As an alternative to working with an experienced real estate agent, you might consider selling your home yourself; however, if you choose this option, be prepared for a lot of work! It can and has been done, of course, but if you don’t have the time and energy to commit to it (or need to sell in a hurry), this option might not be for you.
If selling your home on your own sounds like too much work, you might want to consider assist-to-sell programs, which most agents offer and can include yard signs, a marketing strategy and flyers at a very reasonable cost to you. Nine out of ten times, most do not have the time or the resources that a real estate agent may have, so it is best to use someone that is fully committed to selling your property, has access to a wide variety of resources and is focused on getting the highest price possible for the sale of your property.
Whether you choose to use a real estate agent or not, you still need to do your homework! The following is a checklist to help walk you through the process:
Know your property. If you are not already, become familiar with such facts about your property as property taxes, zoning, lot size, square footage, etc. Look at the terms of your existing loan.
Research the current market and property laws in your area. How much are properties similar to yours selling for? What are the terms of the sales? What property disclosure laws do you need to take into consideration?
Set the price. Once you know the specifics about your home and have checked out what similar properties in your area are selling for, set a realistic price.
Determine financing alternatives. Contact lenders in your area to determine what the options are for your prospective buyer. You want to be informed before they ask, or your lack of knowledge may turn them off from dealing with you.
Perform a “walk-through” of your property. Look at it from the perspective of both the prospective buyer and the inspector. Take notes on all items that need to be repaired or replaced. Things to consider include:
- From the street, is the house appealing? This is called “curb appeal”.
- Does it need a new coat of paint (either because the old paint is obviously cracked or faded, or because of an uncommon choice in color that might turn off prospective buyers)?
- If a house with a yard, is the lawn and landscaping attractive and well-kept?
- If it is a condo, you can’t do much about the building, but is the front door (and balcony, if there is one) appealing?
- Are the windows and doors attractive and in good condition?
- Are the roof (and the gutters) in good condition?
- Is the grass nicely cut, are the hedges trimmed, are the leaves swept up? Are all toys put away such as bikes, scooters, etc.?
- Are the interior paints and finishes in good condition (recently updated), or do they need to be freshened up? This is one area with the best ratio of least expensive to most desired. For a minimal investment, you could possibly make or break a sale by having your home look well-kept and inviting.
- Are the appliances in good working order and of recent vintage?
- Are the plumbing and electrical systems in good condition? Are they fully functional?
- Are the carpets or other floor coverings clean and in good condition? Like the paint, are they attractive and well-kept? Floor coverings are worth paying for so that your home makes a good impression.
- Are the sealants (sink, shower, tub, windows) in good condition?
- Are all light fixtures working properly, and is there good lighting in each room so that prospective buyers won’t think you’re hiding something?