Do you really need a realtor these days? Yes and no. Yes, you can absolutely sell your house yourself, No, it’s not as easy as you think, but below I will outline how to do it, should you decide to go that route.
With the emergence of sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia, the real estate industry has switched from a Need-based to a Knowledge-based industry. You no longer NEED to hire an agent, in fact with many agents you could do better doing it yourself. A good realtor will know how to negotiate, will be a community expert, great marketer, and very knowledgeable with regards to all standard contracts and state forms.
If you know just enough to get yourself in trouble, you will get yourself in trouble.
Here are my steps to a successful FSBO (For Sale By Owner)
1. Determine your market value. You can obviously familiarize yourself with what is selling in your area by visiting Zillow and such, but pay $30 for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) from smartzip, to help properly valuate your property. A CMA will provide you with comparable sales and active listings. You need to be informed if you are negotiating with a potential buyer.
2. Pay an MLS-only type service about $300 to list your house in the MLS and offer at least 2.5% to any buyer’s agent that brings you a buyer. Use pictures from an experienced real estate photographer (yes it matters) and stage your home if vacant or make presentable if you still live there (yes, that matters too).
3. List your house on Craigslist and forsalebyowner.com using postlets or vflyer to create a virtual flyer.
4. Put a sign in your yard with color flyers (you can put some black and white as back- up) and a web address linking potential buyers to your home.
5. Run a Facebook ad campaign targeted at women engaged or married between the ages of 25 and 35 in your area, and create a Google AdWords pay-per-click campaign for the keywords “[neighborhood (not city) name] homes for sale”, Enter specifics better than just the city name.
I. Black Gold Properties for sale
ii. Yorba Linda High School Home
iii. Horse Property for sale
6. Enlist a good Escrow Company to help you with the transaction (this will cost you on average about 1% of the purchase price). The escrow officer is the “quarterback” of the transaction. A good one will make all the difference in the world. If your buyer is represented by an agent, they may insist on using their escrow agent. If you know your escrow agent to be a good one, don’t let them talk you into using theirs. Here in Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills, the seller typically chooses the escrow companies.
7. Price it Right! If you are not getting a lot of feedback in your first 3 weeks. This is an indication that your house is overpriced.
8. Disclose, Disclose, Disclose. The standard California Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) used by any agent (at least a competent one) will require you to have all disclosures to the buyer with 5 days of when their offer was presented to you. Disclosures will be different based on the property being sold. Your escrow officer may be able to help you with this.
9. Ask buyer to remove their contingencies (if they have any). Contingencies are typically removed after 17 days of accepted offer, but again depends on what is written in the contract. Read and Understand the contract, before accepting any offer.
Selling your house without an agent is akin to setting up your corporation or living trust on LegalZoom, sure it can be done and save you money up front, but you never know what it will cost you down the road, or what small mistakes may hurt you.
Educate yourself and selling your house without an agent can definitely be done.