Since my last post about renting vs. selling we’ve sold our home. Only two weeks after we put the sign in the yard we accepted an offer, without using a realtor. Here is why and how we did it…
Why sell by owner instead of using a realtor?
Realtors are paid a percentage of the sale price of the home. Thus selling by owner can save you up to 7% off the sale price. In our case it will save us 3% because our buyer has an agent. Normally the seller pays both realtor fees. Three percent might not sound like much, but for us it’s about $5,000 saved.
What are the keys to selling by owner?
Selling a home is about getting to as many potential buyers as possible. Realtors have an advantage because they know buyers, buyers agents, have a good network, and can list on the Multiple List Service. Selling by owner is not for everyone and most realtors provide a good and needed service. In our case we felt like we had a good network and the ability to reach a broad audience.
Here is how we reached out to potential buyers:
- We had lived in the same area for 11 years. That meant we had thousands of Facebook friends in the area and the ability to list on the alumni classifieds of our nearby alma mater.
- My wife is a photographer and we used our blog to send information out about our home.
- I am the Home Owner Association president and have to approve every home sale in the neighborhood. So I knew about some companies and other entities interested in homes in our neighborhood.
We used all of these channels, along with Zillow, to get the word out about our house.
Another key to success is defining how long you plan to try and sell on your own. In our case we set a deadline of three weeks. If we didn’t have any hot leads in three weeks we were turning it over to an agent.
In the first week we had multiple showings. Ultimately our buyer was someone who wanted to use our home as a rental. I knew about this company because of my work as HOA president. I called them up and said we had a great house, priced to sell. They came and looked at it and made a good offer. And the rest they say…is history.
A few things we learned along the way:
1. Take good photos. Here is the site we used to advertise. Now that we are on the buying side, we are amazed at the terrible photos people take of their homes.
2. Make sure the price is right. Your house is not made of gold nails, sorry, so price accordingly. An exact model of our same home was on the market down the street, so we knew our competition and price range.
3. Follow up on every lead multiple times. You are now a “salesman.” That means getting on the phone and calling people. Yes, it can be terrifying. It will also sell your home.
4. If you don’t feel comfortable selling yourself, then don’t. Realtors provide a good service.
I enjoyed the process of learning to sell a home. We made some mistakes along the way. We are thankful the right buyer came at the right time.
Now to buying a home…