Selling Your Home Without An Agent

In this hot market, I see more and more signs saying "For Sale By Owner" on the homes in my area. Personally, I've always sold with a real estate agent, but frankly, have found it annoying to see how much the agent takes for what can be minimal work (especially in a "hot" real estate market). Now, I'm not saying there are no virtues to a good agent, who may be able to bring together the ideal buyer with the ideal seller. Also, an agent can make the whole sale process much easier and smoother, because the agent knows the ropes. But sometimes the sticker shock can be a bit alarming.

Having said that, I've now seen a friend of mine and her husband sell their own property three times, and do really well on their own each time. Why? It's still a seller's market in many areas, and in that case, who needs to pay a real estate agent a hefty commission when you can invest a smaller amount of money in your own "marketing" campaign?

It's not free to sell yourself. You will have to be willing to shell out the money up-front, without any guarantees that you won't have to resort to an agent later. However, when it works, it really pays off. In each sales transaction, my friends got a really good return on selling themselves. They got a good price on their homes; they saved money on real estate commission; and each sale took place in a month or less (which is a very reasonable time frame). They moved from a suburban area around a big city to a small city to the country in the process of each move. Each sale cycle seemed to work the same for them.

Here's the process they used:

1. They did their research first on what they needed to know about the real estate sales process, which included getting some sample contracts and familiarizing themselves with the terminology;

2. When they were ready, they put an ad in the local newspaper, plus a sign on their lawn. All the little fixes and clean-up work on the house was done before they put it on the market;

3. They arranged for viewings of the home during a specified period during the day and handle as many viewings as possible during that time;

4. When an offer was made, they looked it over themselves first. In some cases, they "signed it back" with the amount they wanted if the offer was too low or the conditions on the offer were problematic,

5. Then they made use of a lawyer.

Each time, the process seemed to involve no more stress than the method by which I sold my homes. It's made me stop and think. If I'm selling next time in a "seller's market", I may just try selling it myself. And I might just use my friend for some friendly advice.


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