1. Correct Pricing – In a buyer’s market, shoppers have plenty of options to choose from. The larger the inventory, the more choices buyers have – and the more price-competitive you need to be. Buyers will discard overpriced homes and concentrate on those that are not over-priced. All broker listed real estate is either over-priced by the amount of the commission or at least less price flexible because of the commission. You have a huge advantage selling privately. Don’t blow it by trying to compete with broker listed properties in price! You don’t have to reduce your price by six or seven percent; just one to two percent will make worlds of difference. You will sell faster than the brokers and you will still net more than had you used a broker in the first place! A current appraisal by an independent, certified appraiser is simply the best tool available to you to obtain your current market value. Plus, it gives you a negotiating tool to help sell for the most money. Don’t use an appraisal that Weed for Sale you got for a refinance or loan. The news is full of stories of properties that were over-appraised for a loan. Tell your appraiser that you are having the appraisal done to arrive at a sales price, not to get a loan. Don’t tell them what prior appraisals have come in at. Don’t tell the appraiser what you think the property is worth. Let them be as objective as possible. You can tell them how quickly you’d like to sell though. This can make a difference in your asking price. Remember that price isn’t always just a matter of “what it’s worth”. It’s also a function of your goals.
2. Exposure – Lack of exposure is the single biggest mistake sellers make other than incorrect pricing. Buyers use many different methods to find homes including the web, publications and plain old “driving around”. You need a comprehensive program to ensure you are reaching the maximum number of buyers. Don’t skimp on marketing! Where you make your money is in your commission savings, not in “how cheap can I do this”! Use the web. Use FSBO homes magazines. Use the newspaper. Use flyers. Use signs. Use word of mouth. I recommend a marketing budget of 1% of the properties asking price. Most of the time you’ll never spend that much, but if you budget it, you won’t get caught underspending either.
NOTE: If items one and two above aren’t done properly, items three and four below won’t help at all. Buyers will either bypass you altogether because you’re priced too high or they’ll never know you are for sale in the first place. There are only two keys to selling real estate: Price it right and expose it to buyers. If you don’t do both properly, your sales experience will likely be a bad one.
3. Curb Appeal – Buyers make an initial decision to look at a home based on price and then on curb appeal. If you’ve priced it right you can ensure a buyer will want to look at your home by improving curb appeal.
Landscaping – Keep lawns cut, edged and use a trimmer for areas the mower can’t reach. Remove and replace any overgrown shrubs which obscure the features of the home. The top of shrubs should never block any of the front windows. Plant lots of flowers (800% potential return on investment!). Pick all weeds and make all needed repairs to screens windows, shutter and peeling or worn paint.
Front Entryway – An attractive front door welcomes buyers. Repaint or clean it and any windows in it or around it. Clean off any scuff marks and add a seasonal welcome wreath. If the screen door is in fair or poor condition, remove it. Sweep all walkways and porches.
4. Prepare Your Home’s Interior – This is so important that an new industry, called “staging” has spring up. Ever been in a beautifuly decorated model home? Remember how you wanted to immediately move in? One of the main goals of staging is to de-personalize and declutter your home. Buyers want to see their home, not your home. Equally as important is to clean, clean, clean!
Jim Stewart is the founder and President of Oz Sold It, a “For Sale By Owner” company based in Springfield, MO and has helped his customers save hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions. His customers typically sell 25% faster than area broker listed properties. Mr. Stewart publishes a homes magazine for his “for sale by owner” customers and publishes multiple “fFSBO” web sites including
Mr. Stewart has also spent over 15 years in sales and marketing in banking and financial services. The bulk of that time was spent in residential lending, helping consumers find affordable financing to buy their dream home or helping them save money by refinancing that dream home. Mr. Stewart has also been a financial planner and was the Vice President in charge of Retail Banking and Marketing for the largest community bank in his hometown. Mr. Stewart’s experiences in selling multiple properties “by owner” coupled with his FSBO business and mortgage lending experiences have given him a unique view of the real estate transaction.