Selling your house by yourself or really by owner, that is, has become a really attractive option to sellers looking to save some money. But is selling a house by yourself really that easy and less expensive? When it comes to selling a home by owner, there are several things to consider and know to do before starting the process. And that’s ok that you may not know them all, because it’s not every day you sell a house. However, to make the process easier, we have put together a lot of great information to help decide if you should try to sell your home in Lincoln, Nebraska by yourself.
Selling A House By Yourself In Lincoln
Reasons To Sell Your House By Owner
The biggest reason people are trying to sell their house on their own is because of the money it will potentially save. Agent commissions are not cheap, and depending on how much your home sells for, that can eat into a lot of your profits. Typically realtor commissions cost 6%, and if the potential buyer is using their own agent, 3% will go to your agent, and 3% goes to the buyer’s agent. For example, if your house sells for $300,000, you will be paying $18,000 in realtor commissions. Depending on how much equity you have, that can really reduce your profits, which is why home sellers often attempt to sell their homes without a real estate agent. It’s merely a matter of cost.
With that fact in mind, let’s look at these five steps that will help you to sell your house by yourself.
How To Sell Your House By Yourself
If you’ve decided to sell by owner, you will need to know what to do from start to finish. So to get started, you will want to follow these five steps:
Step 1: Figure Out The Fair Market Value Of Your Home
This step is the most important, so it’s critical to get this step right. If you price your house too low, you may walk away with less money. When prospective buyers see a home priced lower than other houses in the same neighborhood, they assume something is wrong with it.
Furthermore, pricing too high can be a problem also. Pricing too high can cause your house to sit on the market for months without selling. At that point, your only strategy would be to drop the price down to where it should have been in the first place— costing you that precious window of opportunity for people to see your listing in the beginning, which is typically when a home gets the most attention from prospective buyers.
How To Determine The Value Of Your Home
There are three primary ways you can determine the value of your property.
- Use online real estate estimators
Several sites offer free estimates of your property, but be cautious; these sites don’t take into account important details about your home. Including the condition of your home and any upgrades you have made. Though free and easy to get, they could be off by many thousands of dollars, so use with caution.
- Get a market analysis from a real estate agent
A real estate agent can do a detailed analysis of your home, based on sales of comparable properties in your area. This service is generally free, and the estimate will be pretty accurate.
Since the agent is doing the analysis, usually with the intent of listing your property, you will likely get a sales pitch. Also, something to keep in mind, the real estate agent may give a high estimate on the property to encourage you to list with him or her.
- Hire a licensed appraiser
To get the most accurate and unbiased estimate of your property’s value, hiring a property appraiser is a good idea. Also, you can use the appraisal as a useful reference of the value of your home when negotiating the sale price with buyers,
The only downside to hiring a licensed appraiser is the cost. Most appraisers in Lincoln, Nebraska, charge anywhere from $300 to $500 to do a report. Also, since you are ordering the appraisal yourself, the report will not be accepted as an appraisal for the mortgage application by the buyer.
Step 2: Prepare The House To Sell
To start this step, you will want to slowly walk through your house and view it through a buyers’ eyes. Asking yourself, If I were buying this property, what about it, wouldn’t I like?
Even though you are starting with a negative, that’s the point. When prospective buyers look at your home, they are very aware that every flaw in the house will become their problem after they move in. Also, they are looking at the general appearance of the home. Does it have a nice curb appeal? Does the house have a good layout? Does it feel like home?
Viewing your home as a buyer is easier said than done since you own the home. But it helps to be critical. If it’s hard for you to evaluate your home that way, getting an outsider’s opinion would help. Just remember, if you ask for help, you can’t be offended at what that person reveals. You have to keep in mind that your goal is to sell your property successfully.
Unfortunately, general wear and tear takes a toll on your home, and depending on the age of your home, repairs may be needed before putting your house on the market. Here are some repairs or improvements you might want to make:
- Make minor repairs- Leaky faucets, loose door handles, window frames that stick, or electrical switches and lights that don’t work correctly. If you have a garage door opener, make sure that it is also in working order.
- Touch up or repaint any rooms in the house that are looking tired. Picking natural colors would be advised.
- Declutter the whole house: closets, attic, the basement, and the garage. If you have become a bit of a hoarder, hiring a professional organizer would be helpful. Also, reducing the number of furnishings and personal items you have in each room is important. This will help to show more space and for buyers to visualize living there.
- Clean the entire house and make sure it smells fresh. Pets can cause odors in the home and on carpets. If you need help deep cleaning, you could always hire a professional cleaning crew. The typical cost of a professional cleaner is $50 to $90 per hour. Also, cleaning the carpets will help to deodorize the house.
If you don’t have time to complete all these improvements or your home needs more work than you thought you might want to look into selling it as-is. Selling as-is a good option to save you time and money, as well as save you the hassle of doing repairs yourself.
Step 3: Start Marketing Your Home
Unfortunately, there is not some secret formula to sell your house quickly. But some basic strategies would include:
- Getting a good yard sign
Yard signs are in front of every home you have ever seen offered for sale. You also will need to do the same. You can usually find For Sale signs in office supply stores or at hardware stores. And it wouldn’t hurt to spend a little bit more on a good quality sign.
- Create brochures or sales flyers
You will want to have a supply of flyers readily available to give to anyone looking at your home and anyone you meet who shows interest in your listing. Creating brochures is pretty easy and can be done online using a Word document. You will want to include all the important details of your home, and even adding some attractive graphics wouldn’t hurt either. Also, you will want to add several photos of both the inside and outside of the home. Hiring a professional photographer would be recommended; they have the skills to capture great images and tools to edit pictures to enhance your home. The average cost of a professional photographer in Lincoln, Nebraska, ranges from $150 to $300.
- Advertise online
There are several popular websites where you can advertise your home online. One is Zillow.com, and another dedicated site for people selling by owner is forsalebuyowner.com. You can always try Facebook and Craigslist. Do be aware though that some websites may charge you a listing fee.
- Host open houses
Allowing people to walk through your home is another way to market your property. Usually, open houses are done on Saturday or Sunday and work best when the weather is nice. You should start advertising your open house at least a week before. And the day of you will want to set out signs to lead people to your open house.
Tip: With the current health concern of COVID-19, instead of hosting open houses, you may want to hire someone to make a virtual video of your home. That way, potential buyers can view your home online.
Step 4: Negotiate The Sale Of Your Home
Since you are selling by owner, be prepared to handle negotiating any offer that comes your way. The buyer will likely come in with an offer below your asking price. They may also include some conditions, such as having you pay the closing costs. If their initial offer is not acceptable, you will have to go back and forth. Ideally, as you come down on the price, the buyer comes up. You will need to decide exactly how low you are willing to go on price. Negotiating is usually done verbally. Once you both agree on the basics and price, the buyer will submit a written offer.
Step 5: The Closing
When it comes to selling something expensive, like a house, getting legal advice would be recommended. Keep in mind that the closing usually occurs in the offices of an attorney or title company that you and the buyer both agree on. For legal advice and to close on your house, legal fees typically cost a few thousand dollars. You will want to ensure the necessary documentation is ready for the title company and maintain contact with the buyer throughout the process. The biggest thing you will be waiting on during closing is the buyer’s mortgage to be approved. Unfortunately, if it doesn’t, you will be back to marketing your house all over again.
Selling a house by yourself is not an easy task, and you may discover along the way that you aren’t saving a lot of time or money like you thought you would. The other option, selling your house with a real estate agent, isn’t the best either because of all the realtor fees. Furthermore, they likely will recommend that you do costly repairs and upgrades to help sell your home.
At the end of the day, both options are a waiting game with no guarantee of when your house will sell.
Find A Home Buyer
The easiest way by far to sell your home is to work with a local real estate investor. The difference with selling to a real estate investor is that they pay in cash. So, they can close on your house in as little as 7 days since they aren’t waiting on mortgage approval like a typical buyer. Furthermore, real estate investors, also known as home buyers, purchase houses in as-is condition. They usually have a team in place to handle repairs. All you would need to do is move out, no cleaning or improvements are necessary.
If you have a home in the Lincoln Nebraska area that you’re thinking about selling yourself, instead give Element home buyers a call. They are a family-owned, BBB accredited business. They require no repairs and will buy a house in any condition, no matter the circumstances.
Our team looks forward to helping you!