Anticipation is the key word. Meaning: ‘the act of looking forward’. Selling your property this spring means getting it ready now through anticipation. You need to anticipate what the buyer will think and do. Remember the buyer is looking for reasons not to buy your house, so get it ready and minimize the buyers concerns. You remember being a buyer when you bought your current home. How many did you look at? You probably drove around areas you liked, looked in the local classifieds, researched on the internet, talked to friends/family/co-workers, etc. Now is the time to use that experience plus the following FSBO tips:
1. Prepare the exterior: start by taking a photo of your house from the road. That is the first impression the buyer will have. Take a good look. Can you see the house or do you mostly see trees and bushes? Time to do major trimming. After trimming, go take another photo and what do you see? Are all gutters, shutters, trim, screen doors, etc attached and looking good. Or do they need repair, paint or replacement. After those improvements, take another photo from the road. Once you are satisfied, walk from the road up the driveway to the walkway and up the steps to the front door. Do you see any cracks or broken concrete? You need to repair. Finally, the buyer will appreciate a freshly painted front door and door bell that works. Once all is completed, take the main photo of your property that you will use in your marketing. Always take the main photo from the corner of your property away from the garage. Nothing worse then looking to buy your next dream house and all you see is two car garage door.
2. Prepare the interior: First thing is start packing. You plan to sell you property and move? Well, start packing up right now. This may sound strange, but you need to pack up all items that are going with you and you can live without for a few months during this process. This is the hardest thing to do, but here are the reasons. 1. Your personal items such as; family photos, decorations, collections, excess appliances, excess furniture/lamps/chairs, etc are distracting to the buyers as they look around. Do you want them to concentrate on your family photos and furniture or have them visualize their family photos and furniture in each room? 2. Removing these items make the room look bigger, thus the perception of greater value 3. This eliminates the buyers seeing something he likes and puts it in the offer to purchase, things like an expensive rug, custom drapes, pool table, patio furniture, etc. Also, if you plan to take the dining room chandelier, a special bathroom mirror, etc. you need to replace them now, so the buyer see exactly what they are getting. Once you have packed up/minimized items in each room, just like the exterior start taking pictures. Study those photos as this is what the buyers will see. Does any room need to be repainted, carpet replace, or light fixture repaired? Do it now. Nothing worse then walking around with a potential buyer and the seller telling them, don’t worry I plan to fix that, replace this, repaint over there, etc. Do it before the buyer gets that impression fixed in their brain. A Quick Tip for the kitchen: new cabinet knobs, new curtains/blinds, or a fresh coat of neutral paint
3. Prepare mentally: Your goal is to sell your real estate to someone else. It is very hard to do, but you cannot be emotional. You bought a home, now you are selling a house. It will be someone else’s home.
4. Prepare your marketing: 1. Signage - it has been proven over and over again. The more quality your yard sign the faster you will sell and for a better price. Hand painted signs nailed to a tree by the road tells the buyer there is no pride of ownership. Quality signs come with your FSBO.com Complete Package or you can purchase separately. 2. Brochures - like the sign, good quality colored brochures. 3. Internet: 90% of all buyers now start their search on the Internet. First thing, go to www.Zillow.com, claim your house, mark it ‘for sale’ and correct all incorrect information. Next choose which websites to advertise. There a plenty to pick from, some free like Craiglist.com and with that charge, but offer unlimited photos, video upload, better display, search, service and longer time period, such as: FSBO.com. 4. Word of mouth: don’t be shy about your property for sale. Neighbors, friends, relative some times know people that are looking in your area.
5. Pricing: Buyers may go to Zillow.com or the county tax assessor to get an estimate and see what you paid. You need to defend the price you are asking and you need to prove the value based on recent sales in the area. While foreclosed properties have hurt in this area, bank appraisers usually don’t take them into consideration. A recent appraisal is very helpful
6. Contracts, escrow and closing: First thing is to work backwards. In the end you will be sitting at a closing table with an attorney or title company. Find one now so you know who will handle the following: 1. title search/insurance 2. hold the escrow deposit 3. provide form contracts to use 4. HUD1 closing statement as required by law. This person/company wants your business so they are usually very friendly and will answer any questions you may have. You can probably start by checking with the closing attorney/title company that handled the closing when you bought the property.
I know books with hundreds of pages have been written on this subject. Hopefully this article will help guide you through the process and you will successfully sell ‘by owner’