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SELL YOUR HOME: For Sale By Owner

You have decided to sell your home! The next decision you have before you is whether you will hire a real estate agent or sell your home yourself. The term commonly used when you sell your own home is "for sale by owner" or FSBO. Due to advances in technology and the internet, many people are taking on the task of selling their own homes. You do not need a license to sell your home, but you will have to become familiar with the real estate market and legal jargon to be a successful home seller, sop consider this to be your tutorial.


Pros of FSBO

There are several advantages to selling your own home. Not only do you get to avoid signing a contract, but you also know your home inside and out and know what its best features are. Plus, you can set your own schedule instead of being forced out at inconvenient times!

A real estate agent would typically put a home seller on a schedule when booking appointments and planning an open house. As a FSBO, though, you will be able to organize your own schedule and work to sell your home when it’s suitable for you. This means you can decide when to clean your house, give tours, take phone calls and settle contracts.

Best Selling Points
Whether you have lived in your home for a year or several years, you know what the best selling points of your home are. No one knows better than you which areas of the house get the most light, which areas have been recently renovated and just what you have planted in your garden. A real estate agent may not be as honest or endearing as you, since you have actually lived in your house. And this can make all the difference when it comes to selling your home quickly.

No Contract
If you hire a real estate agent, you will have to sign a commission contract. In the U.S., an agent may charge anywhere from 6% to 10% commission. If your home is too overpriced for the market, you might end up paying your agent for several months. Of course, if you’ve decided to go the FSBO-route, then there won’t be any contracts to sign, no agent to pay, and no commission fee to dole out. The entire sale price will go to you instead.


Cons of FSBO

As advantageous as selling your home yourself can be, there are a few downsides to FSBO homes.

Overpricing or Under-Pricing
Many real-estate internet websites claim that overpricing or under-pricing is one of the biggest mistakes FSBO’s can make. If you overprice your home, you could be turning away many eligible homebuyers. However, by under-pricing your home, you run the risk of not getting the actual dollar worth of your home.

Marketing/Advertising Paperwork
By not hiring a real estate agent, in addition to cleaning your house and clearing away clutter, you will be responsible for administering all the paperwork involved. You will need to put together a comprehensive pamphlet on your home, listing the cost of amenities, utility bills and other important information. You will need to have a professional sale sign for your front lawn and to post a photo and contact information on intenet FSBO sites, grocery store bulletin boards, newspapers and in any other possible media outlets.

Legal Jargon
If you’re not familiar with the home buying process, there is a good chance that you will not understand all the real estate terms and legal jargon required to sell your home and complete paperwork. While it is possible to find out this information through the internet, you may als o need or want to hire a lawyer for consultation. Unfortunately, you may end up paying exorbitant legal fees for a few hours of a lawyer’s time and expertise.

As an FSBO, potential home buyers will need to be able to contact you to book home-viewing appointments. You may have to set up hours when you will receive phone calls if you are working and adapt your schedule to fit prospective home buyer’s needs. You might even consider setting up a direct phone line to your answering machine where interested buyers can leave a message.


Steps to Sell Your Home

Home Inspection and Appraisal
In order to ascertain the market value of your home, you will need to have your home inspected and appraised. It is best to hire a licensed inspector from professional organizations such as the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

You will also need to have your home inspected to resolve any potential safety issues before you put your house on the market. This will give you more professional documentation that you can show to potential home buyers and allows you to look at your home critically.

To assess the value of your home and property, you will need to hire a certified appraiser. Depending on the size of your home, the appraisal could take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours, but it is well worth your time to find the market value of your home. To find an certified appraiser in your area, you can contact the Appraisal Institute.

Advertise Effectively
Whether you are advertising your home on your front lawn or in the newspaper, your message should be clear and legible. An effective home advertisement should mention the major selling features of your home and should not be written with confusing abbreviations. You should always leave a phone number where you can be reached and a reliable e-mail address.

Signing a Contract
When it comes time to sealing the deal, you and the home buyer will have to sign a real estate contract. As mentioned before, it may be necessary to hire a real estate lawyer to review the negotiated contract before you sign it in order to avoid complications later. You can find a real estate lawyer on the internet or in the local yellow pages.

The obvious advantage of selling your own home is that you have virtually all control from the initial advertising to signing the final contract. However, you are also responsible and liable for the sale should any problems arise in the future. If you think you could be a FSBO, it is important to do as much research and reading on the topic in order to be fully informed on the process and procedures of selling real estate.