you don’t adjust your game plan and thinking accordingly, believe me your house will sit there and it will NOT sell (until you come to your senses.)
Market Your House Like Crazy Your house being for sale at the prefect price doesn’t mean anything if nobody in the world knows that it’s for sale, does it?
So here’s what you need to do to market your house and to tell the entire world that it’s for sale.
– Break out your digital camera, cell phone, disposable camera or what you have and take pics of your house. Outside front, back, side, yard, living room, dining room, kitchen, etc. you get the picture. If you have a video camera, you can do a walk-through of your place with a video camera too. The pictures are a NECESSITY but the video is not. Upload them to your computer and resize them because you’re going to need them in future steps.
– Place a for sale sign in your front yard and rear and side yards if you have them. Here’s where I get mine. Make sure you get the 18 x 24’s and make sure you pick up some metal stakes (get extra to use in the next step) so you can stick them into the ground. By the way, please do not under any circumstances forget to put your phone number on your signs when you get them home. (Sounds silly to say that doesn’t it? But some folks have done it.)
– Now here is a tactic that will get your phone to ring off the hook of potential buyers. You need to buy anywhere from 10 to 50 blank corrugated plastic signs. They should be 18 x 12 in size and they can be any color you want, but white probably works the best and is the cheapest. After you get them home you’ll need to get a thick, black, permanent marker. When you have that you want to write in your own handwriting with the marker on the signs the following:
3 bed/2 bath House Must Sell! Pottstown Area, $150k 610-555-1212
Of course, you’re going to change out the information above with your appropriate information for your home. If you house is a fixer upper try something like this:
3 bed/2 bath Needs Work! Must Sell Quickly. Area, Price, Phone Number
You can use any combination of wording, but make it seem URGENT that you need to sell. Now you need to place these signs all around your neighborhood. Put them at popular intersections, at popular stores (like Walmart, WaWa, etc.) and just put them in heavy traffic locations. You want extras because some of these will get taken down, some will blow away and some will just become dirty and ugly so you’ll want to replace them with fresh ones. I promise you that you will get calls.
– Next you’re going to want to create what’s called a Postlet. Go to Postlets.com and create an account. It is free. You’ll want to create a postlet about your house. Post your pictures, list all of the features, write up a nice description. People want to know about square footage, school districts, beds and baths, taxes, etc. You can upgrade to Postlets Plus and this will allow you to post more pictures on your postlet and also allow you to post a video, but honestly, I don’t think it’s necessary. But it can only help you market your house.
– Now, you want to go to Craigslist.org and post your house for sale there too. This is free also. You’re going to want to post in the portion of Craigslist that’s for your area. Most of you will be either posting in the Philadelphia section or the Reading section of Craigslist. You then go to housing and real estate for sale. Follow the steps, it’s pretty easy. Also, there is a Craigslist section in your Postlets, so you can merely click that link and copy and paste the code they give you into your Craigslist post and a nice little ad will appear. Don’t forget that you’re Craigslist ad is NOT posted until you get the email from them and publish it. That is the final step.
Those few things should get your phone ringing, but since you are saving thousands by not using a real estate agent you should really market even more. So here are some extra things you can do that will cost some money.
– Place a classified ad in your local paper. There are all kinds of papers that will work. You can place an ad in a daily paper, weekly paper, monthly paper, throw away papers like the Penny Pincher, etc. You can even try them all if you like. The smaller papers will be more cost effective. And keep in mind that you do not want to just run the ad for a day. That’s a waste of time and money. I suggest running it at least from Thursday to Monday for a month. See what kind of action you get and go from there. If you are under major budget constraints then you can work out a game plan that works with your pocket book. Generally, your ad will look something like this:
Downingtown, 3 bd/2 ba twin for sale by owner. New roof, central air. Must sell. 610-555-1212
Of course, insert the info that is appropriate to your home. You can even use the same type of ad that you handwrote on your blank corrugated plastic signs. Remember that with classified ads you are pretty much paying per word. One word of caution: don’t try to create crazy abbreviations for your ad so you can fit more words in. A lot of folks may not know what your abbreviation means so it may confuse them and keep them from calling. The classified ad rep from the paper will sometimes suggest abbreviations for words to make things fit, just be cautious that it is a standard abbreviation that most folks know what it means like br for bedrooms or ba for bathrooms. Don’t get fancy with abbreviations, trust me.