by Michael Arthur
If you decided to sell your home by yourself, you should know the basics of the home selling process.
I know it’s tempting to try to save the commission by selling the property yourself. A few people are comfortable in the role of “For Sale By Owner.” But before you undertake the monumental task of handling your own home sale, you should understand what it takes to sell a home in today’s market, for the best price in the shortest time, and achieve a trouble-free sale.
Price Your Home To Sell
To set a competitive price—neither too high nor too low—objectively compare the price, condition and features of all similar area homes on the market now, as well as those that have sold in the past six months. Be familiar with the terms of each sale—often today terms are as important as price. Prepare a net proceeds sheet to estimate how much you will actually gain from the sale. A prospective buyer may also ask for an estimate of buying costs.
Research Pre-Sale Details
Be prepared with contracts and forms to handle seller’s disclosure, purchase contract, mortgage payoff, deposit receipt, buyer’s cost sheet, loan application, property profile fact sheet, closing and settlement statement, personal property exclusion list, property survey, and other such matters, to help a buyer make a decision on your home and to satisfy many legal requirements. Fix Up for Sale Do a pre-selling walk-through inspection, noting all the repairs and fix-ups necessary to make your home stand out from the competition. Complete the repairs before selling.
Maximize Your Home’s Exposure
Spread the word about your home sale through advertising, open houses, and especially by telling everyone you know. Signs and ads reach only a small percentage of potential buyers—most buyers come from referrals of satisfied customers and co-operating multi-list brokers, not advertising. Consider ways to reach out-of-town buyers. Be ready to answer the phone and give every prospect a house tour at the prospect’s convenience. 1 Whether you list with me, as a professional real estate specialist, or have
Make sure your prospects can afford your home and are truly interested in buying. Carefully analyse their financial standing, including salary, debts, liabilities, job security and creditworthiness. Be prepared to follow up prospects with phone calls. Show The Home Objectively During the tour, stay in the background and let the prospect discover the home. Be careful not to become defensive if buyers point out flaws by pointing out the home’s compensating factors. Tailor your comments to fit the prospects’ needs and interests.
Try to keep interest in the sale high while you resolve buyer doubts, agree on the price, terms, inspections, date of possession as well as respond to any objections. Be prepared to explain the contract to the buyers and write amendments. Have the contract examined by your real estate attorney.
Provide Financing Assistance
Many buyers need assistance finding the right financing to help them purchase. Explain the financing pros and cons of different types of financing (contact your present lender for help) and identify the lenders who offer the various types. Thoroughly explain all loans, points, taxes, ownership costs, closing cost, title insurance, and so on.
Handle Settlement Details
Manage settlement details carefully to prevent problems and a lost or delayed sale. Schedule inspections, conduct the buyer’s walk through inspection, obtain all the necessary paperwork (including the legally-required settlement statement), follow through with the lender and answer questions about settlement details. As you can see my job as a professional real estate specialist takes more than just matching a buyer with a house. But only you can decide if the commission is worth it. Naturally, I think it is. Whether or not you list your home with me, I’m here to help.
The Bottom Line: Save the Commission
Although it is possible, in my experience home sellers who want to save the sales commission rarely realize those savings. In most cases, when a professional real estate specialist is involved in the sale, the sellers pocket more net cash— typically as much as they wanted, or more—and still pay for professional services. Below are several reasons why. Most buyers use a Realtor because it costs the buyer nothing for the service, which is usually paid by the seller. A few bargain-hunting buyers seek out “For Sale By Owner” homes, expecting to save the commission the “For Sale By Owner” hopes to save. Buying for less is their primary concern, and this is reflected in typical low-ball offers. Opportunistic speculators and investors offer less for a “For Sale By Owner” home. Without a Realtor to represent the owner’s interests, sellers may end up accepting a below-value offer. Real Estate professionals are knowledgeable about the local market and know the highest price a home is likely to bring. A professional can advise the seller on the right balance between the highest price and the fastest sale. A real estate specialist has experience with lenders and can help find financing with lower monthly payments, thereby making a higher sale price feasible for the buyer. In contract negotiations, a real estate professional not only is trained in negotiation techniques, but also is psychologically in a better position than an emotionally involved seller. The result is often a more profitable contract for the seller. The bottom line? When selling real estate, it pays in time and money to go with the professionals.
Referrals: Let’s Work Together
Will you do me two favors? If you do decide to sell by yourself, I’d still like to work with you. Your buyers may need to sell their old home before they can buy yours, and I’d like to get the names and numbers of people who looked at your home but didn’t buy. After all, helping people sell and buy is my business.
About the writer
Michael Arthur is a realtor with RE/MAX Core Realty Inc., who specializes in residential properties and leasing of commercial properties. He works with various clients that include first-time home buyers, real estate investors, business owners, renters, and homeowners who are going through life transitions, ranging from divorce to personal bankruptcy. He can be reached at (613) 890-SOLD (7653). Website: miketheagent.ca.