For Sale By Owner Tips

Right now, over 10% of American homeowners handle their own sales. But in order to join the ranks of the successful ones, you need to realistically assess what's involved. The routine parts of the job involve pricing your house accurately, determining whether or not a buyer is qualified, creating and buying your own advertising, familiarizing yourself with enough basic real estate regulations to understand (and possibly even prepare) a real estate contract, and coordinating the details of a closing. The greatest downside is the demand on your time. Be careful and thorough. Mistakes may cost you the money you're trying to save.

The best reason for working with real estate brokers is the enormous amount of information they have at their disposal. Professionals know about market trends, houses in your neighborhood, and the people most likely to buy there. They also know how to reach the largest number of people who may be interested in your house. Real Estate Agents are trained in areas like screening potential buyers and negotiating with them.

Finally, they're always "on-call," and willing to do the things most of us hate: working on the weekends, answering the phone at all hours, and always being polite.


Today's residential real estate market is no place to look for easy profit. The fact is, prices have generally leveled off from their peak during the 1980's. That's not to say you can't get what your house is worth. You just have to be realistic about its value, and price it accordingly. A good place to start is by determining the fair market value.


Real estate sales agents suggest asking prices based on a variety of information you may not have at your disposal, including recent listing and selling prices of houses in your neighborhood. If you're not completely confident in their suggestions, you may want to order an appraisal. Next, establish clear priorities. If you had to choose, are you more concerned with selling quickly, or getting the most money possible? What would you pay for the house if you were the buyer? Someone else -- a neighbor, friend or relative -- may point out advantages or disadvantages about your house that you hadn't thought about. Third-party views will help you start thinking of your house as a commodity, with positive and negative selling points. Then you should decide on a price that you feel is competitive and consistent with what other houses in your area have sold for.


Unless your house is nearly new, chances are you'll want to do some work to get it ready to market. The type and amount of work depends largely on the price you're asking, the time you have to sell, and of course, the present condition of the house. If you're in a hurry to sell, do the "little things" that make your house look better from the outside and show better inside.


"Curb appeal" is the common real estate term for everything prospective buyers can see from the street that might make them want to turn in and take a look. Improving curb appeal is critical to generating traffic. While it does take time, it needn't be difficult or expensive, provided you keep two key words in mind: neat and neutral.

Neatness sells. New paint, an immaculate lawn, picture-perfect shrubbery, a newly sealed driveway, potted plants at the front door -- put them all together, and drive-by shoppers will probably want to see the rest of the house. Hand-in-hand with neatness is neutrality. If you're going to repaint, stick to light, neutral colors. Keep the yard free of gardening tools and the kids' toys. Remember, when a family looks at a house, they're trying to paint a picture of what it would be like as their home.


First, make your house look as clean and spacious as possible. Remember, people may look behind your doors -- closet and crawl space doors as well as those to the bedrooms and bathrooms. So get rid of all the clutter; have that garage sale and haul away the leftovers.

After you've cleaned, try to correct any cosmetic flaws you've noticed. Paint rooms that need it. Regrout tile walls and floors. Remove or replace any worn-out carpets. Replace dated faucets, light fixtures, and the handles and knobs on your kitchen drawers and cabinets.

Finally, as with the outside of your house, try to make it easy for prospective buyers to imagine your house as their home. Clear as much from your walls, shelves, and countertops as you can. Give your prospects plenty of room to dream.


Benchmark offers many products and services that may help you sell your house faster and at a better price. Many of our customers find that the complete package of added value that Benchmark offers greatly offsets the fees charged by sales associates. Contact Jay Flatt today and learn why.

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