Monday, September 12, 2011

5 Easy Steps to Sell Your House FSBO

Selling your house in this market can be difficult, but these tips to sell your house can help. Homeowners sometimes feel about their houses like parents feel about their children. They tend to turn a soft eye to things that buyers key on when they view your house. When you go to sell, you have to think from a buyers perspective.

1.  Price your house right. If you are selling your own house, you need to get as much information about listing prices for houses like yours and more important actual sales prices for similar houses. Find out how long it takes to sell a house in your market commonly known as the Days On Market (DOM). The DOM is a good indictor of how long on average houses are taking to sell. If your DOM is higher than the current average, that generally means that your price is too high or your house is not competitive for other reasons. A dropping DOM tells you your market may be stabilizing or moving up while a rising DOM may indicate more price drops or higher market times in the near future. It is very important in a market with rising DOM to price your house a bit lower than the last comparable sale for your best chance to sell. Do not wait for a lower sale to happen, instead price your house a bit lower than the last house sold. That is the best way to get an appraisal and close before lower priced sales drive your price down farther. Be the cutting edge of pricing not under the knife of repeated price drops.

2.  Think like a professional. Check sites like Realty Times for market condition reports or ask a local agent if you can get a Comparative Market Report (CMA) for a fee. Pay attention to the the trend up or down. You need to get exposure for your house and that may include paying for a flat fee MLS listing that offers a partial commission to agents who bring you buyers. Do not pass up the chance as a FSBO to snag buyers that are already represented by an agent. Instead offer the agent a partial commission upfront so they have an incentive to show your home and make the showings easy for them. Doing both those things will encourage agents to show your house and get a buyer interested.

3.  Make sure your house is ready to show. Small repair issues can signal trouble to buyers deeper than the actual issue itself. Although you need to focus on the aesthetic look of the house along the lines of traditional staging, inexpensive and simple repair items can become major turn offs for buyers. Missing switch plates, dripping faucets, old water stains in paint or simple surface cracks in drywall that an owner might ignore read to a skittish buyer as electrical problems, defective plumbing, active leaks in the roof and major foundation problems. In fact, each of those small issues is inexpensive to address, so make the small repairs and take them out of the mix before the buyer ever sees them. The better kept and better looking your house is the faster it will sell.

4.  Buyers are visual so photos and websites for your house must be top rate. Shooting excellent house photos and placing them on multiple sites will give your buyers the best impression of your house and lead to more showings. If buyers don't like your photos, they will pass by your listing without ever seeing it in person. Too many houses go to market without good photos. Houses are like models for buyers. Your house should look better in pictures not worse than it actually is. Shoot exterior photos early in the morning on a clear or high overcast day when the soft sun makes everything look better. Photos shot at that time have colors more true to life and lend a pleasant softness to your exterior shots. Using a wide angle lens for house portrait shots also makes the house scale look more pleasing to buyers. Interior photos should be taken when rooms look their best and are brightest.

5.  Give buyers something new to look at. Fresh flowers along the walk, a potted azalea on the back deck, a new faucet in the kitchen or a freshly painted front door lend interest and suggest to buyers that you care for your house. Before spending significant money, be sure to consider the cost vs. value report to see the average return on improvement projects in your area. Spend your energy neutralizing the house, but add some new focus features to existing rooms to make them pop. Top returns come from small changes like paint, front door refurbishment, a minor kitchen reface or that addition of a outside deck. If your house is dated, think about replacing a strong element in one room. My last house had almond tub tile with a dark green border and green laminate counters. When I sold, I left the green tile border alone, but replaced the countertop with a more neutral almond color and added a new faucet. Total cost was less than $200, but it made the 1980's bathroom look great. The lighter counter also made the room look bigger. Keep your eye on value and give your buyers a fresh improvement to set your house apart.

Keeping these five things in mind when you sell your house will help you sell your house in any market. Remember, buyers have a lot of choices, so you want to take the time to make your house stand out. If you price for the market, have a solid marketing strategy, polish your house so it looks it's best and give buyers something new to peak their interest your house will sell in no time.

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