Successfully Selling Your Home WITHOUT a Realtor

I was a realtor for 20+ years and now help run a website for FSBOs (FOR SALE BY OWNER sellers). It’s easy to predict success for some FSBOs and failure for others. Would you like to know what the indicators are?

To begin with, the FSBOs headed for success have lots of photos on their advertisements. The homes look attractive, uncluttered, and tidy. There is a visual intimation of value relative to the asking price. Information is given clearly, and is easy to read. A buyer’s basic questions are answered. Contact information is provided and so is the address of the property and driving directions (or a link to a map) to facilitate “drive-bys.”

What about the FSBOs with “failure” written all over them? Typically, no (or few) pictures are provided. The information is full of abbreviations, lower case letters, and incomplete sentences, so it’s hard to figure out what the seller is trying to say. These ads tend to raise more questions than they answer. It’s not unusual to read these quickly done, poorly thought out ads and conclude that the asking price sounds awfully high for what is being offered.

Of course, there’s more to selling your home than attractive Internet ads. It’s necessary for the price to actually BE good compared to the house itself and other similar homes that have sold in the neighborhood. The house has to be readily available for potential buyers who want to see it in person, and it needs to be in the same condition it was when the attractive pictures were taken.

Successful FSBOs also devise many ways of getting out the fact that their home is FOR SALE. In addition to Internet ads, they’re apt to run classified ads in the local paper and/or the papers in a nearby city that is a commuter destination for their community. They might do community bulletin board ads, ads in newsletters they get, change their phone answering message to include something about the home that’s FOR SALE, place a sign (or signs) on the property, use LEAD-IN signs with directional arrows from the nearest high traffic street to their property, and make brochures (with interior photos) for a brochure holder they position near the curb. They might send letters or one page flyers to their neighbors. They’re creative and energetic about getting the word out.

By contrast, unsuccessful FSBOs tend to be much more passive.

Successful FSBOs tend to look toward “the next step.” They line up a source, or sources, for a real estate “contract of purchase and sale,” talk to several settlement officers (real estate attorney, title company, settlement company, escrow company – it varies from one area to another) about who does what in the settlement process, what the price range is for each service, and so on. They are alert to ways to pre-solve problems and move the process along. They’re pro-active about finding out how to get from where they are to where they want to be.

Success leaves clues. Big ones. Behave like a successful FSBO long enough, and you’re apt to find that you ARE one.