After 2 years living in the Victorian Beauty we were ready to sell and pull the money out of all our hard work. I did a lot of research and set out to sell the Victorian house on our own and save the 3% we would otherwise pay a realtor. It sold in 3 weeks.
Tips to Sell Your House #1.
Approximately one week beforehand I put a For Sale By Owner sign in our front yard that I bought on Amazon and wrote in the blank space “Coming on XX/XX/2015.”
I have seen houses that have this “Coming Soon” sign in their yard for over a month, and it almost makes one think they are having problems in the house thereby delaying their ability to get it on the market. I would advise keeping this time frame shorter rather than longer if one can help it. We actually had a couple walk through our home before it even went on the market.
Tips to Sell Your House #2.
Put your house on the market in the spring with the month of May often garnering the best results. If you put an offer on a house in May, most will settle some time in July which gives many people more flexibility to move and sometimes even sell their own home especially if they have school aged children. If it can be helped, avoid selling your home in the winter months. We put our house on the market in the middle of May.
Tips to Sell Your House #3.
Advertise online. Zillow is free, but you can also advertise on your local MLS (multiple listing services). You can call any local realtor and ask them how to go about getting it listed. This does not mean you are paying a realtor, but you are paying a small fee to have it advertised. For the rare few, putting a For Sale by Owner sign in the front yard is enough, but for the majority trying to sell on their own it is essential to advertise. This being said the greatest advantage you have, other than the specs of the house, are your pictures.
Tips to Sell Your House #4.
STAGE. STAGE. STAGE.
Stage your home for the pictures as though you were staging it for an open house (post on staging tips for an open house here). I cannot tell you how often I have looked through pictures where beds aren’t made, toys are scattered all over the floor and the carpets have clearly not been vacuumed. This is not the time to give your house the “lived in” appearance. You can be transparent about your home AND make it look beautiful as well.
Tips to Sell Your House #5.
Take pictures of every room. You don’t know what is meaningful to the possible buyers, but if nothing else include clear pictures with a good view of all the major living spaces including bedrooms and bathrooms. Regardless of whether or not it looks like Martha Stewart lived there, the first step toward “sign on the dotted line” may come after a perusal of your photos. Make them count.
Tips to Sell Your House #6.
After you list your house on the market host an open house right away (Staging Tips for an Open House here). You want to maximize exposure as soon as possible. I advertised our Victorian on the local MLS and Zillow and also put an Open House sign in our front yard along with a new For Sale By Owner sign (without the “Coming on XX/XX/15 written on it). Have a sign in sheet that includes contact information such as email so that you can follow up with those that walked through your home.
Tips to Sell Your House #7.
Skip a realtor. Once an offer is made, you can either accept a buyer’s realtor to handle the paperwork (in some states the seller will then have to pay the buyer’s realtor), or you can both agree to pay a real estate lawyer to draw up the papers for which you pay by the hour instead of a percentage of the purchase price. When we were in this process I changed the status on the MLS and Zillow and put a new For Sale By Owner sign out again and wrote “Contract Pending” in the blank space. (Hence the link to a pack of 4!). This is valuable just in case the offer falls through so that it is still present on the market but clear that it is currently under contract. Remember to remove all of the above once you close!
This process takes a lot of research and work, but if you are motivated and willing to take the time it can be thousands of dollars that go back into your pocket, or in our case, into another fixer upper!