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Selling Your Home - Do It Yourself

When a home owner decides to sell FSBO (For Sale By Owner) instead of hiring a REALTOR®, the reason is usually to avoid paying a real estate commission.

While the "do-it-yourself" approach can be successful for a hot property in a hot market, you might want to think about what’s required to sell your home yourself before you decide to follow that route. In many cases any savings in dollars are quickly lost in expending your time and energy. There’s a lot more involved than sticking a sign in the yard and an ad in the paper!

If you’re thinking the For Sale By Owner method is for you, three of the most common problems you’ll face in achieving a successful sale are:

  •  limited market exposure – you can’t put your property in the MLS and consequently you lose a large number of potential buyers.
  •  attracting serious, qualified buyers – often people who visit FSBO properties are either just ‘kicking tires’ or they are bargain hunting.

Your FSBO Skills - Are They Up To The Task?

As your own agent, you'll have to:

  • Price your home properly
  • Prepare, schedule and run your ads and produce handouts
  • Take calls, screen inquiries, schedule appointments
  • Pre-qualify potential buyers by asking the right  questions
  • Stay home to show your property at looker’s convenience
  • Hold open houses, negotiate offers and counter offers
  • Make sure buyers are qualified before accepting
  • Understand and prepare disclosures
  • Follow up with the buyer’s mortgage application and approval
  • Coordinate inspections and appraisal
  • Collect all buyer and seller legal documents

Serving as your own agent is a bad idea if you're in a hurry to sell, you have a hard time handling tension, complications and rejection, you don’t price your home properly or you're uncomfortable negotiating.

Pricing Your Home - You Need A REALTOR® To Get It Right!

An over priced home will not sell in a timely fashion, and you’ll end up lowering the price anyway. An under priced home causes potential buyers to think there’s something wrong with it!

BEWARE of online automated appraisal programs. They crunch numbers, use averages, and can’t take into account, for example, curb appeal, extraordinary condition, the fact that yours is the best lot on the street.

While a REALTOR® looks at objective factors just as an appraiser does (square footage, number of bedrooms), a REALTOR® will also take into account the special features of your home. A REALTOR® compares your home to other homes on the market. An appraiser compares only to properties that have sold and closed – in some cases many months ago. It is likely your REALTOR® has been inside every property in your area on the market. An appraiser has seen only the homes he was hired to appraise. Who has the better basis for comparison?

Common Pitfalls - Of Selling Without A REALTOR®

A major stumbling block in selling your home yourself is your emotional attachment to it and your familiarity with it. You overlook its flaws because you love the huge dogwood tree in the backyard or whatever.

Your REALTOR® has no such emotional attachment and can help you immensely in giving you information about what you should do to prepare your home for sale. REALTORS® know what’s important to buyers and what’s not so important. They can help you prioritize what you must do, what you should do, what you don’t need to bother with in getting the house ready for market.

Another common difficulty of FSBO selling is the failure to properly identify in writing items not included in the sale. Generally, anything permanently fixed to the house stays with the home after the sale. Exclusions (items not included with the sale) can be a cause of contention for buyers when those items are not specified ahead of time. Your REALTOR® will help you think this through.

Showing and Selling - Time Is Money!

A few of the things your REALTOR® does to save you time:

1. Handles telephone and email inquiries about your property. You don’t have to be always by a phone whether it’s convenient or not.

2. Screens potential buyers to gauge their level of interest and financial ability to purchase your home. You don’t have to know the ‘right’ questions to ask (which they most likely wouldn’t answer for you anyway since you’re the seller!)

3. Schedules showing appointments and follows up for feedback. You don’t have to make those follow up calls which take time and might yield comments you don’t want to hear.

4. Brings buyers to see your home or arranges with other REALTORS® to bring buyers to see your home. You don’t have to be present at inconvenient times.

5. Arranges for access for inspectors and appraisers. You don’t have to be present at inconvenient times.

Do you have the time to handle all of the above – and more - without A REALTOR®?

Legalitites and Paperwork - It Can Get Sticky for FSBOs

Disclosures, disclosures, disclosures.

You may be obligated to disclose problems that could affect the property's value or desirability. In most states, it is illegal to fraudulently conceal major physical defects in your property such as a basement that floods in heavy rains. In some states, a less stringent seller disclosure may be used when buying the property from an estate.

In many states, a separate lead paint disclosure is also required, and in some areas, there are local ordinances pertaining to disclosures.

Do you know what your state and local laws are? Do you have the correct forms? Do you know how to properly execute the forms? Do you know when disclosures are presented?

Your REALTOR® does!



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The Brenda Dacus Team
ERA Doty Real Estate
2529 S. Caraway
Jonesboro, AR 72401
Phone: 870-933-6131
Fax: 870-933-6168


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