Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
Selling a home is a complex and time-consuming process, involving countless details, long hours and exhausting legwork. Still, many home sellers opt to take the "For Sale by Owner" route. To help you determine if you can successfully sell your home yourself, carefully review the following steps.
Step One. Thoroughly research information regarding the price and terms of sales in today's real estate market. Investigate recent sale prices of properties similar to yours in your immediate area. Know lot size and current tax information. You'll also need existing loan information and your state's or province's property disclosure laws.
Step Two. Meet with local lenders and determine financing alternatives for your prospective buyers.
Step Three. Conduct your own mini walk-through inspection. Jot down all items that need repair or improvement. Your checklist might include: fresh paint throughout; clean windows and window coverings throughout; well-manicured lawn and yard; plumbing and all appliances in working order; all sealants (window, tub, shower, sink, etc.) in good condition; roof and gutters in good condition—no repair needed.
Step Four. Make all necessary repairs and improvements before you begin to advertise the property.
Step Five. Be available at all times to walk through the property with prospective buyers, while answering questions and offering information about local schools, parks, transportation, shopping, houses of worship, etc.
Step Six. Establish a marketing budget.
Step Seven. Determine which newspapers will best advertise your property. Call them for rates and deadlines.
Step Eight. Prepare a professional, attention-getting advertisement that will attract the right buyers to your property. Place your ad in the newspaper(s), then check that it ran as placed.
Step Nine. Prepare a plan to reach local buyers as well as those out-of-town buyers, who account for a major portion of today's home purchasers.
Step Ten. Purchase an eye-catching and weatherproof yard sign; install it at the front of your property.
Step Eleven. Purchase special "open house" signs and install them in paths leading from main roads or thoroughfares, through the neighborhood, to the property.
Put these signs out each time you hold an open house, and be sure to remove them following each open house.
Step Twelve. Prepare a "feature/benefit fact sheet" outlining specific features of your home and the corresponding benefits to prospective purchasers.
Step Thirteen. Schedule and conduct open house "weekdays" as well as open weekends.
Step Fourteen. Learn how to separate the "lookers" from the qualified buyers. Ask for names and phone numbers, and be sure to follow up with telephone calls.
Step Fifteen. Be prepared to negotiate with the buyer(s) as though you are an impartial third party. Remain calm and refrain from any emotional outburst that might spoil the sale.
Step Sixteen. Obtain all forms necessary for the legal sale of real property such as Deposit Receipt and Offer to Purchase, Buyer's Cost Sheet, and Seller's Disclosure Form (in our increasingly litigious society, it is imperative to disclose all known defects to the buyer(s).)
Step Seventeen. Determine the type(s) of financing you are willing to consider, such as FHA, VA, Seller Carryback First Loan, Conventional Loan With Seller Carryback Second Loan, and "Wrap Around" Loan.
Step Eighteen. Negotiate with the buyer(s) all final terms of the sale including price, financing, inspections, date of closing, date of possession and other pertinent considerations. Have an attorney review contracts if appropriate.
Step Nineteen. Plan a final walk-through with the buyer(s) before the settlement process is complete in order to resolve any dispute. Have a witness present.
Step Twenty. While marketing your current property, locate and negotiate to purchase your next home. Attempt to schedule both transactions to close simultaneously so you and the buyer can move at the same time.
Many home sellers feel very comfortable in the "For Sale By Owner" role. However, people pressed by limited time and energy may be better suited to partnering with a real estate professional. While making efficient use of your time, a pro can manage the entire process and steer it toward a successful sale.
"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.
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